Lotusland Gardens. Montecito, California

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Morning mist in the lotus garden. Lotusland was the private garden of Madame Walska, a Polish opera singer and socialite who collected plants from around the world. She was particularly fond of lotuses.

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A lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) in the lotus & water lily pool. Madame filled the landscape with lotuses in hopes that Eastern monks would visit. The main lotus pond has exotic water lilies on one side, and domestic water lilies on the other.

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The signature pink walls of Madame's former private residence. The building faces a circular garden of Socotra Dragon Blood Trees (Dracaena cinnabari).

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The garden is organized in different ways; sometimes by color, other times by region or theme, or by family. Here, barrel cacti fill the cactus garden, which is neatly grouped opposite the succulent garden.

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The theatre garden is populated with stone Carnivale figures that Madame collected in Italy, then buried for safekeeping during World War II at her chateau in France. The grotesques were later recovered and brought to Lotusland.

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The various gardens in Lotusland are designed with picturesque transitions, whether a pergola of lemons or a dramatic walkway. Here an olive allée connects Neptune's fountain with the cactus garden.

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The moonlight pool is lined with shells that Madame believed, when arranged in a certain way, resembled a lotus blossom.

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A pomegranate bush at the entrance to the cactus garden.

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Morning mist in the bromeliad garden and water lily pond.

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The topiary garden.

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The water stairs.

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A long brick allée lined with cypress trees unfurls from the lotus pool to the water stairs and a sculpted plaque on which is engraved Madame's legacy to offer Lotusland as an educational resource for the public..

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Madame designed a traditional Japanese "strolling" garden that included miniature trees and topographies, as were historically designed for gardens in Japan's isolated locations.

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