Time to smell the roses. Descanso Gardens to reopen, with new rules

Descanso Gardens plans to allow visitors to tour the gardens starting May 16.
(Descanso Gardens)

Soon, you’ll be able to stop and smell the roses. Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge plans to reopen May 16 after being shut since March over coronavirus concerns. The gardens plan to limit the number of visitors and extend hours to accommodate those who want to tour the outdoor flower site.

“Why did we decide to reopen now?” the gardens wrote in a note to members Monday. “We believe that visitors and staff will be safe in the garden under our new plan.” The site also will require people to social distance and wear masks or face coverings. The plan was worked out with county health officials too.

Tickets will not be sold on-site; visitors must reserve and purchase timed tickets in advance. Members must show their card to enter without a reservation. If you want tickets (available on the half hour) for May 16 to 22, reservations will open 10 a.m. May 12. Tickets for May 23 to 29 will go on sale at 10 a.m. May 19. Adults cost $15, children (5 to 12), $5. Check out more information about buying tickets.


The gardens will be open longer hours, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., to allow fewer people at the site at any one time. Member hours start at 8 a.m.

What’s there to see? “The rose garden is spectacular right now,” according to an email statement. “Along with thousands of roses, we have spring favorites sprinkled throughout. The [native] California poppies and Matilija poppies are also putting on a show in the California Gardens and Oak Woodland.”

However, not everything will be business as usual. Drinking fountains will be closed (bring your own water), and the on-site restaurant will be open limited hours (cashless transactions only). Indoor spaces, such as the gift shop and Boddy House, and the Enchanted Railroad will remain closed. Wheelchair rentals will not be available either.

Info: Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge

Other county sites, such as the L.A. Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia and the South Bay Botanic Garden on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, have remained open during the stay-at-home order. Both require members and visitors to buy tickets in advance. Each site is open daily.

L.A. County trails also opened last weekend for those seeking to hike. And county beaches are set to open for recreational activity starting Wednesday.