Flowers · Gardening · Roses · Travel · USA

Visiting Rose Garden in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena, California.

I have visited Descanso Gardens in Pasadena, California more than a year ago, in the end of April of 2018.  It is really a huge, 150 acres (61 ha) botanical garden consisting of several areas hosting a variety of plants and ecosystems. Here I would like to present to you their Rose Garden, as the name suggests, dedicated mainly to growing roses. 

Last year, it was my first visit to California and I went there with my husband for about 2 weeks. We were trying to see as much of California as possible in this pretty short time. Pasadena was one of the places we wanted to visit since it was only a few hours drive from the place we stayed in. We have just arrived at the perfect moment to photograph it since roses, as well as many other flowers and trees, were blooming at this time of the year and Descanso Gardens looked exceptionally beautiful.

In the photographs below, you will be able to see the highlights of the Rose Garden. Later on I plan to write more about visiting these amazing gardens and showing you some other parts of this botanical treasure.

Right after we have entered Descanso Gardens, we have noticed some roses and flowering trees. We have discovered that the Rose Garden was the first one to see, since it was the closest to the main entrance. Naturally we have visited it at the beginning of our Descanso Gardens tour.

Here are some roses blooming in the Rose Garden, close to the main entrance to Descanso Garden.  I think those pink roses on the right closest to the front are probably called Burgundy Iceberg, or they might be a very similar species. We have one Burgundy Iceberg rose in our garden and it looks very much like this one, but it is smaller since it is only its second year in our garden.

When I was there, it was an overcast day, which was good and bad for photography. It was good for showing more details and avoiding harsh shadows, but the lighting was rather flat looking and the colours were a bit washed out.  For those of you interested in photography, I used my  Canon camera to photograph this garden and a variety of lenses.

A closer look at this beautiful fruit tree blooming in Descanso Garden, Pasadena.

The City of Pasadena.

The city of Pasadena in California is located in San Gabriel Valley, only about 10 miles (16 km) north-east from Los Angele’s Downtown and in front of  the beautiful, high and rugged San Gabriel Mountains. Pasadena is one of the primary cultural center in this area. It has quite mild, Mediterranean climate favorable for growing many plants.

While in Pasadena, we have visited 3 gardens, but we have to go back the second time to see the third one of them since one day was not enough to see them all and really have time to enjoy being there.  Descanso Gardens were the first one we have seen and one of the best.

The History of Descanso Gardens.

Descanso Gardens was originally created as a garden adjacent to the elegant residence build for E. Manchester Boddy’s, who was  a newspaper publisher. He called this estate Rancho del Descanso. Before he died, he deeded this estate to Los Angeles County under the condition that it would be opened to the public after his death. Once he died and the estate went under Los Angeles Country supervision it was renamed Descanso Gardens.

Besides Rose Garden, which I am presenting here, this botanical garden has several other areas dedicated to various plants. Beeside the Rose Garden, one of my favorite was a huge area covered with beautiful camellia trees. This part of the park is the biggest camellias garden in the USA.

As I have mentioned, I plan to write later about another part of Descanso Gardens and it will be about Camellia Garden since I was also very impress with it. I  have never seen so many amazing camelias trees of various colours in one place.

My another favorite part of the park is ancient forest with several coastal Redwood Sequoias  (Sequoia sempervirens). I have later seen many such trees in the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon, which I plan to write about on my other blog. They can grow to be the tallest living trees on Earth.  Perhaps I will show you this part of the park as well in one of my future posts since it is indeed quite beautiful and unique looking.

There are many garden related festival organized in the park, as well as some other events.  For example February is Camellia’s Month and there is Rose Festival held in May.

You can also visit very sophisticated and quite big house-museum of E. Manchester Boddy with with 22 rooms. For more information about visiting this beautiful botanical gardens please visit Pasadena’s website.  You will also find more information about Descanso Gardens here.

Walking Further Down the Rose Garden.

Walking further down the Rose Garden we have seen many more roses of various kinds often mixed up with some other flowers and shrubs, as you will see in many photographs below.


There were many fruit trees blooming at this time of the year as well as perennials flowers, which were adding beauty and romantic style to this rose garden.

One of the blooming trees and many perennial flowers also growing in Descanso Rose Garden.

Here you can see a close up of some flowers blooming in Descanso Rose Garden at the end of April 2018. They were often mixed up with roses creating perfect backgrounds for them and complimenting their colours. Here are some light-cream roses mixed with light purple or lavender coloured flowers and red poppies.


Below you can have a closer look at some of the lavender coloured flowers from this garden. This are probably some kind of Astrantias. There were usually labels with plant’s name beside roses, but not beside all of the other kinds of flowers growing there. At least I didn’t notice any here.

These are probably some kind Astrantia flowers. Many of them were many in Descanso Rose Garden in the end of April, 2018 while I was therel.

Here is another beautiful flower I was able to photograph in Descanso Gardens. The flower was coming from some kind of succulent plant. It was quite big and I thought it looked original.

Some kind of succulent plant was beautifully blooming with a big yellow, cone-shaped flower.

There were also plenty of these vivid pink flowers and some purple one as well.


Here is a close up on one of them. If any of you knows what kind of flower it is, as well as any other flowers I didn’t know the names, please let me know, and  I will add the proper names to their description.  Thank you.


One more flower blooming in Descanso Rose Gardens in Pasadena.

Here is another purple flower from Descanso gardens in Pasadena, California.

Finally there are pictures of some of my favorite roses I have found in Descanso Rose Garden. There were many more, but I have photographed only those I thought looked the most striking and original. This one had big peach coloured flowers and it was a Hybrid Tea rose called Abbaye de Cluny. It really looked great.

Abbaye de Cluny rose – Hybrid Tea blooming in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena, California.

Here is a close up look at this amazing rose.

Abbaye de Cluny rose – Hybrid Tea.

Further down I have also noticed this yellow-orange rose from the Grandiflora group called Glowing Peace.

Glowing Peace rose from Grandiflora roses group.

Walking further down I have seen some well designed floral groups with many trees in the background. As in other parts of this garden, roses were growing here along with many colourful flowers and a variety of other plants.

Rose Garden in Pasadena, California.

I liked the composition of this foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) mixed in with some roses.

Foxloves were creating beautiful background for roses in this floral arrangement in Descanso Rose Garden in Pasadena, California.

The rose growing among them was one of my favorite and its name was Koko Loko. I would love to have one rose like that in my garden if I can find it in Canada. Unfortunately where I live (in the Greater Toronto Area) we have quite limited access to many varieties of roses, which are available in USA and at least some parts of Europe. I love the fact that this rose has flowers with different pastel shades of pink and peach, which is quite unique. Also its flowers are very big and spectacular.

One of my favorite roses in this rose garden – Koko Loko – from the Floribunda rose group. It really has huge, very showy flowers of various shades of pink and pale peach-orange on the same flowering bush.I would love to have a rose like that in our garden as well.

Here is a close up of this Koko Loko rose growing in Rose Garden in Pasadena.

A closer look at Koko Loko rose in Descanso Gardens, Pasadena, California. Since it has a variety of shades, it looks like a composition of more than one kind of roses mixed together.  The shape and colour of pink roses of this kind looks quite close to the Memorial Day rose we have in our garden. I wonder if these roses might be related.
Here is another look at this part of the Rose Garden in Pasadena.

Further down I have noticed a big clump of crimson red poppies flowering in the background of some another roses.

A clump of flowering crimson-red poppies was creating a nice background for some other roses in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena.

Further down in the Rose Garden there was even more roses mixed up with other flowering plants growing beside some decorative gates and arbors.  Here in the front of the photograph below there was probably some decorative sage, and further down foxgloves, irises and of course many roses.

More amazing flowers. Those in front could be kind of flowering sage.

Here is another look at this part of Descanso Rose Gardens. Please notice how some roses were planted so they were climbing on the wooden and metal arbors and arches.

Rose Garden in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena, California.
One more view from Rose Garden in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena, California.

Columbines were also blooming at this time of the year in Pasadena, as you can see in the picture below.

Dark purple columbine blooming in Descanso Rose Garden in Pasadena, California.

Here you can see more roses and have a better look at the main path. Metal arches were placed along the way so some roses could climb on them. Most of the arches were already partially covered with blooming roses and I could imagine that there would be even many more roses climbing and blooming along them later in the spring, or during the summer, before it gets too hot.


Walking further down I was very impressed with this huge pink rose called Century Two. This rose has grown to the size of a small tree and the flowers were really huge and beautiful, as you can see in the photograph below.

Amazing looking Century Two rose, a Hybrid Tea rose with huge, very full pink flowers blooming in Descanso Rose Gardens in Pasadena. I think this rose also looks a bit similar to our Memorial Day rose, but this particular shrub is bigger and probably more established.

Here is a closer look at the main path in this garden with metal arches and climbing roses. You can see here that the roses could also climb on metal wires stretched between the arches. I can imagine it looks even better later in the spring or summer when most of the arches and wires could be covered with blooming roses of various shapes and colours.


The main path leading across the Rose Garden in Pasadena. Many climbing roses were growing along the way.

Below you can see one of the red roses climbing on the arch there with a white yarrow growing at its feet.

A red rose climbing one of the metal arches along the main path in Descanso Rose Garden in Pasadena,

We have finally almost reached the end of the Rose Garden. You can see here a few people enjoying vising this wonderful garden.

One more view at the Rose Garden in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena.

Finally we have reached the end of Rose Garden and from here we have proceeded to see the rest of this huge and so well designed gardens.  As I have already mentioned, I plan to tell you more about these beautiful and so interesting gardens in some of my future posts.

Big agavas and some cacti were growing at the end of Rose Garden in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena. From there the path was leading to the further parts of these amazing gardens.

Thank you very much for visiting my Vibrant Garden blog and for reading this article so far.

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The Copyright, Usage Licence and Fine Art Prints.

All photographs and this article are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk unless otherwise mentioned. I you would like to use any of them in your publications, on your website, or purchase these photographs as fine art prints, please contact me.

My Other Blog – Light Vision.

If you like this blog, you might also like to visit my other blog – Light Vision, where I write about photography, art and travel. Thank you for visiting, liking and sharing my blogs.

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9 thoughts on “Visiting Rose Garden in Descanso Gardens in Pasadena, California.

  1. This is a wonderful series of images. I like Koko Loko very much too from your pictures. Is it also the one at the top? It’s always a treat to see climbing roses in full bloom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thank you very much for your comment and I am very happy to hear you like my post. I always like to read your blog and admire so many beautiful pictures you have there.

      Regarding Koko Loko rose it is visible in 3 pictures in this article. Beside the wider view on this rose and the close up of its flowers, there is also one picture above them in which you can see it growing among the foxgloves. Indeed this rose is exceptionally beautiful.

      Recently I have discovered another rose, which also has flowers in various shades and it seems a bit similar to Koko Loko, at least when judging it from the pictures. Its name is Alchemyst or Alchymist. It is a climbing rose, which blooms only once during the warmer part of the year, but I have read it has many beautiful flowers over quite long period of time. I didn’t see it in person yet, so I can’t really tell if indeed it is a bit similar to Koko Loko rose since pictures could be misleading. Anyway Alchemyst rose is now on my “consider buying list”. I hope I can still fit it into my garden. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yoko Loko looks great with the foxgloves. I’ll be looking out for it on my travels – it’s not one I’ve seen before.

        I know Alchymist quite well – it’s a striking one and worth its spot on your list. The roses do seem to share a similar spirit so far as I can tell from your pictures in that their flowers are full and aristocratic. Alchymist’s flowers have more or less yellow and peach, sometimes with hints of pink. They are full and have soft character (if that makes any sense). Do you grow A Shropshire Lad? That’s one of my favourites and will repeat flower.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Susan,

        Thank you very much for your reply and advice regarding Alchymist rose. From what you say, it sounds like a great rose to have. I am now only not sure if it will go well with other colours in my garden if it is mostly yellow since I keep our garden in the shades of pink, purple with some blue and a little bit of red tones. However if the yellow is toned down often with peach shades it might work quite well.

        I was thinking to place this rose behind my William Morris rose, which is pastel pink and peach colour and beside Butterfly bush, which blooms in purple, but later during summer. Here in Toronto area roses in our garden mostly bloom in the second part of June and the beginning of July and many roses we have repeat blooming later. Some of our roses bloom constantly, but many of them take a break during the hottest part of the summer.

        I am still thinking if I should buy this rose and maybe in the meantime I will be able to find it in full bloom, so it could help me to decide if it is the right rose for our garden.

        Regarding Shropshire Lad rose, I don’t have it yet, but I think I have seen it and was impressed with its beauty. I was considering buying it as well, but I think I have read about it that it is quite susceptible to a black spot, or maybe I have confused it with another rose with a similar name. Indeed it is exceptionally beautiful and maybe I should buy it as well, or instead of Alchymyst rose, since it is also a climbing rose and unlike Alchymyst, it repeats blooming. I might be a bit difficult to fit both of them in our garden since we are running out of space, unless I move some of our lilies and and a few other perennials.

        As I have mentioned, I do have William Morris rose, which I think is a bit similar to Shropshire Lad since it is also very full and is in pastel shades of pink and peach. The shape of this rose, after in opens, looks more flat than the other one, but still very beautiful. This is one of my favorite roses and in our area it blooms the best in June, but later repeats blooming at least a few times. You can see it in my other article about roses, this time roses from our garden. The picture of it is closer to the bottom of this article here:

        Good luck with finding Koko Loko rose and I look forward to seeing it on your blog. I hope I will be able to find it as well and fit it into our garden. It really is an exceptionally beautiful rose.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your great description of Decanso Gardens. I was also there in April (2019) and particularly admired the succulent with the yellow blooms on tall stalks. I believe it is some type of euphorbia, though I am not sure which. I hope this might help a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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