Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens

Arden Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens
Modjeska Canyon

For inquiries, please contact Heritage Hill Historical Park
(949) 923-2230

For reservations, please contact the South County Historical Parks office at Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest at (949) 923-2230 or

Tucked away amidst a live oak grove on the banks of Santiago Creek in Modjeska Canyon lies the century-old home of world renowned actress Madame Helena Modjeska. Named for the grounds’ resemblance to the Forest of Arden in the Shakespearean play, “As You Like It,” Arden is designated a National Historic Landmark.


Docent led tours of the historic house and gardens are currently offered 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, by advance reservation. This walking tour will take you through the years Madame Modjeska resided in her canyon home, and along the rock lined pathways of what she so fondly called the Forest of Arden. Tours are approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Park patrons are welcome to enjoy the self-guided grounds Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


May 1, 2020 
OC Parks COVID-19 Modified Operations

UPDATED 5/5/21: In an effort to minimize the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on park patrons, staff, and the Orange County community at large, and consistent with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governor’s office, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA), OC Parks are operating in the following manner.

November 2, 2018 

News ImageCongress through the National Park Service, Department of Interior, selected OC Parks as a grant recipient to “Save America’s Treasures.” The National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, provided $4.8 million in grants awarded to 16 projects in 12 states, supporting the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections throughout the country.

June 12, 2020 
Learn to Draw with OC Parks

There’s California gold in those hills! California Poppies, that is. The state flower is in full bloom around OC Parks’ Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens.

Arden was the shady canyon home of famous Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska in the late 1800s. Her historic house still stands today with its striking architecture and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark destination. A young Englishman, Theodore Payne, began his American career as Madame Modjeska’s head gardener in 1893. He found his passion for horticulture at an early age, but his love for California native plants began while working on the ranch and exploring the wild canyons of Orange County. He was a strong advocate of growing and protecting California natives, and left behind a legacy of beautiful botanical gardens and a foundation which continues his work to this day.

Here's your chance to draw California poppies from your own home! Follow the steps in the photos (check our social media on Monday!) to draw this flower or you can print out the coloring page in the "More" link.

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