Tucked away just above Hollywood is lush oasis that even many locals don’t know exists.
You may have even driven right past it yourself.
At the far western end of Franklin Avenue is a section of vine-covered fence surrounding what appears to be an orchard or a small farm.
In fact, this is the Wattles Farm Community Garden.. And it’s been tended by its members for decades.
Venture a little further up Curson Avenue and you will arrive at a grand Mediterranean villa.
This is Wattles Mansion and Garden. The 50 acre estate was once the winter home of Omaha banker Gurdon Wattles. The home was built in 1907 by architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey, who were also responsible for many landmarks including the Rose Bowl, the Huntington Library and the former Ambassador Hotel.
Wattles surrounded his mansion with orchards, rose gardens, a palm court and one of the first Japanese gardens in the U.S. The City of Los Angeles bought the property in 1965 and opened the property to the public.
Unfortunately, the park was neglected during the 1980s and 1990s and lost much of the Japanese landscaping to vandals. Since then, Wattles Gardens has been cleaned up and restored. The mansion itself and the remaining formal garden is now closed to the general public but the rest is free to all.
The front lawn is a great place to picnic, watch a sunset, or daydream.
From the mansion, continue up the street until you see a small gate. Inside, there are fountains and a pathway that opens to wide open lawn.
Behind the house is path leading to canyon trails. Theoretically, it’s possible to access Runyon Canyon from this trail. However, the trail is pretty tough going for all but the most rugged hikers. A better bet is take the nearby Trebek Open Space trail.
It’s hard to believe that a spot so serene is only minutes away from Hollywood.
Directions: From Hollywood Boulevard, turn north on Curson. Continue past the garden until you see the mansion on your right. Plenty of street parking available.
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