Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Water, at Lotusland

When we visited Southern California in late November I had the opportunity to visit Lotusland in Montecito, CA. This was my 4th visit, the last time I'd been was spring of 2019, during the Bromeliad Summit, when we had all day access in between seminars. This time I had only 2 hours to see what I wanted to see, that required a plan...

So, I decided to take a different route into the garden. Instead of walking the wide lane lined with Agave attenuata, I tucked into a almost hidden entrance off the parking lot. 
It took me past the Japanese Garden, but I didn't stop.

This was where I wanted to start my visit, at the water stairs. 

I've missed this part of the garden on all but one of my visits.  

By starting here I was going to see what I wanted in reverse of my "usual" path, a great way to see with new eyes.

At the top of the stairs is this ornamental carved limestone wellhead.

Beyond that, the cypress allée looking to the water garden...

The water garden was once a rectangular swimming pool bordered by two waterlily ponds. Now it's all for the plants.

Looking to the right you can see Madame Ganna Walska's home in the distance.

I turned back to walk the other side of the pond—which was missing most of it's signature lotus plants, perhaps they'd already been removed for the season.

Such a fantastic papyrus explosion.

The way these two paths line up, I've always wanted to walk across the water, it's only 3 ft deep. Doing so would probably get me kicked out of the garden though (and very very wet).

A parting glance at this pool/pond...

Before we move on to the aloe pond...

Whenever I'm in Southern California I hope for sunshine, but the cloudy sky certainly made for better photos than I've gotten at Lotusland in the past.

In case you're amazed I'm not stopping to talk about the plants, well don't worry. There will be future posts. I'm just focusing on the ponds, pools, fountains, and waterways in today's post.

Perhaps I'm cheating a bit by including this tile fountain, since the water had been drained. But you know what? My blog, my rules...

What are you looking at?

This body of water really is a swimming pool, with a giant-clamshell beach.

The Neptune fountain, with it's pair of mermen.

And the rill...

Starting at this eight-ray Moorish star.

The rooster grotto in the bromeliad garden includes a hidden pond.

I missed the small pond in the cycad garden, and a few other fountains, but with only 2 hours it was impossible to see it all.

My visit wrapped up at the visitors center/gift shop. I did buy a couple of plants, a long wrapping tillandsia (it showed up in my mantel post), a Microgramma vacciniifolia, and a tiny cactus whose name I cannot remember but it's very cute. 

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  1. You've visited Lotusland more times than I have! And I don't recall seeing the water stairs. They used to require docent-led tours, which I found limiting, but it sounds like you had free rein to go wherever you liked. This is a great post and I look forward to seeing more.

    1. If you are a member you can wander on your own!

  2. So happy to see these photos,it’s been so many years since I’ve been there

  3. Is it fascinating how traveling the same path in reverse give a whole different perspective. It's almost shocking really, all the things that appear to be brand new when looked at from the opposite direction.
    Passing through the weeping conifers (Weeping Alaskan cedar?) in photo 2 is magical and mysterious to me. I also loved the massive grove of mature palm trees: gorgeous!
    In the last few posts I noticed you are playing with different styles of photo framing and text. I you finding you have a favorite so far?

    1. I try to remember to turn around as I'm walking a pathway, but it's just not the same as walking it in the other direction! Anon below said maybe the weeping trees are Cupressus cashmeriana and I think that looks right?

      As for my photo/text layout styles I did Monday's post with photo captions because I wanted to tell a story within a story. There was the narrative of the storm, but also of the plant protection, etc. With this post I'm back to my normal style. I find the captions to be rather annoying and only use them in a rare event. What are your thoughts?

    2. I agree. I prefer your normal style of narration.

  4. I wondered if those weeping conifers might be Cupressus cashmeriana?

  5. Oh! This is ridiculously fabulous! I'm kicking myself for not visiting when I've been down to Santa Barbara. The Cupressus cashmeriana is just luxurious.

    1. There's always next time.... (reservations required)

  6. I briefly considered the three hour (1 way without traffic) to Lotusland last week when I was in Temecula, but ended up staying at my conference because it was too valuable to leave. I saw that Lotusland was temporarily closed for the season anyway. I never schedule enough buffer time around the edges of work conferences to go see something new. I always seem to have something that I want to get back to ASAP.

    1. I am so glad you didn't drive up and then discover they were closed! They do close every winter. But you should definitely plan to return!

  7. The picture of the two paths on either side of the water, and your desire to cross it, made me think of something from when I was younger. I grew up on a lake and I wanted to get married ON the water. Not in a boat. "Like Jesus" was what I had said at the time, hahaha. I had devised a whole plan of using a glass table just below the surface to stand on... Years later I got married on an ocean beach, with the waves and the tide it just made more sense haha.

    1. Oh my gosh! That's a great memory, and a reasonable compromise.


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