Santa Barbara- S County

Lotusland Back Open For Visiting Season

Plants thriving despite drought, water shortage emergency

Lotusland Back Open For Visiting Season

MONTECITO, Calif. - Lotusland is back open for the visiting season and the garden is thriving despite the drought.

The first group of visitors were able to walk around the 19 garden features Wednesday.

There is a water shortage emergency in Montecito and for a 37-acre garden like Lotusland, that should be a big concern, but the plants are used to it.

"This have been part of our way we do gardening for decades. It means that we are already conserving an incredible amount of water," said Gwen
Stauffer, the Lotusland executive director.

Many of the plants don't need much water at all. Including those in the cactus garden.

They are much more than just prickly, they have beautiful bright blowers that attract bees and birds.

And leave the hose alone, they are getting water on their own.

"The plant is adapted to collect every amount of moisture that it can out of the air. So we're not watering these. We are letting nature do what it does on these plants," said Stauffer.

That includes the aloe and succulent plants that attract the visitors looking for a new twist on landscaping.

"These are the gardens of the future. So the key for garden designers now is designing gardens that are beauty, that don't use a lot of water. That can survive in our natural climates," said Maxine Stomber, a visitor and a garden designer.

There are some plants that do need watering, like the lawn. But if you look closely, it's not as pristine as you might think.

"It's not just turf grass, there's broad leaf things in there, people would call them weeds, we don't care," said Stauffer.

With the mixture, a lot less water is needed.

"It's still beautiful and it's very sustainable," she said.

Lotusland just might have people rethink what beautiful gardens are.

Lotusland is open Wednesday through Saturday until mid-November and reservations are needed.

Slideshow: Lotusland Back Open For Visiting Season

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