Ganna Walska Lotusland is a nonprofit botanical garden located in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, California. Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the estate in 1941 and spent the next 43 years creating Lotusland. The spectacular collections of exotic plants throughout the 37-acre property are a very personal expression of Walska's penchant for the dramatic, the unexpected, and the whimsical. In the early 1990s, the Garden Conservancy assisted Lotusland's trustees in their efforts to open the garden to the public.
Under the leadership of Garden Conservancy Director Emerita Dorothy Gardner, with support from Director Emeritus Chapin Nolen, among others, Rizzoli publishes Lotusland (March 15, 2022).
Lotusland celebrates 25 years as a public garden. The Garden Conservancy partners with Lotusland on their "Gardens in Paradise" tour series, which includes three stunning private gardens in the Santa Barbara area.
Following the wildfires that ravaged much of the Greater Los Angeles area in late 2017, devastating mudslides hit Montecito in early January, destroying over 100 homes and causing fatalities. Lotusland is again spared significant damage.
Japanese Garden renovation begins.
Insectary Garden renovation for ADA accessibility and improved aesthetics commences.
Palmetum Garden is built.
Lotusland is reclassified by the IRS as a public charity. Water stairs, Cypress Allée, and main house foyer are renovated.
Merritt S. Dunlap's extensive cactus collection, promised to Madame Walska in 1966, is gifted to Lotusland and installed.
Topiary Garden is restored by Lori Ann David, who replicates the original figures.
Five-year plan is developed, which addresses cycad fungal infections and root rot; garden is expanded.
Lotusland opens to the public.
The Garden Conservancy invites its members to visit Lotusland on two special open days. Lotusland's docent program is established, and staff is expanded.
Garden Conservancy Advisory Committee votes to accept Lotusland as its "second sponsored garden" and agrees to assist Lotusland's trustees in their efforts to open the garden to the public.
Madame Walska dies and leaves leaves Lotusland to the Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation.
Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchases the 37-acre estate and creates the gardens over the next four decades.
The estate is sold to the Gravit family, who renames it "Cuesta Linda." The Gravits add landscape elements, garden structures, and the main residence, designed in 1919 by Reginald Johnson in the Mediterranean Revival style.
Ralph Kinton Stevens purchases the land and names the property "Tanglewood."