Descanso Gardens (continued)
One of the first things Mr. Boddy constructed on the site of this former Spanish rancho was a two-story 22-room home he called "Rancho del Descanso." Today, this structure is used as a hospitality house for the Garden. The hilltop house overlooks 25 acres of live oak forest and is lined with mature camellias. At the time of the original sale, and with an eye toward the future, the newspaper entrepreneur also purchased an additional 280 acres north of the property containing streams, which today supply the fresh spring water for the gardens.
Seduced by the beauty of the camellia, Mr. Boddy soon employed an expert to cultivate different varieties of the plant. Before long, he had assembled a world-renowned collection. Together, they were able to bring back to popularity a flower that had passed from favor with the public and establish a camellia nursery and cut flower business. The newspaperman had a love for a myriad of different flower species and soon divided his interests between roses, irises, lilacs and native California plants.