The Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, CA is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It came about as Ed and Lynn Hogan, the founders of Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays (now owned by AAA), sought to build a series of connected gardens that represented cultures from around the world.
Built on 4.5 acres on the town’s main thoroughfare, the privately owned and operated site features gardens that represent England, France, Italy, Japan and the California Missions. You will find free parking at the top of the driveway behind the Resource Center. In addition, there is no admission charge.
After parking, you’ll find a short pathway to the beginning entrance of the gardens. Be sure to look for a rack there which holds a brochure that gives detailed information about each of the gardens. On the back side there is a helpful map showing the layout of the property. Although you might naturally start out to your right on your self-guided journey, you are more than welcome to design your own tour among the various pathways.
There are plenty of benches that line the shaded walkway that are available for rest and contemplation of the beauty that surrounds you. I’d recommend bringing a cool bottle of water especially during warmer months (the water fountain I tried to use was not in service). The restrooms in the Resource Center are open, but a picnic area along the northern side remains closed.
The grounds are lushly maintained - obviously by a professional staff. Many of the plants and trees have small identifying plaques which are helpful to the average tourist such as myself. A favorite section of mine was the Japanese garden which included a pond full of large colorful koi. Although feeding the fish is not allowed, I found the koi were constantly in motion near the water’s surface.
Allow an hour of open-ended time to relax and peruse the grounds at your own pace as you take in the amazing horticultural beauty of The Gardens of the World. For further information and to pre-plan your visit, visit their web site www.gardensoftheworld.info