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Descanso’s ‘Night Garden’ series lets visitors see grounds in a new light

A woman walks on a footpath as the sun sets at Descanso Gardens in the evening on Tuesday, June 20,
“Night Garden,” a new series of after-hour events at Descanso Gardens occurring one Saturday each month from February through May, lets visitors engage in hands-on activities and performances while learning more about the science and nature of the gardens at nighttime.
(File photo)

Descanso Gardens officials are hoping nighttime is the right time to float a new series of after-hour events that let visitors experience the science behind nature and see the garden in a different light.

“Night Garden” runs one Saturday each month from February through May and features a healthy mix of entertainment, talks and activities centered on plants, nature and science, according to Descanso education programs manager and organizer Emi Yoshimura.

“Night is such a special time to be at the gardens,” Yoshimura said. “We were thinking of new ways people could experience the seasons at Descanso, and it seemed night [events] would be a good way to do that.”

The series’ first installment begins Feb. 9, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with “Campfire Stories,” an event designed to evoke fireside memories of camping outdoors on a chilly night with some s’mores and a mug of hot chocolate (available for purchase).

In addition to live music from the Rocky Neck Bluegrass band, attendees can see insects up close, watch a shadow puppet performance and learn about wintertime constellations in a star talk from UCLA astronomy grad student Breann Sitarski.

Tim Martinez from the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy — a local organization working to create a wildlife corridor from Hahamongna Watershed Park to Tujunga — will talk about nocturnal animals that come out at night on and around Descanso’s 165 acres, and visitors can pose with large wildlife photos taken at night.

Yoshimura said the evenings are meant to be a kind of a fun, nighttime exploration for people and families looking for something to do after work.

“We want to encourage people’s curiosity and encourage them to understand more about the nature around them,” she said.

Future events include “Plant Power” on March 16, “L.A. Blooms!” on April 6 and “Science Quest” on May 18. The series costs $15 for nonmembers and $5 for Descanso members, and advanced tickets are required.

For more, visit descansogardens.org or call (818) 949-4290.

sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine