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Camellias -- evergreen flowering shrubs from China and Japan -- were the passion of amateur gardener E. Manchester Boddy, who began planting them here in 1941. Today his 150-acre Descanso Gardens contain more than 100,000 camellias in more than 600 varieties, blooming under a canopy of California oak trees. The shrubs now share the limelight with a 5-acre International Rosarium, home to hundreds of varieties. This is a very relaxing place, with paths and streams that wind through the towering forest; it borders a lake, bird sanctuary, Japanese Garden and Tea House, and Boddy House museum. Each season features different plants: daffodils, azaleas, tulips, and lilacs in the spring; chrysanthemums in the fall; and so on. Monthly art exhibits are held in the hospitality house, and the Descanso Café offers light meals daily from 9am to 4:30pm. Guided tram tours, which cost $4, run Tuesday through Friday at 1, 2, and 3pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1, 2, and 3pm. Picnicking is allowed in specified areas. Tip: Kids dig the mini Enchanted Railroad, which travels around a small area of the park, (adults are allowed onboard, too, though one trip is usually plenty for them). Rides are $3.