Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Ever been to Lotusland in Santa Barbara?  I hadn't even heard of it but was intrigued when I was reading that hidden in an upscale residential neighborhood was a private garden with 37 acres of thousands of plants from around the world.  And that a visit would require a reservation plus a $35 entrance fee for a guided tour that was offered only twice a day.  Really? 

Lotus Flower
         It was worth it.  But, I wouldn't bring the kids for this two hour guided tour if I were you.

In a nutshell, the owner of the property was Madame Ganna Walska who was a beauty from Poland,  married six times always increasing her net worth as she went along.  She discovered a love of plants and became a collector of rare plants from around the world never satisfied with just one or two of a species but amassing a bundle.  I counted more than 16 separate gardens throughout the property.

                                                                       So, let's go!

                                       One was never enough for Madame Walska.

                                   Five hanging baskets of this succulent on this tree alone.

Pathways all over the estate are lined with this blue-green glass that she had shipped in by the truckload.  It is leftover glass from the Arrowhead Spring Water bottling company.  If Madame Walska liked something she bought it in abundance.

When we were kids, my sisters and I had a badminton set (net and all) and this plant above reminded me of the shuttlecock. Agree?

                                       This beautiful orange cone is from the cycad family.

   More of the "if one bromeliad is good, a hundred are even better" school of thought.  This is just a smidgen of bromeliads.

My sister and I debated the above pic for a bit.  Don't you think all these blooming cacti look like a pack of Meerkats?  Or the periscope in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

   When you live in Arizona, a cacti garden isn't so exciting.  But good for Madame Walska for showcasing the whole lot of them.  Hopefully they came from Arizona....

 I would have liked to tour her home, but no such luck.  It is now the administrative offices for Lotusland.

                               A  pretty succulent sun dial smack dab in the middle of the grounds.

                                                  This was my favorite water feature.

                                                                     Loads of lemons

I can't imagine anyone ever used this shallow pool because getting in and out would be impossible with the abalone shells guarding the entire edge.  Squint your eyes and note the giant clam shell fountains.

Well, that's the tour.  Hope you enjoyed yourself.

                                                 We thought Lotusland was worth a visit.


  1. What a delightful way to spend an afternoon, exploring a special garden. (You can never have too many bromeliads.)

  2. I love Lotusland and have been there many times. It is truly a treasure. My favorite part is the arbor covered with lemons. I am so happy you got a chance to visit!

  3. Mary: I love roaming around gardens. Thank heavens for people like Ganna Walska who are willing to invest their time and money to showcase and preserve rare plants.

    Sunday: Lucky you! I know if you are a sustaining member you can tour on your own without a guide. At this point, you could probably lead the tours yourself!

  4. Love your pictures!