With the onset of the pandemic this time last year, Descanso Gardens was obliged to cancel all of its springtime events, including Tomatomania.
Tomatomania, a huge community of enthusiastic fellow tomato lovers as well as the world’s largest tomato seedling sale, returns from April 9-11 in a new, socially-distanced format in Descanso’s Rose Garden. Timed free tickets will be required, and hours will be expanded to accommodate visitors.
Tomatomania will feature more than 200 tomato varieties and 50 pepper varieties. Some of the highlights include 10-15 selection of heirlooms from the dwarf series, diminutive tomatoes designed specifically to grow in small spaces like balcony containers. One of the standouts is the “Saucy Mary,” a tiny “micro dwarf” plant that can be grown in a pot with other plants and still produce a lot of fruit. And each season, owner Scott Daigre chooses his “Tomato of the Year,” which for 2021 is the “Lava Flow,” a stripey Hawaiian hybrid that looks beautiful and tastes lush and flavorful.
“We are very excited to have Tomatomania! return to Descanso Gardens,” said Juliann Rooke, executive director, Descanso Gardens, “albeit in a slightly different format. We are closing off our Rose Garden for the event and spreading the plants out so people will be socially distanced. Tickets will be timed and the entrance will be from our auxiliary parking lot. We are thrilled that people will be able to enjoy one of their favorite events of the year, but we want them to do so safely.”
Due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, there will be no live classes or presentations this time around but look for some tomato-related digital content. “We are hoping to present some interesting and entertaining online videos focused on everything tomato in conjunction with the event,” said Daigre. More information will be available closer to the date.
Admission to Tomatomania is free, but timed tickets are required for everyone. They will be released to members on March 15 and to the public on March 29 at descansogardens.org. Tomatomania hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m., April 9-11.
To visit Descanso Gardens, non-members must reserve tickets in advance at descansogardens.org. All April tickets will be released March 29. Descanso Gardens’ spring hours (starting March 15 for members, March 22 for the general public) are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.