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Descanso Gardens at Night

A red bridge over a pond in a blooming garden

If you’re living in the apartments for rent in Los Angeles, there’s little doubt you know about the wonders of Descanso Gardens. This lovely urban retreat, just 20 minutes from downtown, is a place of natural wonder, well-known for its botanical displays and quest for spreading knowledge on elegant flora to its many visitors.

Now, while most know of how much fun it is to stop by the gardens during the day, what you might not be aware of is that they also provide the occasional opportunity to swing by around nighttime and enjoy some relaxing (but still informational) programming. Dubbed the “Night Garden,” these events offer a different view of the scenery, along with a chance to learn something new. As it so happens, yet another one of these extravagant events is on the upcoming calendar, so we’ll be taking some time to fill you in on the details, and offer a look back at a few past events so you know what to expect.

Night Garden: Science Quest

The upcoming installment of the Descanso Night Garden (which will take place May 18th, at 5:30PM) is “Science Quest,” and, according to the event organizers, will be a chance to “discover the science of nature that surrounds us from the ground below to the stars above.” Additionally, Night Garden events typically provide a relaxing setting to learn something new in (much more riveting than the classroom, we can assure you), with opportunities to enjoy some live music and have a few drinks abound. Now, some of you might find this appealing right off the bat; others, however, may take a bit more convincing. Why bother heading to Descanso at night just to hear about plants, you wonder?

For starters, just think of the intrinsic allure of the botanical studies. People have been in love with plants for thousands of years. Not only are they pretty to look at, they’ve provided for humanity’s basic needs all throughout history, and the mere sight of a plant usually brings a number of questions to mind. “Is it edible,” might be one of the first things you wonder, typically followed by “can you use it as medicine” and “where should you plant it so it will grow properly.” Human nature draws us to be inquisitive about plants, and if you’re the nerdy type, there are many angles one can approach the study of plants from.

If you’re into math, for instance, you might find topics like plant genetics and biophysics to be irresistible. Bridging the gap between biology and physics is a tall order, one that takes a heaping helping of math and modeling to accomplish, so “number nerds” are never in short supply here. If you’re more of a chemistry nut, learning about the chemical processes that occur within various flora should be of great appeal, and breaking down all those cellular functions that occur within plants is a great way for you to pass the time.

There’s even room in learning about plants for outdoorsy types wh just love being among the trees. Any amateur ecologist, conservationist, or taxonomist should be thrilled to head down to the gardens to learn a few new facts about plant life and acquaint themselves with a few species they’ve never heard of. And there’s so much to learn about plants that you may not have even thought to ask yourself before, like the concept of plant intelligence, and their ability to respond to classical conditioning.

All this and more makes a trip to the next Night Garden well with your time, so if you’re interested, you’ll probably want to know how to attend, no? This event will require you to purchase tickets in advance, which are $5 for members of the Descanso Gardens and $15 for non-members. If you’re considering signing up for membership (not a bad idea if you plan on heading to the gardens frequently), know that there are several tiers of membership (which Descanso Gardens helpfully breaks down on their membership page) and signing up as a member also grants free admission to “more than 250 botanical gardens across North America” as part of the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program. Not a bad deal, if we say so ourselves.

So What’s a Night Garden Event Like?

The official timetable for the upcoming Night Garden: Science Quest event hasn’t been revealed just yet, but you only need to take a look at past iterations, like the recent LA Blooms, to get an idea of how much fun folks have coming to Descanso at Night. The evening included a DIY session where visitors could learn how to make their very own flower crowns, along with a sketch session where they could borrow drawing books and let the power of nature fuel their imagination.

Live music for the evening featured the Ikat Quartet, a four-piece, classical guitar outfit that has recently been picking up steam for their simultaneously soulful and technique-driven performances. The night even included some poetry improv and gardening demonstrations, along with all the great food and snacks that were served.

You can expect a similar fun-filled evening when you head to the Science Quest on May 18th. Be sure to block the time out in your schedule, and add this one to your calendar so that you don’t forget it. Learning about nature is a blast, and it doesn’t always have to be in the stuffy confines of a lecture hall!

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