Friday, January 23, 2015

A Japanese Garden in Winter

Descano  Gardens' blue-tiled Japanese teahouse

During the holidays I accompanied my husband on a short research trip to the Los Angeles area. For me, it was a garden-seeking trip. I spent an entire day at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, which was pretty amazing and deserves its own post. The next day I drove into the foothills of La Cañada Flintridge to see Descano Gardens. Descano Gardens is an interesting mix of garden types, mostly highlighting southern Californian plants, but also showcasing other odd bits such as a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and an extensive collection of camellias (disturbingly procured from two nurseries during the Japanese-American internment of World War II).

Sozu water fountain

Since I arrived early to the gardens, and since I'd had to endure zillions of people touring the Japanese garden at the Huntington, I decided to head first to the Japanese garden here. It was small but incredibly peaceful and serene. And yes, I was the only one in it!

I want some of these!

The Full Moon Teahouse, seen here and in the first photo, was built in 1966 yet looked brand new. I really loved these lights. The teahouse is open in summer for tea.

A peak at the arched bridge and the farmhouse in the background

Though nothing was in bloom at this time, and of course, very few Japanese gardens depend on blooms, the diversity in textures and interesting pathways still held a lot of interest for me.

Arched bridge and stream

There was a koi pond and a stream that meandered throughout the small space. And as you can see from a few of the photos, one Japanese maple was mostly still full of leaves. I don't know whether the leaves of that tree are always red, or if they had turned for fall/winter.

Koi pond

The last photo I leave you with is mostly a study in reflections. I appreciated the simple beauty of this Japanese garden.

I've seen quite a few Japanese gardens over the years. Though they all share common traits, I've found myself truly favoring only a few of them. But this one I've added to my favorites list.

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2015. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. Beautifully photographed Jean...and I want those lights, too.

  2. I love, love Japanese gardens! I've never seen one in winter, however; I imagine they would look beautiful covered in snow, too. You've captured the serenity of this place beautifully, Jean.

  3. You call that winter? Lol. Beautiful though!


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