Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens, January 27, 2019

Descanso Gardens, January 27, 2019

Today was a beautiful day to visit Descanso Gardens. As always, it was full of magic. Hellebores were blooming and the daffodils were right on schedule. It’s such a fairytale-like feeling walking through the camellia forest. What a wonderful Sunday morning!

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Descanso Gardens, December 23, 2018

Descanso Gardens, December 23, 2018

I woke up Sunday morning feeling inspired. It had been a while since I’d last visited Descanso Gardens. I used to go there every weekend to take photos of the flowers, the trees, the plants, and through the years, I’ve come to know the garden with it’s changing seasons quite intimately. Now that I’ve been spending most of my weekends hiking, I just don’t have as much time to spend visiting the garden. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed being here until my walk this morning. It felt so refreshing and it was, as usual, beautiful. I’m going to make it a plan in the new year to create a balance so that I can still set aside some time to visit this enchanted place.

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Descanso Gardens, March 30, 2018

Descanso Gardens, March 30, 2018

I had the day off on Friday so I headed out to Descanso Gardens to do some photography and catch the tail end of the tulip bloom.  I haven’t been getting there nearly as much since we started hiking every weekend, but I did want to at least check out the spring bloom.  Here are just a few photos from my trek around the gardens.  Not nearly as many images as I took last year when we had the big super bloom, but still very pretty and always an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two.
 

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Descanso Gardens, Oak Woodland, August 5, 2017

Descanso Gardens, Oak Woodland, August 5, 2017

These days I’m finding myself being drawn more to the native California landscape.  Since I’m from the east coast where gardens are much different, and because I also love the look of the English style cottage garden, I was constantly trying to replicate some smaller version of that at home.  But but this year I switched gears.  I started to incorporate native plants,  spend more time learning about them and introduce them into my garden.  The Oak Woodland and California Native Garden at Descanso have a completely different kind of beauty and I am seeing it through different eyes.  I recommend taking a walk through them and I guarantee you will fall in love with our California landscape.  
 

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Welcoming Summer, Descanso Gardens, June 24, 2017

Welcoming Summer, Descanso Gardens, June 24, 2017

We've now reached the peak of the solar year.  The wheel is turning and the days, although warmed by the power of the sun will gradually become shorter as it begins to wane.  For those in tune with nature, we hear her whispering her promise to return to darker days.  But there is plenty to celebrate at this time.  The natural world is full of activity.  Butterflies and bees grace our blooming gardens and the earth changes her colors to shades of golden yellow, bright orange and soft, sable brown.  Summer is in full swing and there is much time to be spent outdoors enjoying the warmth of the sun by day and gazing at the endless stars in the night sky.

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A warm morning at Descanso Gardens, June 17, 2017

A warm morning at Descanso Gardens, June 17, 2017

I arrived just after 8 am Saturday morning at Descanso.  I was going to walk to the promenade and into the rose garden since I hadn’t been there in a while, but changed my mind and decided to walk the grassy meadow at the edge of the oaks instead.  I’m glad I changed my path.  I wasn’t there longer then 5 minutes and saw a California Sister warming its wings in the morning sun.  It was a lot warmer then usual this morning and that made it a great time to be able to see some butterflies!  Most of the time I’m in and out before it warms up, and the butterflies are just waking up as I’m leaving.  Today was an exception.  After spending time watching the California Sister, I headed along my usual path up the hill and into the California natives section.  Along the trail I noticed some silk on thistle.  I recently learned that the Painted Lady caterpillar spins silk, so when I stopped to observe, sure enough there was a caterpillar inside.  It’s so exciting now that I’m learning more about butterflies, caterpillars and their natural habitats what I’m able spot.  Before taking an interest in all of this I would have probably walked right by not even noticing.  It was a beautiful sight to see that caterpillar munching away inside the silk backlit by the morning sunshine!  As I continued along my journey I stopped by Cleveland Sage to observe Duskywings.  I didn’t get a photo, as they weren’t still for very long so I just enjoyed watching.  A few feet away I saw a very tattered Cabbage White.  I think this was a male, as it appeared to only have one spot.  Next, I walked down the hill and stopped for a moment by a red fairy duster that I’d walked past a million times never really giving it much attention.  But after learning what a butterfly magnet this plant is and also picking one up for my own garden from the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants, I decided to stop and see what I could observe.  The red fairy duster was full of bees and tiny Marine Blue butterflies about the size of my thumbnail.  There was a lot of activity going on here.  I managed to get a few shots of the little Marine Blues when they were busy nectaring.  By this time it was about 9:30 am and more people were starting to arrive, so I decided it was time to head out.  Nature never ceases to amaze me with how much there is to constantly see and learn about her.  No matter how many times I visit Descanso, no two days are ever the same.  There is always something new to see, to learn and to observe.  Nature is constantly changing.  It was a wonderful morning.

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The California Natives Garden, Descanso Gardens, June 3, 2017

The California Natives Garden, Descanso Gardens, June 3, 2017

Spring and Summer are my favorite time of year to explore the California Native section of Descanso Gardens.  This garden was designed by Theodore Payne, an English horticulturist, landscape designer and botanist.  The California Natives Garden hosts the majestic Matilija poppies as well as sticky monkey flowers, sacred datura, California poppies, woolly blue curls, California buckwheat, and Cleveland sage just to name a few.  There is always something new to learn and discover here.

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