‘Reflections at Descanso' Casts a Holiday Spell

Take a peaceful promenade around the La Cañada Flintridge destination as it dons its beautiful, nature-meets-Noël finery.

Descanso Gardens

What to Know

  • Nov. 14, 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021
  • Daytime hours only (Enchanted Forest of Light is cancelled for 2020)
  • General gardens admission ($15 adult, $11 seniors and students with ID, $5 children ages 5-12, free for kids under the age of 5)

Tinsel, glitter, mega-watt bulbs, and yuletide flourishes that can be distinctly seen from yards away?

This is the season that so many of us know.

Know, and yes, love, for festive details, oodles of splendor, and over-the-top touches really can make the holidays pop.

Sometimes, though? All of that pop is a bit too fizzy, and we crave a quieter expression of Christmas.

Good news: Finding a tranquil take on the final hectic weeks of the year can be done, if you find yourself at Descanso Gardens.

The expansive, out-in-the-air area has become well-known for its nighttime seasonal treat, a glowing extravaganza called "Enchanted Forest of Light."

That was cancelled for 2020, but something a little more low-key but oh-so-lovely has taken its pretty place: "Reflections at Descanso."

The daytime exhibition that might be described as nature-meets-Noël is on during normal open hours at the gardens, so no additional ticket is required beyond a usual admission.

Once you've got your face covering secured, and you're ready to stay socially distanced among other guests, you'll encounter several genteel gems that speak to the season.

Be on the watch for artist David Lovejoy's deer sculptures, which have been festively fashioned from recycled and natural materials. Where are these adorable artworks gathered? Head in the direction of the pond.

The Reflective Tree is "... adorned with mirrors that reflect the light and beauty around it," and its placement couldn't be more ideal: You can find it in the property's celebrated Camellia Forest.

We say it is ideal for this is the shine-time for the famous camellias of Descanso Gardens, the delicate blooms that brighten up the colder time of the year.

For while many blossoms are sweet on spring, the camellia is an enduring star of a classic Christmas bouquet, and Descanso Gardens holds a veritable convention of camellias each winter.

Other intriguing pieces placed around the gardens include gold-burnished logs in the Golden Grove, plantings themed to winter, floral arches (that will change at the hand of flower-powerful artists throughout the happening's run), and a Wishing Tree, too.

So be sure to stop and leave a hope-filled, buoyant-beautiful wish for 2021.

For more on Reflections at Descanso, and this open-air, super-serene scene, saunter this way now.

And, for sure: An advance ticket is as important as water and sunlight is to a camellia, so book yours before you go.

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