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With temperatures finally dropping and the season of Autumn quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time of year to visit the many must-see botanical gardens in California. These California gardens offer everything from freshly bloomed Chrysanthemums to the sweet aroma that Chaste Trees release. If you’re wanting to simply spend a day enjoying the pleasures that nature supplies, we’ve got plenty of recommendations for your next day trip.
As we get closer to the fall season, a diverse variety of plants and annual fall flowers are in bloom in both Orange and Los Angeles counties. While some of these botanical gardens in California may have entry fees or reserved hours and admission, others you can just walk into freely. If you’re in these popular areas of California, be sure to witness the beauty hidden within some of these lovely botanical gardens in California.
South Coast Botanic Garden
Located in the beautiful outskirts of Palos Verdes Peninsula, South Coast Botanic Garden is one of the first botanical gardens to be developed over a sanitary landfill and has been an ongoing project since 1961. After a donation of 40,000 trees, plants and various shrubs, this botanic garden has become one of the most popular botanical gardens in Los Angeles.
In response to COVID-19, South Coast Botanic Garden has required online reservations for all nonmembers wanting to visit their garden as well as optional facial coverings if you’re fully vaccinated.
The Huntington: Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens
With The Huntington’s staff screening visitors (as well as workers) for COVID-19 symptoms all year, this popular California garden has remained open. Realizing that the library, art museum and botanical garden would continue to be an important place to visit during the pandemic, The Huntington has helped sustain a sense of normalcy for families and regular visitors.
Several upcoming events and exhibitions are being planned for the summer, so be sure to check out attractions like the ongoing exhibition “Red Earth” or the temporary “A Garden of Words.”
Commissioned by the Segerstrom family in 1979, this “California Scenario” was designed by internationally renowned American artist Isamu Noguchi and is considered to be an intimate glimpse and understanding into his art.
His legacy is reflected through his many works of drawing, architecture, ceramics and sculpting. Although Noguchi’s “California Scenario,” located at South Coast Plaza, is only a small glimpse into his sculptural aesthetic, the garden helps to highlight the agricultural heritage of Southern California.
Known to be an award-winning center for the arts, Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens provides a wide range of offerings for the community in south Orange County. Offering everything from performances, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and tours, Casa Romantica’s cultural programming is a favorite attraction in San Clemente.
They host a variety of free arts education programs for children year round; teaching things like local history, horticulture, art and garden workshops. With free parking on-site, Casa Romantica has updated hours and new upcoming ways to celebrate the different cultures they’ve paid tribute to for years.
Sherman Library and Gardens
Sherman Library and Gardens is located in Corona Del Mar, and this horticulture oasis and historical research library specializes in the history of the Pacific Southwest. The Sherman Library is home to California Impressionist art, including works by Edgar Payne and Anna Hills, while the garden has over 100 species of palms from around the world along with 130 unique varieties of begonias.
The library and garden are open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and you can expect to learn more about ecological horticulture; a method of designing that considers the ecology of a site.
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Although there are limited spaces available and online booking is needed for entry, the Los Angeles County Arboretum is not to be overlooked. The Arboretum features 127-acres of running natural landscapes along with some of the most alluring botanical gardens in LA.
Wild peacocks roam the grounds as people join in on activities like meditative “Forest Bathing” in the garden or “Nature of Sculpture,” an outdoor art installation coming up mid-September. Because the effects of the pandemic have opened up other opportunities for experiencing the offerings of the Arboretum, they also do Zoom meets on topics like how to raise a garden bed or creating natural mandalas from nature.
An urban retreat 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, Descanso Gardens has a mission to “practice exemplary stewardship of Descanso’s distinctive character and assets; offer people an experience close to nature; and cultivate understanding of the natural world and people’s place in it through inspiration, education and example.”
The garden features a collection of internationally renowned botanical and horticulture displays along with one of the largest collections of camellias in the Western Hemisphere. Descanso Gardens is designated as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society, so you can expect to be met with an endless variety of camellias as well as landscapes that impress with their true natural beauty.
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