Southern California

Descanso Delightful: Rose Festival

Rose walks, fairy tales, and the making of flower crowns bloom in La Cañada Flintridge.

New Year's Day has a mystique about it, for sure, but it tends to be decorated with snowflakes and icicles in many places around the globe, and not with rosy red petals, as it is here in Southern California.

January 1 and the power flower are inextricably entwined in many local minds, thanks to a certain famous parade. And while we'd never give a side eye to anything to do with the Tournament of Roses — only reverence is due — it is good, every so often, to remember that roses and the month of May have a long-standing relationship, too.

Descanso Gardens, which isn't too far from the Rose Parade route, driving-wise, pauses in mid-May to salute that queen of the garden. The La Cañada Flintridge public garden is associated with camellias, which go to town on the blooming front in the wintertime, but there are roses aplenty to be found around the expansive grounds.

So practice your sniffing and saunter for the 160 acres of garden on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. A two-day Rose Festival shall bloom, not just in the flowers that are looking their fullest-of-head but in the activities, too.

Want to make a May-perfect flower crown? You can, at noon on Saturday. Want to join in rose-cute family activities? That's happening both days, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Want to watch the creation of a "human vase"? A person shall be covered in roses and other accouterments, combining art and the fluid human form at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Want to take a rose walk? Be at the Rose Pavilion at 1:30 p.m. on either day to "learn what's new in the International Rosarium." (Which immediately should make every flower fan long for their own personal rosarium.)

Want to soak in the splendor of spring? There are few finer spots in the region, and few finer buds. Roses, you earn your top spot on New Year's Day and in May, too. No one's arguing that whatsoever. 

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