About the Museum » Garden
The grounds of the Museum have a long history of beautiful gardens. The original garden was planted in the 1870s when Dr. Ezra and Jeanne Carr created Carmelita. It was the most extensive garden in Pasadena, filled with plants from all over the world, many being planted by the donors themselves, including botanist John Muir, who was a friend and former student of Dr. Carr.
Like Monet’s Giverny, the garden at the Norton Simon Museum is a living work of art providing tranquil and inspirational surroundings for the Museum and its visitors. Many come to sketch the attractive landscaping and featured sculptures or simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
Conceived in 1999 by noted Southern California landscape designer, Nancy Goslee Power, the 79,000-square-foot garden includes more than 180 species of trees, shrubs, vines, ground cover and perennials. Complete with a meandering pond and a small waterfall, the garden is home to magnificent sculptures ingeniously integrated into the landscape.
The Museum’s garden is designed to bring delight to every season. Its large pond features various species of water lilies and bog plants. Two magnificent trees, a Moreton Bay Fig and a Cockspur Coral Tree, stand as centerpieces in the garden. Nestled in a hedge of fragrant Lavender, the Deodar Cedar and Kashmir Cypress trees complement an impressive grove of Lemon-scented Gum Eucalyptus.
Common Names of the Trees and Shrubs at the Norton Simon Museum:
Museum Entry: Goldenrain Tree and Mexican Sycamore. Chinese Yew, Armstrong Juniper, and Tamarix Juniper.
Spring Walk: Gold Medallion Tree, Deodar Cedar, Yellow Trumpet Flower, Tipuana Tree. Eriobotrya, Bay Laurel, and MockOrange.
California Summer Border: Montezuma Cypress. Smoke Tree, Common Flannel Bush, Hibiscus, Orange spiral flowers, Leucadendron, Green Flax, and Bird of Paradise.
Moon Garden: Clumping Giant Timber Bamboo, Angel’s Trumpet, Floss Silk Tree, Sago Palm, Chinese Flame Tree, Flaxleaf Paperbark, Chinese Elm. Australian Tree Fern, Eriobotrya, Chinese Hibiscus, Banana Shrub, Heavenly Bamboo, Tassel Fern, and Laurustinus.
Angel’s Trumpet Walk: Angel’s Trumpet. Australian Tree Fern, Tasmanian Tree Fern, Heavenly Bamboo, and Giant Chain Fern.
Autumn Border: Chinese Flame Tree and Chinese Elm. Chinese Hibiscus, Chinese Blue Column Juniper, Heavenly Bamboo, and Bird of Paradise.
Ficus Tree: Moreton Bay Fig.
Coral Tree: Cockspur Coral Tree.
Blue Eucalyptus Walk: Lemon-scented Gum and Jacaranda Tree. Bear’s Breech, California Lilac, Silverberry, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Leptospermum reevesii and Privet.
Kashmir Cypress Garden: Deodar Cedar and Kashmir Cypress. Pride of Madeira, Lavender, Honey Bush, Mock Orange, and Princess Flower.
The Grove: Tulip Tree.
Please note: The Sculpture Garden is closed during heavy rains and sections can remain closed for several days following rains.