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Learning from Lotusland’s Orchards

Articles: Learning from Lotusland’s Orchards

Ripening ‘Santa Rosa’ plums. Author’s photographs

Not everyone has room for an extensive orchard, but even a small garden has room for a single fruit tree. Finding just the right tree can be a challenge, with so many available at local nurseries and through the internet. Lotusland has begun to focus on the cultivars of citrus and deciduous fruit trees that thrive in their orchard in Santa Barbara, in turn helping local Southern California gardeners determine what will grow best in those conditions.

Visitors to Lotusland respond most to the exotic plants such as cacti and cycads, the tropical splendor of the bromeliad or fern gardens, or the meditative quality of the Japanese garden. These designs and plant selections, our legacy from Madame Walska who purchased the estate in 1941, often overwhelm the remnants of the more staid estate garden, Cuesta Linda, which was laid out in the 1920s for the Gavit family. But Madame Walska retained some of the formal areas, including the rose garden and parterre with fountains reminiscent of European estate gardens, as well as an area devoted to growing fruit trees, se...

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