Pixel Tracker

Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 7:47 pm | Fog/Mist 58º

 
 
 

Lotusland Reopens with Cypress Allée

The estate's newly restored water stairs garden and cypress allée will be a new experience for most visitors.

Lotusland has opened for the season and visitors will have the chance to explore the newly restored Water Stairs Garden, open to the public for the first time.

Many visitors to Lotusland today may not be aware that there was once a cypress-lined allée with a flowing water staircase and wishing well that connected to the famed water garden and bathhouse on one end, and to the Japanese garden on the other end. Thanks to the generosity of several foundations and individuals, Lotusland recently met its long-held goal to re-create a cypress allée. For the first time since Lotusland opened to the public in 1993, water is again flowing from the charming wishing well over the water stairs, adding yet another beautiful garden to the unique collection.

During the 1920s, the Gavit family owned what is today Lotusland, and it was during this “Gavit era” that Mrs. E. Palmer Gavit, with the help of the influential Santa Barbara landscape architect Peter Riedel, designed this formal water stairs feature for the estate. The design consisted of a long brick walkway extending south from the swimming pool and culminating at an ornamental carved limestone wellhead. Extending at a right angle toward the east from the “wishing well,” a series of 14 basins created a water stairway that, when it was installed, spilled into the large pond. This pond, originally a reservoir for irrigation in the late 1800s and now the central feature of Madame Ganna Walska’s Japanese-style garden, had become a pleasure pond, complete with sailboat, for the Gavit family.

When the Ganna Walska Foundation took charge of Lotusland in 1986, only the hardscape, paths, wellhead and water stair basins remained in this area, although archival images show the cypress allée existing well into Walska’s tenure in the garden. The restoration project included refurbishing the pathways, the water stairs and the wellhead. The restoration also included replicating the original brick allée and cypress hedges.

Both the cypress-lined allée and the use of water in clever ways are elements of many well-known Italian gardens dating back to the 1500s. Several of them used water in stepwise fashion including the balustrades of flowing water at the Villa d’Este in Tivioli and the water staircase at Villa Cicogna, Mozzoni. Lotusland speculates that these formal garden spaces, with a decidedly European influence, resonated with Walska so she preserved them as she built her own gardens around them.

To celebrate the opening of Lotusland’s refurbished exhibits, the public may make tour reservations at the reduced rate of $20 through March 13. Docent-led tours of the botanical estate garden in Montecito will take place at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Advance reservations are required. To take advantage of this special reduced admission price of $20, e-mail [email protected], or call 805.969.9990. The regular cost of $10 for ages 5 through 18 remains the same. Children under 5 are always admitted free.

Click here for more information.

Jennifer Guess represents Lotusland.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.