The 160-acre Descanso Gardens was originally developed in 1936 by Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News publisher Elias Manchester Boddy, whose numerous interests included horticulture and politics. The following year, he commissioned architect James E. Dolena to build a 12,000-square-foot Hollywood Regency-style residence on the property, where Boddy would live with his wife and two sons for over a decade. Upon retiring in 1952, he put his Rancho del Descanso up for sale - it was eventually purchased by the County of Los Angeles and turned into a public space. Today, it is a favorite destination for Angelenos and visitors alike, and features countless areas for exploring, including a bird sanctuary, a five-acre rosarium, a Japanese tea garden, a water-wise garden, an Oak Woodland, a California garden, and the world’s largest collection of camellia flowers.
Descanso Gardens' sprawling twenty-acre Oak Forest masqueraded as Sherwood Forest in the Season 4 episode of TNG titled “Qpid.” Descanso, which means "rest" or "repose" in Spanish, also played the role of the wooded Gamma Quadrant planet in the Deep Space Nine Season 2 episode titled “The Jem’Hadar.” The idyllic site has also popped up in Daredevil, Minority Report, America’s Sweethearts, Legally Blonde and Mad Men. Both the interior and the exterior of the Boddy House, which can be toured while visiting the gardens, were used extensively as Jon Voight's residence in the 2008 holiday comedy Four Christmases.
Descanso Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the year, except for Christmas. Tickets can be purchased onsite.