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Friday, February 27, 2009

Lotusland Santa Barbara

Fern Garden at Lotusland, Santa Barbara

Madame Ganna Walska was an eccentric polish opera starlet with a penchant for marrying rich (an apparently repeatedly), taking morning swims in the nude, and a fascination with the occult and the bizarre. Needless to say she sounds like an awesome old bird and I wish I could have attended one of her famed seannce soirees back in the day. She founded the vast estate now-known as "Lotusland" in 1941 and used the grounds, her money and her connections to create a lush fantasy land of gardens.

The grounds feature 17 themed gardens over 37 acres and house some rare and fantastical plants - inclouding the last known pair of "bachelor" primordial trees in existence in the Cycad garden.

My favorite of the gardens is of course the fern garden- a whimsical arrangement of ferns, mosses and mushrooms.

However the namesake garden on the property is the lotus garden- planted in an old swimming pool. I have never been lucky enough to catch the loti(?) in bloom. However I will be doing a tour of the garden in March so maybe this time around....

I promise to take lots of photos!

Lotusland Santa Barbara


  1. Never heard of this place before - how fascinating. She sounds formidable!

  2. Absolutely- I hope to find a book more about her life when I visit later this month. Maybe it'll have some photos to scan!

  3. I never did either, very tranquil and the large tree fern is just stunning.


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