Open the Gates!

Apr 10, 2012

The Harris Garden, 1927 French-style house; photo from

For the last 17 years, The Garden Conservancy has been “opening the gates” to America’s private gardens. This year, they will offer self-guided tours at 300 gardens in 19 states. Pasadena abounds with beautiful gardens and six of them will host “Open Days” on Sunday, April 29th.

The lucky six are: Hen’s Grove, John H. Fisher Garden, Pavillion San Rafael, The Harris Garden, Waverly Craftsman Pool Garden, and the Wyndham-Smith Garden.

Hen’s Grove is described by the owner—she grew up working in the garden with her mother who started it in 1943—as “blowsy, often wild, and hardly kept at bay.” Its name is a nod to Barbara Mitford, an English novelist, and refers to the aviaries of chickens, birds, guinea pigs, and rabbits on hand.

In contrast, the Fisher Garden seems to be planned and organized, with long hedges providing privacy, a formal parterre of orange and kumquat trees, sitting areas, pathways, and a “formal English-style garden planted with roses.”

Pavilion San Rafael; photo by Julius Shulman/Juergen Nogai

From a 1927 French-style house with an ancient ginkgo tree to a restored 1926 garden pavilion that has been called the only “true” one of its kind in southern California, there is much on this tour to catch your eye. So, purchase your tickets and open the gates; for a day, these gardens are all yours.

The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program
Sunday, April 29th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Begin at La Casita del Arroyo Garden
177 S. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena to receive maps and discount admission tickets
Cost: $5 per garden or $25 for all six gardens
For more info, call 888.842.2442 or visit Open Days Program



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