The first inhabitants of this area of California were Native Americans who were attracted by the springs, small ponds, and abundant wild life. In 1839 it became part of a Spanish land grant and subsequently passed through a series of owners who operated ranches and farms. One of the last private owners was Elias “Lucky” Baldwin, a real-estate developer who subdivided the land but reserved a piece for his country estate. In 1947 111 acres of the estate were purchased jointly by the state and Los Angeles County. Improvements over the years have resulted in a spectacular garden.
The garden has several dozen small themed gardens and larger gardens with plants from Africa, Australia, Madagascar, and the Canary Islands. Tropical plants and orchids fill a greenhouse. A Queen Anne Cottage and carriage house, built during Baldwin’s time, have been restored. The carriage house is opened to tour. An Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad depot built in 1890 has been reconstructed on the property. Tours are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. Parts of the garden may look familiar because many movies and television shows have been filmed on the grounds. The cottage appears in the opening scene of Fantasy Island.
The garden paths are a mix of pavement and hardpacked sand. Most of them are accessible. The paved roads double as walking trails. The cottage is not open for tours. The carriage house has steep access ramps. We did not visit the depot.
RVs will fit in the parking lot that parallels Baldwin Ave if parked lengthwise across the spaces. Do not attempt to drive an RV into the section closest to the entry. There’s a tight turn with overhanging trees. Garden34.14506, -118.05038