Lotusland

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This article is about the botanical garden in California. For the Canadian locations nicknamed "Lotusland", see Vancouver and British Columbia.
Lotus plants at Lotusland

The place-name Ganna Walska Lotusland, also known as the (15 ha / 37 acres) Lotusland, is the historic estate of Madame Ganna Walska and current location of a non-profit botanical garden in uniquely designed landscape gardens located in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, California, United States. The Lotusland estate is open to the public by advance reservation only, with walking tours 1½ to 2 hours long through the distinctive gardens.

History[edit]

The estate was previously owned by the Gavit family and called Cuesta Linda. They had landscape elements, garden structures, and the main residence designed in 1919 by architect Reginald Johnson in the Mediterranean Revival Style. The Gavit family commissioned architect George Washington Smith from 1921-1927 for additional landcape buildings and residence alterations in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style. His work included the water garden pool house and the form and pink color of the estate's distinctive walls.

The gardens were created over four decades by Madame Ganna Walska (1887-1984), an opera singer, who owned the property as a private residence from 1941 until her death in 1984. Assisting Madame over the years in landscape planning and garden design were: Peter Riedel, Ralph Stevens,[1] Lockwood DeForest, and Joseph Knowles among others.

The Gardens[edit]

Madame Ganna Walska's Lotusland estate gardens contain a various distinct and excellent gardens of exceptional design and artistic creativity with botanical and horticultural depth. The estate has a well regarded and large rare cycad collection garden, with stewardship of some species no longer in their native habitat.

The Blue Garden[edit]

Featuring plants with silvery to blue-gray foliage, including Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus libani var. atlantica 'Glauca'), Chilean wine palms (Jubaea chilensis), blue fescue (Festuca ovina var. glauca), Senecio mandraliscae, Mexican blue palm (Brahea armata), Queensland kauri (Agathis robusta), bunya-bunya (Araucaria bidwillii), hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) and two camphor trees (Cinnamomum camphora).

Bromeliads gardens[edit]

Bromeliad at Lotusland

Here bromeliads cover the ground between large coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia). Other notable plants include a branched pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelinii), Trithrinax brasiliensis palms and giant ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata).

The Butterfly gardens[edit]

Featuring varieties of flowering plants that support butterflies and other insects.

The Cactus Garden[edit]

Featuring a collection of columnar cacti begun in 1929 by Merritt Dunlap. Over 500 plants, representing about 300 different species of cacti in geographically organized groups. Notable specimens include species of Opuntia from the Galapagos Islands, Armatocereus from Peru and a complete collection of the genus Weberbauerocereus. Accent plants include Fouquieria columnaris (boojum tree), dry-growing bromeliads and several Agave species.

The Cacti and euphorbias gardens[edit]

Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricosum) at Lotusland

A collection of cacti and euphorbias, including a mass of golden barrel cacti (Echinocactus grusonii) and large, weeping Euphorbia ingens.

The Cycad Garden[edit]

Thought to be the most complete collection of cycads in any public garden in the United States, Lotusland has over 400 mature specimens of cycads, with ten of the eleven living genera and more than half of the known species represented.

The Fern gardens[edit]

Featuring many types of ferns, such as Australian Tree Ferns (Sphaeropteris cooperi) and giant staghorn ferns (Platycerium). Other shade-loving plants such as angel trumpet tree (Brugmansia), calla lily (Zantedeschia), clivia hybrids and a collection of Hawaiian Pritchardia palms are present.

The Japanese Garden[edit]

A small Shinto shrine surrounded by Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica), Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens cv. 'Santa Cruz'), a wisteria arbor, Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), camellias, azaleas and several species of pine pruned in the Niwaki style.

Orchards collections[edit]

The Parterre Garden[edit]

Formal planting beds and brick walkways with two central water features. Plantings include hedges, floribunda roses, and day lilies.

The Succulent gardens[edit]

A variety of succulents including Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei), Aeonium, Fouquieria, Kalanchoe, Echeveria, Haworthia, Yucca and Sansevieria.

The Topiary Garden[edit]

Agave victoriae-reginae at Lotusland

Featuring a topiary clock 25 feet (8 m) in diameter, bordered by Senecio mandraliscae; a boxwood maze; and a "zoo" of 26 topiary animals, including a camel, gorilla, giraffe and seal. Other frames are shaped as chess pieces and geometric shapes.

The Tropical gardens[edit]

Featuring orchid cacti (Epiphyllum), gingers (both Alpinia and Hedychium) and bananas both ornamental (Ensete) and edible (Musa).

The Water Garden[edit]

Dracaena draco at Lotusland

Includes several species and cultivars of Indian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and water lily (Nymphaea, Euryale, Nuphar, Victoria) and also bog gardens featuring taro (Colocasia esculenta), ornamental sugar cane (Saccharum cv.) and papyrus.

There are many other gardens, outdoor rooms, landscape elements, plant collections, and design features to explore on visits, in books, and online.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pioneer Profiles and Biographies. "Ralph Stevens (1882 - 1958)" The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Washington, D.C. USA

External links[edit]