Gwen Stauffer, CEO of Ganna Walska Lotusland, is retiring after 11 years of exceptional stewardship, which includes the recent completion of Lotusland’s Japanese Garden renovation. 

Lotusland’s board of trustees has named Rebecca Anderson, currently the garden’s director of philanthropy, as Lotusland’s interim executive director. 

“We are all very excited to have Rebecca help lead the organization moving forward,” said Dan Bifano, Lotusland’s board president.

Nestled in the heart of Montecito, Ganna Walska Lotusland is a botanic garden that has been recognized as one of the top gardens in the world many times over and has been featured in VOGUE Living, Martha Stewart LIVING, The Plantsman, Garden Design Magazine,

Los Angeles Times, Architectural Digest, Condé Nast, and others.

Beginning as a commercial nursery in the 1880s, the property was purchased by well-known polish opera singer and socialite Ganna Walska in 1941. The spectacular collections of more than 3,000 exotic plants, organized into 20 distinct gardens throughout the 37-acre property, are a very personal expression of Ganna Walska’s penchant for the dramatic, the unexpected and the whimsical.

Lotusland operates under a Santa Barbara County conditional use permit, which requires closure from mid-November to mid-February, restricts hours and limits the number of annual visitors. 

Lotusland is one of Santa Barbara’s most treasured cultural resources, attracting visitors from next door and across the globe.  

The garden’s mission is to preserve and enhance the unique, historic estate of Madame Ganna Walska, care for and improve its collections, and develop its conservation and horticulture programs, so they educate, inspire, and advance understanding and appreciation of the importance of plants in our lives and in the life of the planet.

For more information, please contact Bob Craig, Lotusland director of marketing, at or 805.969.3767.