Few cities fully embrace nighttime plant lighting like Los Angeles.
It might be a bird-of-paradise beautifully illuminated in a wash of orange, or a clutch of palms standing brightly against the evening sky, or a wisteria full of tiny white bulbs. Whatever the plantly expression, Southern Californians like a bit of electric drama in their yards, a flair that is shared by Descanso Gardens each holiday season.
True, the La Cañada Flintridge destination doesn't typically observe post-sundown hours, but that all changes during "Enchanted: Forest of Light." The late-November to early-January event, which spreads out over 43 nights, is very much about casting some whimsical hues and glowing watts upon the landmark's celebrated and historic oaks.
What to do, where to go and what to see
But the tall trees aren't the only Descanso residents treated to the creative lighting; there are "10 unique lighting experiences" to be found throughout the 160-acre expanse, including a pretty, twinkly scene in the Japanese Garden (a stately section of the property that is marking its 50th anniversary in 2016, do note).
Some of the illumination will be interactive, and some areas will have sound features to enhance the visual panache. Stepping on light pads to change their hue, and turning an ear to the Oak Grove to pick up interesting notes, is a larger part of the alfresco outing.
An outing that definitely has that holiday spirit, but isn't quite like a lot of the seasonal to-dos that spring up come November and December. This one is about sipping cocoa, and sweaters you probably really need to wear (not just for photos), and enjoying the sort of yard illumination Angelenos adore on a much larger and more lavish scale.
Dates to know? The "Forest of Light" is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But sooner than that is this: Tickets go on sale on the first of September, Descanso Gardens revealed on Aug. 2.
Best confab with your kin and find that not-too-hubbub-y December date, or November or January date, where you can all pile in the wagon and drive for Descanso, ready to be wowed or at least cheered by very old oaks bathed in greens, purples, and pinks.