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December 27, 2013

Postcards From… Lotusland


Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Photo Credit: Jenny Murray

Editors' Notes

The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.

Gather ye succulents while ye may. Hidden in the serene hills above Montecito lies Lotusland, a 37-acre retreat filled with 18 impeccably manicured gardens. The grounds, once the private estate and horticultural passion of Polish-born opera singer Ganna Walska, now house 3,000 plant varieties including those from the palm, bromeliad and cactus families. In addition to the vast greenery, the property houses a main residence designed in 1919, by architect Reginald Johnson in the Mediterranean Revival style, and additional Spanish Colonial Revival buildings by George Washington Smith were added in the ’20s. There is also a theater garden featuring whimsical statues, and a backyard parterre with pebble mosaics. From the Butterfly garden’s flowering plants that help sustain beneficial insects to the Succulent garden’s drought-proof ground coverings and the Water garden’s famed floating flowers for which Lotusland is named, each garden maintains its own individual ecosystem. The sprawling grounds are only accessible via docent-led walking tours that begin each year in February, but a special Aloe Outing on Saturday, January 25, allows members and guests to explore the blooming succulent garden during Lotusland’s winter recess. Regular tours recommence on Wednesday through Saturday from February through November, and require advance reservations. And, contrary to the famed Robert Herrick poem, though the sun may be nearer to setting (throughout the winter months), there are still many flowers in their prime.

By Alisa Wolfson

Pictured: The botanical gardens of Lotusland in Montecito.
Photo by Jenny Murray

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Photo Credit: Jenny Murray
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