Camellias in bloom

Descanso Gardens paid homage to its 20 acres of Camellias on Saturday with the annual Camellia Festival. The event included tours of Descanso’s Camellia Collection given by forest “faeries,” a class on the culinary and wellness uses for camellias and a guided walk of the collection.

When Descanso’s original owner, newspaper publisher E. Manchester Boddy, created Rancho del Descanso in the 1930s, he planted camellias as a business venture to supply the cut-flower industry. Today, Descanso Gardens is home to North America’s largest camellia collection, with more than 34,000 plants, officials said.

The Camellia Collection boasts rare and familiar camellias and has been designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society.

The tours of the Camellia Collection on Saturday were given by the group, A Faery Hunt, a nonprofit children’s theater that has been producing interactive original shows weekly at parks in Los Angeles and Ventura for seven years, said Debbie Rothstein, producer and creator.

Four faeries entertained children by telling them stories, dancing, playing games and singing. They will return for Family Night at Descanso Gardens on July 26 to perform a show.

Two camellia shows are planned during this year’s blooming season in Descanso’s Van de Kamp Hall. The Southern California Camellia Council Show will be open for public viewing from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 26 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 27. The Pacific Camellia Society Late Bloomers Show will be open to the public from 1 to 4:30 p.m. March 12 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 13.

Descanso Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. Admission is $8, $6 for seniors and students, $3 for children 12 to 5 and free for children 4 and younger.

For more information, call (818) 949-4200 or visit For more information on A Faery Hunt, visit

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