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Lessons from Lotusland: Sustainability in the Garden

Articles: Lessons from Lotusland: Sustainability in the Garden

The road to better, healthier, safer gardens lies in making intelligent choices that stress prevention of potential problems rather than drastic cures.
Lotusland is a thirty-seven-acre estate garden with landscape features dating from three different eras. R Kinton Stevens developed the property as a nursery and farm from the 1870s until his death in 1896. Between 1920 and 1941 the Palmer Gavit family constructed major buildings and landscape elements, most of which remain today. In 1941, Madame Ganna Walska purchased the property and, for over forty years, significantly enhanced the plantings. Lotusland’s plant collections now include aquatic plants, cactus, aloes, euphorbias, and many other succulents, plus ferns, begonias, palms, and cycads. There is an outdoor theatre, a Japanese style garden, orchards, and other formally landscaped gardens. Upon her death in 1984, the non-profit, educational Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation assumed management of the property and opened the garden to the public in 1993.

The diversity of plants and the intensive planting schemes have created some interesting challenges for the garden staff. In Madame Walska’s day, local contractors were cal...

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