Gardens of the World
Gardens of the World
Thousand Oaks, California
It seemed a wonderful sign that just as we we were pulling off the highway after driving through a dense patch of storms a double rainbow appeared above our destination, The Gardens of the World. As we set out along the path, the scene was magical with the gardens aglow from the warm light of the setting sun.
We first followed the sound of water to the Dragon’s Gate waterfall, a humble fountain that splashed down a rocky hill to a small bridge that was the entrance to the Japanese Garden. Close-cut azalea bushes with a final few huge white blooms hanging on sat in a bed of small stones interspersed with tall clusters of bamboo. A shallow pool filled with feathery-finned koi fish sat alongside an impressive pagoda. It was a peaceful scene that was the perfect entry point into the whole garden experience.
We rounded the corner and passed under a long pergola and found ourselves in the upper tier of the French Garden. Swooping structured boxwood hedges in symmetrical circular patterns with shaped bushes interspersed had me mesmerized for quite a while. I turned around and took in the centerpiece of the garden, a grand stepped-waterfall fountain with vertical jets of water shooting up along the sides. The fountain could be admired either from the top down, with the mountains in the distance, or from the bottom looking upwards.
We walked past a stunning Italian Garden with an authentic chain fountain running down a grassy embankment framed by tall rows of cyprus trees on either side. Then we entered the English Rose Garden under arched arbors hung with fragrant flowers and followed curved sidewalks around a stately display of roses and through looser displays of perennial plantings. The last section of the garden, the Mission Courtyard with its fountain and heavy-hung lime trees, was off a pathway lined with knotty, twisting-trunked olive trees.
Final Rating: The first real surprise about this garden gem in a ritzy neighborhood is that it is totally free and open to the public. It is pleasantly tucked away from the road and surrounding suburban bustle, and the different sections of the garden have their own distinct tranquility. The landscape work is extremely well kept and complementary to each garden’s theme. Sometimes the garden does feel a little cramped with too much space and attention given to the bland Mission Courtyard & Bandstand areas. I would love to see it in the different blooming seasons of the year as it is totally worthy of repeat visits. THREE BLOOM RATING