Blooms of Beauty: Lotusland LotusFest

Fawn over the Santa Barbara landmark's pinky-white blooms.

TOP OF ITS GLORIOUS GAME: When you're a landmark site, with a lot of history to your story, and you have a flower in your name, and that flower is followed by the word "-land," you can bet that garden lovers will very much associate you with the bloom in question. And so people do, with Ganna Walska Lotusland, the 37-acre petal-packed plot a pinch to the northeast of central Santa Barbara. The 3,000-plus plants on the estate, flora that "hails from all over the world," regularly gets the love in gardening blogs and from visitors and home bed-tenders looking to up their leafy game. But no star of the garden receives the adoration like Lotusland's pinky-white jewel of a namesake. The lotus, of course, does not bloom around the calendar but waits for July for its splashy show. ("Splashy" meant in two ways there, since this is a bud that rather adores pond life.) And when that splashy showtime arrives, the former estate of opera singer Madame Ganna Walska delivers, with a day devoted to its headlining star. That day for 2015 is on Saturday, July 11, and the lotuses are, yes, in pinky-white bloom. 

"PINKY-WHITE," though, isn't really the half of it. The flower is known for its gradations of hue, so a petal can start out perfectly pearly near the base and end in a fiery show of deepest magenta or purple near its tippy-top. It is a wonder best enjoyed in person, and people shall be in the garden to both behold the lotus and pursue other pleasurable activities as well, like tasting wines from regional, Santa Barbara-adjacent wineries and noshing on small bites. Will there be live music to help serenade the flowers into opening? Well, lotuses don't require much to go into full bloom when they're ready, save sunlight (they're day openers and night closers by nature). But the humans on the grounds can listen to the tunes while they look up on all of that see-it-in-July floral action. Plus? The expansive estate offers many more finds and joys of a breathe-deeply, be-one-with-the-outdoors nature. Tickets? Look this way, lotusians.

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