Descanso Gardens (continued)
In 1953, Boddy sold his magnificent home and property to the County of Los Angeles and Descanso Gardens opened to the public. By 1957, the Gardens were in danger of being closed, until 25 area residents stepped forward to save the historic property and formed a non-profit organization to protect and promote the interests of the Gardens.
Bounded on the north by the San Gabriel Mountains and on the south by the San Rafael hills, Descanso Gardens contains the largest outdoor planting of camellias in the world. More than 100,000 plants grace the winding paths of the California live oak forest that has become a laboratory for the research and development of new species of camellias. 400-plus varieties of camellias thrive amid the filtered shade, with its natural leaf mold on the forest floor. In this setting there are camellia specimens from China, Japan, England, and the southern region of the United States. Under such ideal conditions, some camellias exceed 20 feet in height. Rays of sun cast shadows on the ground, underneath the camellias that towered overhead, as I savored in the beauty of their blossoms.