The Gardens of Caltech

Mar 28, 2011

We’re particularly fond of two of the many gardens on the most lovely 124-acre Caltech campus. Dabney Gardens, designed by landscape architect Beatrix Farrand in 1928, is a secluded and elegant courtyard behind a wrought-iron gate, home to olive trees, stuccoed and tiled walls, sitting and reading spots, climbing roses, a gorgeous wall fountains and a cool pad of grass. And antique bronze statue of a water buffalo bearing Tenjin, a Japanese deity of the arts, sciences and learning, stands in the east corner of this quiet garden. We also love the tranquil, tree-shaded Throop Pond and Gardens, whose winding walkway is hugged by perennials, flowing pools and big boulders. A Cottage Co-op pal and JPL scientist tells us that originally the boulders were Disneyesque fakes, eventually being replaced with “geologically significant rocks,” so significant that they are marked by a plaque. But two fakes remain, listed on the plaque as “pseudoliths: 12+ years.” Look for this full disclosure just east of the blue-tiled Miliken reflecting pool, which is neither as large nor splashy (pun intended) as the pool between the Beckman buildings but is an apt prelude for this pretty little route through campus. To find these gardens, stop by the Admissions office (Steele House, 355 S. Holliston) to pick up a booklet.

Caltech, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, 626.395.3910,

5 Responses for “The Gardens of Caltech”

  1. a91030mom says:

    “originally there boulders” should be “their”.

  2. Sandy Gillis says:

    Thank you, eagle eye! I think it’s supposed to be “the” boulders.

  3. Barbara Ellis says:

    Sandy, have you found the Avery garden? behind Avery house. Some was seeded with native wildflowers, and some is used by students to grow flowers and vegetables. It’s just off Holliston by Del Mar.

  4. Sandy Gillis says:

    I am not sure that I do know it, but now I have a weekend project! Thanks for the tip. I will take my camera.



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