January 18, 2018

Photo Essay: Taking a Break at the Ranch of Repose

It began as a "Ranch of Repose"...

circa 2010

...and what was once known as Rancho del Descanso is now 160 acres of gardens...

...where you can get lost among its flowers and trees...

circa 2010 well as its water features, arbors, and gazebos.

Because they’re all ripe for exploring.

Of course, most people visit Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge for the flowers – camellias bloom for eight months out of the year, from October through May – and even in the dead heat of summer, you can catch roses, summer annuals and perennials, crape myrtle, and cassia.

circa 2010

But this public garden that was once a private estate holds plenty of secrets in its far-reaching corners...

circa 2010

...and to discover them, all you’ve got to do is open the right doors...

...cross the right bridges...

....look up into the trees...

... and take the path less traveled by.

Aside from a few Canadian geese rambling across the Main Lawn or through the Oak Woodland, and perhaps an American crow or two taking a drink from the Mission Fountain, the birdlife of Descanso may not be obvious at first.

Heed the calls of mourning doves, Western scrub jays, house finches and goldfinches – all of which are pretty abundant at the gardens. At lakeside, there’s a Bird Observation Station that was originally dedicated in 1961 at the behest of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society.

There's an ongoing project to revitalize the Bird Observation Station, waterfall, and surrounding area and will reopen in October...

...just in time for the fall migration along the Pacific Flyway.

Or,  follow the sound of a whistle... the Enchanted Railroad...

...a 1/8th-scale model of a diesel train from 1960s/’70s.

The conductor calls “All aboard!”, and then the train chugs along the 7 1/2" gauge rails through the oaks, over a bridge, past the rose garden, and encircling the Promenade and Nature’s Table.

It’s somewhat of a hat tip to what the Rancho del Descanso could have become, since Walt Disney’s representatives had approached Descanso founder Manchester Boddy about developing the real estate while scouting locations for what ultimately became Disneyland.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Descanso Gardens & Trail
Photo Essay: The Boddy House of Rancho del Descanso

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