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Camellias at Descanso Gardens

A cool oasis in the middle of a hot city makes Descanso an excellent place for plant breeding—from camellias to less known plants

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The Descanso Gardens are located in the San Rafael Hills. These are really secluded, lush gardens sometimes turning into fabulous lush thickets so dense that even a thin ray of sunshine does not illuminate the mysterious twilight reigning here. The park is famous for the world's largest collection of camellias. In 1937, Manchester Boddy, the publisher of The Los Angeles Daily News purchased the land and soon opened this garden to the public and called it Descanso, which translates from Spanish as "tranquillity."

There are several gardens in the park: the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden House, Ancient Forest, California Natives, Center Circle, and Nature's Table. But the most popular here is the Camellia collection, which is located on the territory of the Oak Forest. Over 100,000 camellias were planted here underneath the old oak trees. The camellia collection is one of the most complete in North America and has more than 600 species.

Various species of camellias are abloom in Descanso Gardens between October and May. Winter is known as the most rewarding season to observe the greatest variety of camellias blooming. Also, annually from February 28th to March 1st the Camellia and Tea Festival is held, allowing everyone to enjoy the aroma of colourful Asian flowers.

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