It is hard to imagine a more idyllic setting than the tiny seaside village of Montecito. One of the nation’s wealthiest communities, it communicates its grandeur with understated elegance and sublime sophistication.
Unlike most places, Montecito is spread out over large parcels, creating privacy and gardens that are unimaginable to most. Integrated with the world-renowned Ganna Walska Lotusland and the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, the enormous diversity of exotic plants makes Montecito’s landscape unparalleled.
Lotusland is a globally renowned (and locally treasured) 37-acre estate and botanic garden situated in the foothills of Montecito, California. It is home to more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. The estate gardens were created by Madame Ganna Walska, who owned the property from 1941 until her death in 1984. The fascinating life and career of Madame Ganna Walska culminated with 43 years of designing unusual display gardens with exotic plants. In her writings, she described herself as “an enemy of the average” – truly a woman of unique accomplishments, philosophies, and imagination. Lotusland is home to several extraordinary collections including rare cycads, cacti, palms, and euphorbias. Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, lotuses, water lilies, bromeliads and cactus garden with more than 300 species.
santa barbara botanic garden
"With sweeping views to the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and stunning landscapes, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a great place to explore California's native plant diversity. The Garden's 78 acres encompass a variety of cultivated displays, as well as stands of the natural coast, live oak, and riparian woodlands.
With over 1,000 different taxa of plants on display there is always something new to experience. Stroll the 5.5 miles of paths and discover featured areas within the Garden: the historic Mission Dam and aqueduct built in 1807 to supply water to the Santa Barbara Mission, an authentic Japanese Teahouse and Tea Garden, and the spectacular views along the Porter Trail. Experience the quiet cool of the Redwood grove on a hot summer’s day or the knockout punch of the Meadow wildflowers in full bloom in spring."
adapted from http://www.sbbg.org/explore-garden
Solana is home to an impressive collection of zoetic gardens. A visual feast, Solana's landscape comes alive through vivid colors, detailed manicuring, wild footprints, unexpected specimens and above all else, a skillfully layered design plan. Her gardens, quixotic and Edenic, provide ceaseless cycles of transformation and an evolving stage for the theatrics of seasons.
Curated as a collection of planning to delight all five senses, Solana’s gardens offer incredible range and depth. Extending from local to the exotic, the varietals delight, surprise and comfort all who experience their beauty.
Whether you prefer to experience the day's first blush in crisp winter air or a late night summer stroll in the moonlight, Solana's magical gardens, a botanical battalion, unfold with delight. The following pages highlight a sampling of the many plantings that call Solana home.
The enchanting 5.5-acre grounds inspire adventurers of all ages. Vast verdant lawns, enhanced by private water, beg for croquet and games of tag. Descend the softly rolling lawns to discover a hidden sanctuary, perfect for languid afternoon naps or meditation. Meander further still to come across a wooden bridge, chaperoning the sounds from the creek underfoot. Princes and princesses will have fun storming the castle in a magical zone amongst the forest replete with forts, towers, moats, and dragons. Whether you are in your fifth summer or fifty-fifth, there are sights, sounds, and surprises around every corner of the grounds.
The north patio provides a serene mountain view and overlooks the gardens, designed by the renowned San Ysidro Ranch landscape architect Laurie Lewis, giving a wonderful sense of arrival as you enter the home.