Santa Barbara, California


The late Polish opera singer Madame Ganna Walska performed throughout Europe and the U.S., but for her final act, she bought a 37-acre estate in 1941 and named it Lotusland, after the sacred Indian lotus growing in one of the ponds. She spent her remaining 43 years transforming the site into a wonderful dramatic garden. She wished that, “. I might fulfill my work to develop Lotusland to its maximum capacity as the most outstanding center of horticultural significance and educational use.” Today volunteer docents lead visitors on two-hour walking tours of the 17 extraordinary gardens, including Madame Walska’s final creation (she auctioned off some of her jewelry to finish it): the Cycad Garden. Tours are offered 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM, Wednesday through Saturday, between mid-February and mid-November. Because Lotusland is a public garden operating in a private, residential neighborhood, advance reservations are required. Phone: 805-969-9990.Photo: Topiary garden [Info]

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