La Cañada Flintridge

Savor the ‘First Flush' of Rose Season at Descanso Gardens

May is here and so is one of Southern California's showiest, most scent-tastic stars.

Krasimir Kanchev

What to Know

  • La Cañada Flintridge
  • Advance reservations are necessary for non-members
  • The 150-acre garden is also home to coastal oaks, the celebrated Japanese Garden, and several flowery features

The rose is a flower that is, at least locally, very much associated with the start of a certain month.

It's a month that might surprise, at first glance, since it is the first full month of wintertime.

But January 1 and the petal-lush blossoms? For Southern Californians who adore big parades, you can't help but thinking of that day as the rosiest day of the year.

But there's another month-starting moment that is very much about the rose, and it arrives right around the centerpoint of springtime. It's May 1, a holiday when we should be breaking out the maypoles and flower crowns, at least if we're feeling especially fancy and poetic.

There is another way, though, to connect with the floral and fantastic spirit of May, and it involves calling upon one of our region's glorious gardens, places that grow even, er, gloriouser when roses begin to beautifully bloom.

Which is what is happening at Descanso Gardens, in La Cañada Flintridge, just as the maypole-iest moment of the year arrives.

The 150-acre property shared a snapshot of its burgeoning rose scene on social media on April 30, saying the "first flush" of the springtime roses were now doing their thing.

And, of course, "doing their thing" in rosespeak means opening lavishly and perfuming the surrounding air lusciously, as roses so memorably can and will do.

Keep in mind that advance reservations are a must if you're not a member. And weekends? They definitely do fill up at Descanso, capacity-wise, so weekdays are the better bet for some one-on-one blossom time.

There's lots to see, too, around the pretty plot. True, both the lilacs and cherry blossoms have wrapped up for another year, but the "bloom boom" continues in all corners of the gardens.

To see what is currently opening its petals at the fresh-air'd expanse, bend your own stem in this direction now.

So what month-starting date is the rose's more major occasion, at least around Los Angeles? Is it May 1 or Jan. 1?

It feels like "both" is the best and enduring answer to this question, any time it should arose, er, arise.

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