At one time, this property belonged to newspaper magnate E. Manchester Boddy, who owned the Los Angeles Daily News. He ran a commercial camellia garden at the location, supplying prom boutonnières, for example, until he ceded the site to Los Angeles County in 1953.
The county has developed the property to include a rosarium, as well as a Japanese tea house, lilac garden, bird sanctuary, xeriscape, and a gift shop. They also regularly host professional camellia shows, chamber music, and weddings. They are busiest however on the Easter weekend, when the tulips are in bloom and eggs are hidden on the central lawn of 1 acre (4,000 m2).
The park also features the Descanso Gardens Enchanted Railroad, an eighth scale replica of a diesel train, that takes visitors around a section of the park.
Boddy House is the original 22-room house built by E. Manchester Boddy, which was designed by James Dolena in the Hollywood Regency style in 1937.
In 2007, Boddy House was rehabilitated for the 43rd annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design, and decorated in a contemporary re-interpretation of its original Hollywood Regency style. Subsequently, a major grant from the Ahmanson Foundation enabled the addition of a museum-quality Heritage Exhibit, with exhibits about the gardens, Manchester Boddy's life and times, and important donors and volunteers for the Descanso Gardens.
The house is open for docent-led tours on Saturdays and Sundays at noon. The house is available for rental.
The Carriage House Art Gallery hosts changing exhibits by local artists.
The 1991 remake of the television series Land of the Lost was filmed on location in the Gardens.
- Mandarin ducks
- Wood duck * Western pond turtle * Red eared slider * Embden goose * Mallard duck *Koi
- Great blue heron
- Descanso Gardens: Boddy House
- "Descanso Gardens appoints new Executive Director", Pasadena Living Magazine, July 2005.
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