Sunday, June 19, 2011
I recently flew down to San Bernadino, California to get Matt, my fiance, and bring him home! After 16 months of working away Matt finally gets to come home. So to celebrate we decided to drive the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoy some sights along the way. Matt set up an amazing surprise for me our first day on the road. I got no clues except, "think of one of your hobbies and blow it way out to the extreme". Well, that was a tricky clue. What was it? On our first day on the PCH we hit Santa Barbara, CA. He scheduled us a tour of Lotus Land. I was floored!
Lotus Land is a huge garden maintained on a 37-acre estate and includes everything from ferns to cactus to palms. They have incredibly rare plants. One palm we saw was the last of its species on the planet!! They nicknamed them, "The Bachelors" because Madame Ganna Walska (the woman who cultivated this amazing collection starting back in 1941) had three male plants put in her garden and now they are the only ones left. In the world! The garden was a complete wonderland filled with gorgeous flowers, trees, baby animals, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Lotus Land was a huge inspiration for me and I hope for any fellow gardeners it will be for you too. I immediately wanted to get home and garden! To spark your interest I have included about a million pictures for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy, I sure did. I have the best man on the planet, this was the perfect surprise. Not all the flowers are labeled name-wise. Another thing about Madame, she hated signs and a lot of these plants were new to me, but I did my best.
Me & Matt in the lemon groves
A grove of olive trees
Buddha in the Japanese Garden
One great thing about Madame's plan for the gardens was her eccentric need for shocking change. We walked from that lush, water-filled Japanese Garden straight in to an Aloe Garden. Dry and arid it was full of every type of aloe. Such a change but it made you so much more appreciative of the climates and available variety on this amazing planet. Madame was quite the collector.
A peek at the Aloe Garden
The Lotus Pond
Hydrangeas. My fav, I know they're typical (and recently I learned symbolizes frigidity) but I love them
The single lotus bloom of June
Catcus; isn't it amazing the beauty and the thorns?
Gorgeous black succulents (they were the size of dinner plates)
A Dragon Tree (the sap used to be used to dye the wood of violins that red color)
How funny, huh?
A peek at the Butterfly Garden
The Cactus Garden
The blooms on the cacti are the most beautiful
The Topiary Garden
One of the owners of the home prior to Madame installed these gorgeous irrigation runs all throughout the estate. All were tiled beautifully and were Matt's favorite part of the gardens.
An irrigation run and fountain at the far end
The Succulent Garden
An update on my garden soon. Nothing died while I was gone (yay for cloudy/rainy Seattle) and in fact, my zucchini sprouted a strong, thick looking sprout. Pics soon.