The camellia is called the Empress of Winter. And in the Descanso landscape, this winter bloomer has won legions of admirers for the seemingly endless variety of its flower forms and colors. Celebrate this signature bloom with garden tours, a class and a guided walks. Enjoy a variety of activities, including:
• Faery Tours of the Enchanted Forest | 9:30 a.m. to noon | Magnolia Lawn: Follow forest faeries as they guide children and adults through the Descanso Camellia Collection. Learn flower facts, hear faery stories of enchantment and frolic, and be prepared for surprises along the way. Free with admission; first come, first served.
• Things to Do With Sinensis | 11 a.m. | Van de Kamp: Botanists call it Camellia sinensis. The rest of us call it tea. Wayne Walker, Descanso camellia horticulturist, goes beyond the ordinary “cuppa” by demonstrating culinary and wellness applications for the beloved beverage, including tea ice cream. $20, $10 members. Advance registration is required; phone (818) 949-7980.
• Camellia Walk and Talk | 1 p.m. | Center Circle: Wayne Walker leads this exploration of the Camellia Garden. Learn to identify the different kinds of camellias and get camellia care advice from the pro. And enjoy a winter ramble through these gorgeous blooms. Free with admission.
Additionally, the Full Moon Tea House in the gardens is a most impressive architectural structure. Inspired by the Asian origins of Descanso's camellias, the Japanese Garden, Full Moon Tea House and Minka bring the spirit of the Far East to California. Constructed in 1966 from funds raised by the Descanso Gardens Guild, the Japanese Garden and Tea House is the the focal point of the Japanese Garden Festival every autumn. The Full Moon Tea House features blue tile roofing imported from Japan. Across a Shinto bridge stand a structure resembling a Japanese farmhouse. This structure, called the Minka, was designed and donated by Robert H. Kawashima in 1969. Another nearby feature is a dry-raked garden, modeled after a Shen garden in Kyoto.
Carpoolers: 8:00 a.m. - Some can meet at at the north-west parking lot (near gas station) of the The Long Beach Towne Center, Carson Street at the 605 Freeway. Others can meet at the Ralph's Grocery Store parking lot, north-west corner, Long Beach Boulevard at E. San Antonio Drive.
For those driving to Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge (near the intersection of the 2 and the 210 freeways) please meet us at 9:00, just inside front gate.
Admission to the gardens is $8.00. Entrance is FREE with membership card to many southern California Botanical Gardens.
There is a café available on the premises, or you can pack your own lunch. Bringing your own water is advisable
Descanso Gardens website.