Ganna Walska Lotusland
Cold Springs Road
Santa Barbara, CA  93108

(805) 969-3767
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Year Founded:
    1941
Description:
   Ganna Walska Lotusland is a 37-acre botanical estate garden in Montecito, California, just east of Santa Barbara. Lotusland contains subtropical and tropical plants from around the world and is home to several extraordinary collections including rare cycads, cacti, palms and euphorbia.
    Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, succulents, lotuses, water lilies, bromeliads and our newest addition, the cactus garden. Theme gardens include the blue garden, theatre garden, butterfly garden and a Japanese garden. Other classic features of Lotusland are the topiary garden, a horticultural clock, the Neptune fountain, a parterre and hedged allées.
    In 1941 Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the estate and named it Lotusland. She spent the next 43 years of her life designing unusual display gardens with exotic plants. In creating the Lotusland gardens, the artistic Madame Walska experimented freely with bold forms and unusual color combinations. She concentrated on serene, traditional vistas with daring theatrical displays. A series of gardens draws the visitor from surprise to surprise, through a delightful labyrinth of landscape adventures. Because of her insistence upon superior design and her enthusiasm for rare specimens, Madame Walska has endowed Santa Barbara with an unrivaled botanical treasure.
    After Madame Walska’s death in 1984, Lotusland became a nonprofit educational institution. In her will leaving the estate to the Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation, Mme. Walska stated her desire “to develop Lotusland to its maximum capacity into the most outstanding center of horticultural significance and of educational use.” Lotusland opened to the public in 1993. As described in Ganna Walska Lotusland: The Garden and its Creators by Sharon Crawford, “Environmental responsibility is valued at Lotusland, not only as appropriate for this garden, but also as a model for others. As exemplary stewards of the environment, the staff has adopted pesticide-free and sustainable techniques, maintaining plant health by organic methods. The soil is improved by utilizing compost and mulch derived from green waste. Beneficial insects, fostered in insectaries, are released to devour harmful insects, and weeds are eliminated with old-fashioned manual techniques. With these methods, excessive fertilization and the use of toxic products can be avoided, benefiting both the garden and its visitors.” Docent-guided tours are offered at 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM, Wednesday through Saturday between mid-February and mid-November. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling the Visitor Services office at 969-9990. Directions to the visitor entrance on Cold Springs Road in Montecito will be provided. All reservations include on-site parking.


Business Hours:
    10 AM & 1:30 PM, Wed. - Sat., (between mid-February & mid-November).
Location Type:
    Estate / Historic Home
Payment Accepted:
    Cash,   Check,   Amex,   MasterCard,   Visa,  
Languages Spoken:
    English,  
Admission Pricing:
    Adults, $35; Ages 5-18, $10, Children under 5 - Free.
General Business Classification:
    Museums, Historic Sites, Attractions
    Categories:
    Botanic Garden
    Estate / Historic Home
    Museums/Attractions/Historic
    Nature Center

Legal Entity:
    Foundation - Operating
Average Visit:
    2 hours
Parking On-Site?
    Yes  
Guided Tours?
    By Appointment Only
Classes Offered?
    Yes.

www.lotusland.org
 Recent Buzzes!!
5/8/14 - Don't miss this fun event! Cacti and Cocktails -- May 17 at Lotusland
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Take advantage of this opportunity to see Lotusland’s gorgeous cactus garden and to enjoy the magnificent epiphyllum and cacti blooms in the late afternoon light. Guests will have time to see other Lotusland gardens as well. There will be music throughout the event, and specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. A PowerPoint display of the construction of the cactus garden, completed in 2003, will run continuously in the sunken drawing room of the main house.
The cost is $60 for Lotusland members and $70 for non-members. To register, send an email to reservation@lotusland.org or call 805-969-9990. A confirmation and directions to the Visitor Entrance will be provided on receipt of your reservation.
Lotusland is a 37-acre botanical estate garden in Montecito that contains subtropical and tropical plants from around the world and is home to several extraordinary collections including rare cycads, cacti, palms and euphorbias. Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, succulents, lotuses, water lilies and bromeliads. Themed gardens include the blue garden, theatre garden, butterfly garden and a Japanese garden. Other classic features of Lotusland are the topiary garden, a horticultural clock, the Neptune fountain, a parterre, hedged allées and our refurbished water stairs and cypress allée.
Presented by ... Ganna Walska Lotusland
Venue ... Ganna Walska Lotusland  Website
3/25/14 - Enemy of the Average -- though May 17th at Lotusland
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Lotusland proudly presents “Enemy of the Average”, a multi-media installation showcasing Madame Walska’s unique persona and the results of her indefatigable drive and tenacious nature. This extraordinary exhibition opens Saturday, March 1. Archival photographs, film footage, recordings and personal belongings will be on display in the Lotusland Pavilion gallery, providing an opportunity to learn more about the accomplishments of this remarkable diva who has captivated the world.
In her autobiography, “Always Room at the Top,” Madame Ganna Walska proclaims herself to be an “enemy of the average.” To celebrate her formidable (and often eccentric) energy, Lotusland has created an homage of music, photography, couture, memorabilia and never before made public collections from her personal life. Ganna Walska continually pushed herself beyond contemporary limits, never willing to accept the status quo.
Admission is free for members and $45 for nonmembers. Reservations are required – call 805-969-9990. The “Enemy of the Average” exhibition is part of the regular Lotusland docent led tours at 10 AM and 1:30 AM, Wednesday through Saturday through May 17, 2014. As always, Lotusland Members visit for free with a reservation.
Presented by ... Ganna Walska Lotusland
Venue ... Ganna Walska Lotusland  Website
1/7/14 - Lotusland - Reception for Prospective Docents --1/13
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Lotusland - Reception for Prospective Docents. Join us at our coffee reception on Monday, January 13 at 9:30 AM
Being a Lotusland docent is a perfect volunteer opportunity for men and women who enjoy plants and spending time in one of the world’s top 10 botanical gardens - in the heart of Montecito.
Contact Kitty Thomassin at kthomassin@lotusland.org Call 805.969.3767, extension 112
Beginning February 3, Lotusland will offer a 14 week docent training course. The informative and enjoyable Monday sessions last from 9:30 AM to noon. Please call us to learn more about volunteering at Lotusland.
Presented by ... Ganna Walska Lotusland
Venue ... Ganna Walska Lotusland  Email   Website
7/26/13 - Sunday ..... Lotusland Celebrates: Romancing The Garden
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Lotusland's annual fundraising gala is the hottest ticket of the Summer! Sponsorship opportunities are available now and the best way to guarantee your presence at Romancing the Garden. Contact Courtney Tentler at 805-969-3767 x116 or ctentler@lotusland.org to reserve your space or for more information.
Individual tickets ($300) will be available beginning July 15 as space permits.
Presented by ... Ganna Walska Lotusland
Venue ... Ganna Walska Lotusland  Website
7/12/13 - Don't miss this fabulous event .... LotusFest .... Tomorrow, Saturday July 13th
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To celebrate the legendary flower that is Lotusland’s namesake, come to “LotusFest!”. The afternoon will include wine tasting with some of Santa Barbara County’s premier vintners, delectable hors d’oeuvres, entertainment by “The Undecided Trio”, an Ikebana (the art of Japanese flower arranging) workshop and lotus lore galore.
July is peak lotus blooming season. LotusFest provides the perfect opportunity to view these uniquely beautiful flowers while enjoying a relaxing afternoon at this casual, fun event. There will be plenty of time to see other areas of Lotusland, a spectacular 37-acre estate garden in Montecito.
The cost is $85 for Lotusland members and $95 for non-members. To register call 805-969-9990 or send an email to reservation@lotusland.org. A confirmation and directions to Lotusland’s Visitor Entrance will be mailed upon receipt of your reservation.
Presented by ... Ganna Walska Lotusland
Venue ... Ganna Walska Lotusland  Website
4/12/13 - Save the Date! -- Cacti and Cocktails -- May 4 at Lotusland
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Take advantage of this opportunity to see Lotusland’s gorgeous cactus garden and to enjoy the magnificent epiphyllum and cacti blooms in the late afternoon light at “Cacti and Cocktails” from 3:00 to 6:00 PM on Saturday, May 4.
Guests will have time to see other Lotusland gardens as well. There will be music throughout the event, and specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. A PowerPoint display of the construction of the cactus garden, completed in 2003, will run continuously in the sunken drawing room of the main house.
The cost is $55 for Lotusland members and $65 for non-members. To register, send an email to reservation@lotusland.org or call 805-969-9990. A confirmation and directions to the Visitor Entrance will be provided on receipt of your reservation.
Lotusland is a 37-acre botanical estate garden in Montecito that contains subtropical and tropical plants from around the world and is home to several extraordinary collections including rare cycads, cacti, palms and euphorbias. Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, succulents, lotuses, water lilies and bromeliads. Themed gardens include the blue garden, theatre garden, butterfly garden and a Japanese garden. Other classic features of Lotusland are the topiary garden, a horticultural clock, the Neptune fountain, a parterre, hedged allées and our refurbished water stairs and cypress allée.
Venue: Ganna Walska Lotusland.  Website
3/4/13 - Save the Date! -- Vanishing of the Bees -- film + Q&A -- March 21 at Lotusland
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A screening of Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Ellen Page, is planned for 3:00 PM on Thursday, March 21. A Q&A with co-directors Maryam Henein and George Langworthy will follow the screening. This event is in conjunction with “Swarm: A Collaboration with Bees” a provocative exhibition of artistic interpretation of bees and hive culture on view in Lotusland’s Pavilion. After the program, refreshments will be served and guests will have the opportunity to see the entire exhibition.
Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing many of our fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.
Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capitol Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.
Filming across the United States and in Europe, Australia and Asia, this 90-minute documentary film examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting opinions abound, and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.
Admission is $40 for Lotusland members and $50 for nonmembers. Advance reservations are required and may be made by calling 805-969-9990. Directions to Lotusland will be provided upon receipt of reservations. Visit www.lotusland.org for more information about Lotusland and “Swarm: A Collaboration with Bees.”
Venue: Ganna Walska Lotusland.  Email   Website
2/14/13 - Save the Date! -- Salon at Lotusland -- March 9
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In this salon with scanning electron microscope photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher and video installation artists Ethan Turpin & Jonathan PJ Smith, they will discuss their contributions to “Swarm: A Collaboration with Bees,” a provocative display of artistic interpretations of bees and hive culture on view in an exhibition in Lotusland’s historic Pavilion. Refreshments will be served after the Salon and guests will have the opportunity to see the entire exhibition.
Los Angeles based photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher takes highly magnified black and white photos of bees and bee parts through a scanning electron microscope. Several of her stunning photographs are part of “Swarm: A Collaboration with Bees.” Her book of photographs “Bee” was named one of Discover Magazine's Best Science Art Books of 2012. Autographed copies of the book will be available for purchase at the Salon.
Collaborators Ethan Turpin and Jonathan PJ Smith created “Bee Cell”, a hexagonal room with two doors, for “Swarm: A Collaboration with Bees.” Projections of oversized bees at their hive cover translucent panels within each of the six sides. Inside, the projections become bold and immersive. Above, a mirror gives the illusion of extended space, which incorporates the viewer’s image into the hive structure as speakers play the sound of the bee colony. Ethan Turpin uses cameras, optics, and found materials in his work. His creative practice spans across old and new media to experiment with visual and societal perception. Jonathan PJ Smith’s large scale installations involve combinations of light, sound, and video projection within constructed environments.
Admission is $40 for members and $50 for nonmembers. Advance reservations are required and may be made by calling 805-969-9990. Directions to Lotusland will be provided upon receipt of reservations. Visit www.lotusland.org for more information.
Venue: Ganna Walska Lotusland.  Website
1/31/13 - Save the Date! -- A Salon with Lotusland Artist-in-Residence, Penelope Stewart -- February 23
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Toronto-based artist Penelope Stewart will talk about her work and what inspires it and will give a PowerPoint presentation about how she created the mind-boggling bas relief beeswax tile installation for “Swarm: A Collaboration with Bees”. The Salon includes a tour of the entire exhibition, in the Pavilion. A reception follows.
Ms. Stewart is known for her large sensory beeswax architectures and while in residence is creating new architecture inspired by plants at Lotusland. According to Ms. Stewart “This new beeswax architecture with its fragrant wax and dynamic interpretation aims to invigorate our collective imagination of place, and our relation with pollinators. Further it will facilitate unique combinations of art and architecture, social action and individual expression.”
Ms. Stewart received her BFA from York University in Toronto, Ontario, and her MFA from SUNY in Buffalo, New York. The recipient of many awards and grants, she has shown her work internationally in numerous solo exhibitions and large installations, as well as in group exhibitions.
Admission is $45 for members and $55 for nonmembers. Advance reservations are required and may be made by calling 805-969-9990.
Venue: Ganna Walska Lotusland.  Email   Website
10/11/12 - Next Tuesday -- Historic Landscape Estates of Santa Barbara
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“Historic Landscape Estates of Santa Barbara: A Reproduction of Elizabeth de Forest’s Illustrated Lecture to the Garden Club of America” is the title of a performance by landscape architect Sydney Baumgartner. Ms. Baumgartner’s performance, in Elizabeth’s ‘uniform’ of cashmere sweater, pearls, and denim jacket and in character, will cover prominent historic gardens, many of which no longer exist or are now divided into smaller estates, and discuss why Santa Barbara has long been considered a destination for garden-lovers.
Landscape architect Elizabeth de Forest was Ms. Baumgartner’s mentor, as well as her aunt by marriage.
The cost is $25 for Lotusland members and $35 for non-members. To register, please call 805-969-9990. A confirmation and directions to Lotusland’s visitor entrance will be provided on receipt of your reservation. Visit our website at www.lotusland.org.
Venue: Ganna Walska Lotusland (Directions provided upon reservation).  Website
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