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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 7:18 pm | Fair 56º


Botanic Garden Tour to Showcase Creative Ways to Garden with Little Water

At the private Witt Ranch, historic trees establish a sense of history in a landscape that combines personal favorites and native plants.
At the private Witt Ranch, historic trees establish a sense of history in a landscape that combines personal favorites and native plants. (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden photo)

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has put together a truly unique version of its annual Cultivating the Wild: Native Gardens Tour on Sunday, April 19.

Heading out to the Santa Ynez Valley in limousine buses, the tour goes behind the scenes to explore very different approaches to sustainable landscaping. Dry farming at a vineyard, personal style at a private ranchero and an entire neighborhood of native landscaping all challenge preconceived ideas about the limitations imposed by drought. This year’s tour includes the delicious culinary creativity of New West Catering enjoyed with dry farmed Stolpman wines at the private Montanaro Farm.

Landscape architect Puck Erickson provides the foundation of the tour at the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden. As one its founders and designers, she identifies key native plants in the area, and gives an inspiring view of how creating this garden brought a community of native plant lovers together.

“After 19 harvests we’re just as obsessed with improving our wines as we were with our first vintage in 1994,” according to Peter Stolpman, managing partner of Stolpman Vineyard.

The vineyard implements sustainable viticulture techniques, including dry farming, in which the vines are not irrigated after they have matured. A personal tour from the owners will give a rare view, and taste, of dry farming.

What would it look like if everyone replaced their lawns with native landscaping? Guests will see for themselves in the tour through the gated Mission Oaks community in Solvang. The common areas are landscaped predominately in native plants that blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, while front yards show the wide variety of personal expression available using natives.

Witt Ranch is a private ranchero where historic trees establish a sense of history in a landscape that combines personal favorites and native plants. A guided tour of the gardens around the main house and the charming guest cottages will inspire your own landscape designs.

Guests who wonder just how good a dry farmed vintage actually tastes, will not be disappointed as Stolpman wines will be served with a mouth-watering lunch from New West Catering. Valley insiders know that New West is owned by the same chefs as the eclectic Industrial Eats, one of the hottest dining destinations in the area. To complete this incredible insider’s experience of the valley, this delicious meal is served at Montanaro Farm, where visitors are transported back to California’s ranching heyday in the original grocery restored to its 1887 style.

Whether you are looking for garden inspiration or a unique way to experience the Santa Ynez Valley, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Cultivating the Wild: Native Gardens Tour is sure to provide a unforgettable experience.

Tickets are $95 for garden members and $125 for nonmembers. The Santa Barbara bus will leave at 9 a.m. and the Buellton bus at 9:45 a.m. Click here for more information.

Cultivating the Wild: Native Gardens Tour is a fundraiser for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, a private nonprofit, and would not be possible without the generous support of Riviera Insurance, Arcadia Studios and Santa Barbara Waterwise.

— Rebecca Mordini is the communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

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