While many of us are currently cooped up in our homes, spring has officially sprung in Pasadena, including at these four must see botanical gardens in our neighboring communities. Stop by the still-open gardens (Arlington and The Arboretum) for a dose of fresh air—and don’t forget to make future visitation plans for the others.
Please note: Due to current events, gardens and events are subject to closures and cancellations at any time.
“At this time, you can still enjoy time outdoors at your local park for passive use, such as walking, jogging, or leisure time outdoors for individuals or families. Social distancing is still required, and group gatherings are prohibited by the health order.” – Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation
Arlington Gardens – Open
“For the safety of our horticultural staff, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be closing the garden on Tuesday’s for maintenance until further notice. When the garden is open, we recommend you do not use the furniture, maintain six-feet from others, wear a face mask, and bring your own hand sanitizer.”
Serenity can be found by anyone—for free—at this three-acre botanical garden. Designed by landscape artist Mayita Dinos, Arlington Gardens was originally a weed-filled lot owned by Caltrans before Charles “Kicker” and Betty McKenney proposed a solution for the blighted property next door to their home. Working with Caltrans, the City of Pasadena, and Pasadena Water and Power, the McKenneys brought to life their vision of a public, water-wise garden celebrating Southern California’s Mediterranean climate.
The nonprofit continues to thrive thanks to support from garden clubs, local businesses, and volunteers. Arlington Gardens is open and free to the public, 365 days a year, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Head gardener Leigh Talmo teaches sustainable gardening techniques from 9 a.m. to noon on “Volunteer Tuesdays.” Free adjacent street parking is available. 275 Arlington Dr., Pasadena, arlingtongardenpasadena.com
The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden – Open
“Tickets are limited to preserve safe distancing. Members are required to reserve free tickets online prior to visiting. Non-members must buy tickets online in advance. Tickets are not available at the door. Visitors are required to wear masks or other face coverings.”
Spanning almost 130 acres, The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden provides plenty of area to roam amid ample flora and fauna. Visitors may feel a sense of déjà vu while exploring Baldwin Lake, which for decades has been used as a filming location for a variety of productions, from Tarzan in the 1930s to Fantasy Island in the 1970s and ’80s and, more recently, Katy Perry’s “Roar” music video in 2013.
In the summer season, the property is host to a variety of events, including the Pasadena POPS series featuring conductor and musician Michael Feinstein. Upcoming POPS concerts include Sway With Me: Latin Rhythm & Swing! (June 20), Road To Motown (July 11), and Michael Feinstein Sings Sinatra’s Songbook (July 25). 301 N. Baldwin Ave., arboretum.org
Descanso Gardens – Opening May 16, 2020
An urban retreat of year-round natural beauty, Descanso Gardens is internationally renowned for its botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays that span 150 acres. Whether you’re visiting for a stroll, or attending a concert or a class, there are multiple ways to explore. 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge, descansogardens.org
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens – Currently Closed
Equally renowned for its library and art collections, no trip to The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, would be complete without taking the time to wander through its expansive grounds, boasting more than a dozen gardens spread across 120 acres. Relax and take in the tranquility of the Japanese Garden or the Garden of Flowering Fragrance, which features a 1.5-acre lake, a complex of pavilions, a teahouse and teashop, stone bridges, and waterfalls. 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, huntington.org