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Explore LA’s Gorgeous Gardens & Urban Oases

With its mild mediterranean climate and diverse topography, it’s no wonder that Los Angeles is home to some of the world’s most gorgeous botanical gardens and lush urban oases. These foliage-filled natural retreats present a vast array of native flora and fauna, as well as spectacular species from all corners of the globe. And for the intrepid hiker, the hills are alive with meandering paths, scenic canyons, and delightful dells, all waiting to be explored. Some botanical gardens require advance ticket purchase – check their website for details. Watch for visitor guidelines at all locations.

 

 

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

270 Arlington Dr.

Pasadena, CA 91105

 

The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was created by Kinzuchi Fujii for Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns in 1935. Fujii designed and built Japanese landscapes across Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden is his only remaining garden and the only intact example of a major Japanese-style garden created before World War II for a residence in Southern California. This pond-style stroll garden features a fifteen-foot waterfall and a formal teahouse on approximately two acres of land. Open for general admission the last Sunday of June.

 

 

Arlington Garden in Pasadena

275 Arlington Dr.

Pasadena, CA 91105

 

Pasadena’s only dedicated free public garden, Arlington Garden is a three acre community-built mediterranean garden in the heart of Pasadena on Caltrans-owned land. The garden includes thousands of California-native plants such as poppies, sunflowers, cactus and succulents, orchards of orange and olive trees, and many more species. The garden is not only friendly to people and pets, but also exists as a refuge for Pasadena’s native fauna. Birds, bees and butterflies are particularly abundant and can be seen throughout the year. Arlington Garden is open every day except Tuesday. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

 

 

Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

UCLA

707 Tiverton Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90095

 

Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a living museum that maintains one of the most important living botanical collections in the U.S. Over 3,000 types of plants grow in the garden and a wide range of environments are found within its borders, from the dry desert and Mediterranean sections on the eastern end to the shaded, lush interior. A stream and series of ponds run through the center of the garden, which is home to koi and turtles.

 

 

Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Drive

La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

 

Descanso Gardens is an urban retreat of year-round natural beauty, internationally renowned botanical collections, and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays, located just 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The principal collections include California native plants and oak woodlands; one of the largest collections of camellias in the Western Hemisphere; a rose garden with specimens from all corners of the globe; and significant presentations of lilacs, maple trees, cherry trees and iris. Members can enter without an advance ticket, but visitors who are not members and guests not covered under a membership will need advance tickets with timed entry.

 

 

Earnest E. Debs Regional Park

4235 Monterey Road

Los Angeles, CA 90032

 

Ernest E. Debs Regional Park is 300 acre urban oasis on old ranch land in the Arroyo Seco neighborhood just northeast of downtown L.A. The fourth largest park in Los Angeles, the area is home to walnut-oak woodland, grassland, coastal sage scrub, and over 140 species of birds. A five mile loop meanders through almost every section of this dog-friendly park. Along the way, you’ll discover a pond where you can actually go fishing.

 

 

Huntington Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road

San Marino, CA 91108

 

In 1903 Henry E. Huntington purchased the San Marino Ranch, a working ranch with citrus groves, nut and fruit orchards, alfalfa crops, a small herd of cows, and poultry. Today, the estate is home to 16 spectacular themed gardens spread across 120 acres, including Desert Garen, Camelia & Rose Gardens, Japanese Garden, Jungle Garden, Herb Garden anad more. The Huntington will reopen most of its 130 acres of gardens, with new safety measures in place, on July 1 to visitors with advance tickets.

 

 

Elyria Canyon Park

1550 Bridgeport Drive

Los Angeles 90065

 

Nestled on the southwestern slopes of Mount Washington, Elyria Canyon Park is a 35-acre nature park that provides a glimpse into the native habitat that once thrived in the hills near downtown Los Angeles. A network of trails meanders through lush groves of coastal sage scrub, chaparral, grassland and purple needlegrass. The park boasts one of the finest examples of California black walnut woodland in Southern California, with lovely trails that lead to vistas of the Los Angeles River, Griffith Observatory, and DTLA. Leave the paved road for a dirt path through thickets of sumac and bay laurel trees. Keep zigging and zagging until you reach a grassy bowl, where you’ll find a bench and a welcoming drinking fountain. Walk a bit farther and to see a perfectly charming and totally unexpected little red farmhouse!

 

 

Chavez Ravine Arboretum

Chavez Ravine Rd.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

The Chavez Ravine Arboretum in Elysian Park, just north of Dodger Stadium, contains more than 100 varieties of trees from around the world, including what are believed to be the oldest and largest Cape Chestnut, Kauri, and Tipu trees in the United States. The Arboretum was founded in 1893 by the Los Angeles Horticultural Society, and planting of rare trees continued through the 1920s. Most of the original trees are still standing. The Arboretum was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1967. Admission is free.

 

Photo credits:

Photo #1: Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

Photo #2: Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

Photo #3: Arlington Garden in Pasadena

Photo #4: Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

Photo #5: Descanso Gardens

Photo #6: Earnest E. Debs Regional Park

Photo #7: Huntington Botanical Gardens

Photo #8: Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority

Photo #9: Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks