All visitors who aren’t members must buy a general admission ticket.

9am-5pm daily

Boddy House

Descanso: LA’s Garden exhibition

December 2023–ongoing

Descanso: LA’s Garden explores how the botanical collections and displays at Descanso Gardens are a result of a combination of plants, people, local histories, and environmental factors that are unique to our site, and invites visitors from around the Los Angeles area (and beyond) to grow personal connections with the plants around them.

Rooms with a view

E. Manchester Boddy, publisher and owner of the former Los Angeles Daily News, purchased the land that is now Descanso Gardens in 1937. When Boddy decided to make Rancho del Descanso his home, he commissioned prominent Los Angeles architect James E. Dolena to create a house to raise his family.

Architect to the stars

Known as the “architect to the stars” for his many commissions in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, Dolena worked in his trademark Hollywood Regency style to produce a 12,000-square-foot, two-story, 22-room mansion for the Boddy family and nestled it into a prominent hillside in the far southeast corner of the Descanso property. The house offered a panoramic view of the San Gabriel Mountains and incorporated many features that were quite advanced for the day, including steel framing, a built-in stereo music system, and heating and cooling based on geothermal principles.

Estate sale

In 1953, Boddy sold the Rancho del Descanso estate — including his house — to Los Angeles County. A few years later, a vigorous volunteer group sprang up to lend assistance and support. Known as the Descanso Gardens Guild, this nonprofit volunteer group led many of the improvements that shaped today’s Descanso Gardens.


A home at Descanso

Map of the gardens

See our current map for a birdseye view of Descanso Gardens

Did you know?

Descanso’s current Sturt Haaga Gallery was originally constructed as a six-car garage to accommodate Manchester Boddy’s car collection.