Tag archives: gardens

Ganna Walska Lotusland
By Lynda Millner   |   April 12, 2022

Ganna Walska Lotusland held its annual meeting in a different place this year: Instead of being indoors, we were in the Theatre Garden enjoying the beauty and then unto the lawn for a picnic lunch. Board president Lesley Cunningham welcomed all. Thanks were given to departing Trustees Suzanne Mathews and Alexandra Morse and welcome to […]

Turning Love of Westmont into a Field of Dreams
By Scott Craig   |   February 1, 2022

For more than half a century, the hulking figure of Phil Baker ’71 has traversed Westmont’s campus. As the longtime grounds manager with a familiar goatee and wide mustache, he has created breathtaking gardens and stunning athletic fields. He quietly retired last summer, preferring a tri-tip luncheon with a few dozen co-workers and family at […]

Preserving a Piece of Montecito History
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 27, 2022

Laura Bridley comes by her affinity for Casa del Herrero honestly. A native of Montecito, Bridley has a lot of memories of connection with the land and structures in the community that channeled into a career in city planning that has included positions with the Architectural Board of Review, the Historic Landmarks Commission, the City […]

Building Love at Lotusland
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 14, 2021

Anyone who’s visited Lotusland over the past quarter-century knows that the gorgeous botanical garden in the Montecito foothills boasts 37 acres of natural wonder that encompass more than 20 distinct gardens and exhibitions. Most folks who have walked the grounds are aware of how Lotusland remains a personal expression of its former owner, the opera […]

Petal to the Metal
By Lynda Millner   |   September 7, 2021

Lotusland’s fabulous summer soirée was dazzling as usual, this time mixing motors (cars) with Ganna Walska plants. As quoted by the Los Angeles Times, “For Walska, plants were more than plants; they were colors to paint with, a family to nurture, characters to direct.” The 30 cars were all privately owned and all Italian, who […]

In Praise of Plants
By Alida Aldrich   |   August 12, 2021

It’s time to pull out the picnic basket, slip into your favorite pair of shorts, roll down the windows of the car, and head out for the beach, the park, or a mountain hike (speaking of which, the generous volunteers at the Montecito Trails Foundation publish a detailed map of our local mountain trails). This […]

The Rites of Spring
By Alida Aldrich   |   March 25, 2021

Spring seems to be everyone’s favorite season. Temperatures start to rise, Daylight Saving Time begins, and the Vernal Equinox (March 21) brings us more natural Vitamin D. Wildlife keeps its watchful eyes on newborns; leaves appear on deciduous trees, absorbing the carbon dioxide; and flowers and bulbs start to bloom everywhere! If you don’t already […]

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
By Steven Libowitz   |   February 4, 2021

Just like nearly every place in town, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden closed for two months during the first phase of the stay-at-home orders designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. But then the county decided that the Garden was an essential service.  Which, to anyone who has ever visited the 78-acre site that blends […]

In Appreciation of Winter
By Alida Aldrich   |   January 21, 2021

Ahhhh… winter has arrived (December 21). More time for bundling up, hot soups, warm fires, and lit candles. Winter in Santa Barbara brings on crystal clear days and nights. It’s as if you could touch Santa Cruz Island. And the stargazing in winter is outstanding – look for Orion’s Belt in the S/W sky. Last […]

The Cure for Nature Deficit Disorder
By Alida Aldrich   |   October 1, 2020

An award-winning, published landscape designer, with over two decades of experience, Alida is well known for designing new gardens, as well as restoring landmark gardens throughout Montecito and Santa Barbara. In the spring of 2021, Alida will be teaching a class in The Principals of Landscape Design through Santa Barbara City College. Between masks, fires, […]

Casa del Herrero to Reopen Next Week
By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   September 3, 2020

Montecito’s Casa del Herrero will reopen to the general public next Wednesday, September 9. Closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Casa is ready to safely welcome tour guests back to the estate. While indoor spaces remain closed, guests will now engage in a reimagined self-guided garden tour. “The Casa’s original owner, George […]

Droughts, Conflagration, Pandemic. What’s a Garden Lover to Do?
By Eileen Read   |   June 25, 2020

The answer this season in Montecito clearly is, “Don’t give up, dig in.” With winter’s rains nurturing a robust planting season, home gardeners, garden designers, and professionals have been eagerly cultivating throughout spring and into summer. Sheltering-in-place during COVID has only accelerated this trend. Drive around any corner, you’ll see raised beds or garden walls […]

Casa Docent Christmas Celebration
By Lynda Millner   |   January 9, 2020

Casa del Herrero (House of the Blacksmith) is a National Historic Landmark in Montecito near upper village. George and Carrie Steedman came to Santa Barbara in the early ‘20s from St. Louis with George’s brother. His brother was diabetic and needed insulin. The only place in the whole United States to get it at that […]

Ganna Walska Lotusland CEO Retires
By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   December 26, 2019

Gwen Stauffer’s eleven-year stewardship of Lotusland will be remembered by many achievements, most recently the completion of Lotusland’s Japanese Garden renovation. Lotusland’s Board of Trustees has named Rebecca Anderson, currently the Garden’s Director of Philanthropy, as Lotusland’s Interim Executive Director. “We are all very excited to have Rebecca help lead the organization moving forward,” said […]

Memoirs Of A Garden
By Lynda Millner   |   August 8, 2019

“Lotusland was created by Polish opera singer Madame Ganna Walska, and visitors should prepare themselves for the ultimate theatrical garden experience. Perhaps only in the climate and culture of Southern California could such a creation have been conceived and accepted, a fantasy of remarkable set-pieces of design and planting quite unlike any other garden.” The […]

Feria Andalusia
By Lynda Millner   |   June 20, 2019

After seven years of living in Spain and going to many ferias, this one was a little different – no horses but lots of art. The board of trustees at Casa del Herrero held an Art Show and Garden Fair at the Casa. This year’s event was a celebration of creativity and preservation of the […]

Japanese Garden Complete
By Richard Mineards   |   June 20, 2019

Lotusland, the late opera singer Ganna Walska’s 37-acre botanical paradise, has just completed the biggest project in its history with the $6 million two and a half year renovation of the one and a half acre Japanese Garden. The massive project, designed in conjunction with Lotusland CEO Gwen Stauffer, Derrik Eichelberger of Arcadia Studio, and […]

Alum Promotes Creation Care on Campus
By Scott Craig   |   February 7, 2019

Westmont alumnus Kenny Chism ’17, who oversees a variety of on-campus environmental projects, has become the first, fulltime sustainability coordinator at Westmont. In this pilot role, Chism will manage Westmont’s organic gardens and oversee Dining Commons-related sustainability projects (food waste, composting, local purchasing, etc.) through a partnership with Sodexo, which is contracted by Westmont’s dining […]

Lotusland Announces Opening of Japanese Garden
By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   January 18, 2019

After over two years of extensive renovations, Lotusland has announced the opening of its Japanese Garden, which was originally created in the 1960s and is the only remaining post-World War II Japanese Garden that is open to the public on the central coast between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.  Construction began in February 2017, […]

Trails ‘N’ Tails
By Lynda Millner   |   August 30, 2018

It was the best canine party of the season, according to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG). Dogs on a leash are always welcome, but this day if you brought your dog, it could treat you by getting you in free. My daughter in the Escondido, San Diego area, wants to commend Santa Barbara for […]