Hittin the Books

Hittin the Books

Head Back to School To Learn About Plants and Gardening Techniques

Hitting the Books

Sudoku may serve to keep your brain healthy and young, but there are other ways to keep the gray matter going than twisting it around a numbers game. School is starting soon for students both young and old. You don’t need to sign up for an advanced degree to benefit from some of the excellent learning opportunities in our community.

The Santa Barbara City College Continuing Education program is designed perfectly for people who agree with Michelangelo’s motto, “I am still learning.” The summer session has just ended, but the fall schedule will be posted soon. There are always classes designed to teach the basics of gardening and garden design. Check the Web site for the latest information:

Regular classes at City College are also available to residents at very modest fees. The Environmental Horticulture department teaches everything from plant identification to irrigation design. The fall session begins on August 19. For more information, go to

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has a full calendar of classes for life-long learners. Whether it is a focused walk through the collections or a nature photography class, the wonders of the natural world will be made accessible to you. See the schedule at

Lotusland is also launching another round of training for prospective docents. This 37-acre wonderland is home to a wide array of exotic plants, and every other year, the opportunity to learn about them and the fascinating history of this estate is offered. Trainees will attend 14 weekly sessions designed to give them background information on cacti and other succulents, palms and cycads, bromeliads, and ferns, as well as the value of botanic gardens in the worldwide conservation effort. Lotusland’s colorful founder, Madame Ganna Walska, will also be introduced to students who can commit to giving one 2-hour tour each week of the year (actually mid February through mid November). Classes begin on September 17, and there will be a reception on Thursday, August 23, at 2 p.m. to learn more about the program. Call Volunteer Coordinator Debbie Hild at 969-3767 x116 or email her at if you are interested.

Virginia Hayes, curator of Ganna Walska Lotusland, will answer your gardening questions. Address them to Gardens, The Independent, 122 W. Figueroa St., S.B., CA 93101. Send email to

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