Neighborhood Travels

Descanso Gardens, Portal to the Past

I made the short drive to Descanso Gardens in hope of seeing some tulips or daffodils.  I hadn’t given up on finding these flowers that I associate with spring.  The weather was warm, pushing into the 80 degree mark and the sky was hazy and brown.  As I drove along I began to doubt the wisdom of the trip.  Perhaps I was already too late.  Had I missed spring?

Descanso is located in La Canada Flintridge, just to the northwest of Pasadena.  The garden isn’t the well-manicured type like The Huntington.  My destination garden has a relaxed feel.  You won’t find pristine lawns and 18th century statues here.  What I did find was a taste of nostalgia.  And flowers blooming everywhere!

Magenta lily magnolia bud
Lily Magnolia

The lily magnolia was captivating but I was looking for the flowers from my childhood so I pressed on.  I wandered toward the Ancient Forest and the trees in the Oak Forest.  These sounded appealing to me.  I confess I certainly wasn’t doing a good job of reading the map.  I was lucky to stumble upon the lilac grove.  When I was a child we had several lilac bushes and they blossomed every May or June.  Spring certainly didn’t arrive in February back home In Michigan!  The grove in Descanso Gardens was just getting started but already the blossoms were filling the air with fragrance.

Sprig of lilac
One of the various types on lilac just beginning to blossom

The gardens were alive with color but I kept moving.  I wandered down leaf-strewn paths and trough redwood groves.  Camellias were blooming throughout the garden.  I thought they would be past there season, but I guess I was wrong.

White Camillian Blossom
White Camellia

Descanso Gardens has a miniature railroad.  I’ve never ridden it I suppose because I think it’s just for kids.  I love miniature railroads; they have a magical quality for me, all the more so when I come upon tracks curving off into the woods.  Where are they going?  What secret destination?

Miniature Railroad Tracks
Miniature Railroad Tracks

It was shortly after this that I found them, the flowers I had come to see.  Oddly enough I wasn’t far from the main entrance.  Here were the beds of spring blooms: daffodils, tulips, poppies, and pansies.  It was gloriously colorful and reminded me of home.  When I was young it seemed that every house had tulips blooming in the spring.  Once I moved to California I didn’t see them.  The weather just doesn’t get cold enough I guess.

Red tulip and red bud
Part of the Red Tulip Bed

It was a joy to go to Descanso Gardens and revisit my childhood joy


Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

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