What: Exceptional Plants — Lotusland Auction and Sale
When: Saturday, Sept. 21
Where: Ganna Walska Lotusland, 695 Ashley Road, Montecito
The idyllic Ganna Walska Lotusland in Montecito hosted its second annual plant auction event on a brilliant Saturday afternoon. Given Lotusland’s extraordinary plant collection, it's fitting that this signature plant sale featured rare, unusual and very special plants. Some offerings were from Lotusland’s own collection and others were contributed by generous sponsors, such as Cal Orchid, San Marcos Growers, Por La Mar Nursery, Cold Spring Aloes, Santa Barbara Koi, Botanical Partners, Eye of the Day Garden Design Center, Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, Botanic Wonders, Terra Sol Garden Center, Huntington Botanical Garden and many others. Other sponsors included Dan Bifano, George and Kristy Kolva, John and Connie Pearcy, and Kellogg Garden Products.
Lotusland is Montecito’s much-loved garden, and neighbors as well as community residents always come to support events that help continue the organization’s mission to preserve and enhance this 37-acre botanical wonder.
Nearly 200 guests gathered on the main lawn on the autumn equinox to view silent auction offerings, which were mostly unique plants, books and planters, along with enjoying hors d’oeuvres, wine and cocktails, and handmade, gourmet toasted cheese sandwiches — grilled right on the spot.
Spotted in the crowd were Bob and Christine Emmons, Executive Director Gwen Stauffer, Anne Dewey, curator Virginia Hayes, Felicity Larmour, John Bleck, Crystal and Cliff Wyatt, Dave Lombardi, Lauris and James Rose, Mike Tully, Randy Jaffe, Patricia Aoyama, Karen Lehrer and Linda Cheresh.
Jeff Chemnick did double duty as event committee chair and auctioneer.
“This year’s action items are even more wonderful than last year,” he enthused.
Chemnick not only knew the botanical name of each of 15 live auction rare species, he graciously handled the bids of some of the area’s most knowledgeable plant and garden design experts. One live auction item was a famous but rare "corpse flower" (another amorphophallus titanium bloomed at UCSB this summer and caused quite a sensation) — a 10-year-old plant that is greenhouse only.
Chemnick was assisted by committee members, including Staffer, Virginia Hayes, Mike Iven, Felicity Larmour, Paul Mills, Courtney Tentler, Kitty Thomassin, Mike Tuller, Leland Walmsley and more than 20 volunteers. Montecito Bank & Trust provided the cashiers. All proceeds from the sale supported the ongoing, critical care of Lotusland’s plant collections.
Ganna Walska Lotusland began in 1882 with the plantings of nurseryman Ralph Kinton Stevens. Some of the garden’s oldest plant specimens, some of them rare and all spectacular, are attributed to Stevens’ passion of gathering species from around the world.
Ganna Walska became equally obsessed with plants when she moved to the Montecito estate. A collector by nature, she gave up her previous collecting interests to amass a huge diversity of plant species for her unique garden. Ultimately, the garden proved to provide a safe haven and an important scientific repository for many plant species that have become very rare due to the loss of wild populations in the past few decades.
Click here for more information on Lotusland, or call 805.969.9990.