La Cañada Flintridge

A Knack for Lilacs: The Scent-tastic Flowers Are Peaking at This SoCal Garden

Descanso Gardens, we're ready to sniff the air near your celebrated shrubs.

Descanso Gardens

What to Know

  • Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge
  • The cherry blossoms and tulips are past their peak blooms but the lilacs should look (and smell) lovely through the rest of April
  • Included with garden admission

Sticking your nose high in the air?

Honestly, you'd never.

And yet... if some of the most fragrant flowers to rock the month of April appear in profusion, the sort of blossoms that are so famous that oodles of perfumeries through the ages have attempted to replicate their singular scent, well...

Into the air your nose will blithely go.

And no one would dare judge you, for even non-flower-obsessed people are pretty bowled-over by the soft-of-scent, purple-of-petal, poem-inspiring lilac blossom.

Lilacs do grow well in Southern California, but as for where their popularity-measuring Q rating stands? Surely the California poppy is more synonymous with our region's many garden gifts, and roses, and perhaps wisteria and jacaranda blossoms, too.

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But the lovely lilac is one of the many springtime stars at Descanso Gardens, and lookie (or rather, um, smellie) here: They are hitting their peak as the last third of the April begins.

That means you'll want to swing by the La Cañada Flintridge destination in the next week or two, though sooner is better, to bask in these olfactory icons.

And we're not tossing the word "icons" around lightly; just about every soap aisle, as well as the section of the store that features all the fancy body powders, shower gels, and various toiletries, will include more than a few aromatic odes to the shrub-based superstars.

A few things to note? You can visit the lilacs, which are just a short stroll beyond the Japanese Garden, and the Ancient Forest area, too, with Descanso Gardens admission (no separate ticket is required).

The cherry blossoms have had their dazzling day, we should note, and the 30,000 tulips that colorfully crowded along the Promenade are pretty much past peak.

But there's plenty to savor beyond the land o' lilacs, including the lilac-adjacent Ancient Forest, with its ferns, conifers, and cycads. This stretch does indeed hearken back to the prehistoric era, so if you're a dinosaur fan in addition to a lilac lover, two of your interests will be well represented.

And if dinosaurs and lilacs are your most favorite things, we can only imagine those particular passions don't dovetail nearly as often as they should. Get to Descanso Gardens at once, where the lilacs will look/smell lovely for another week or two and the Ancient Forest is open year-round.

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