Gardens Galore

National Public Gardens Day Is May 10

Ganna Walska Lotusland
Paul Wellman

When it comes to gardens, Santa Barbara does not mess around. From hidden backyard oases and showy front-yard affairs to world-class exotic estates like Lotusland and historic National Landmarks such as Casa del Herrero, the South Coast is holding big time, both our climate and our tradition fueling a region-wide love affair with living and breathing and growing outdoor spaces. Even better, there is no time like the Now to get out and enjoy the riches.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Paul Wellman

This Friday, May 10, marks National Public Gardens Day, a relatively new holiday that has rooted rather well around these parts. While the date is certainly the peak of area National Public Gardens Day activities, it is only one day out of an entire month that the folks from the Santa Barbara Public Gardens Partnership (a collab of more than 20 Santa Barbara–based organizations including nonprofits, city and county agencies, and various funding groups) have organized to get you out and into all that is blooming.

Want to go to Lotusland? Looking for a free educational garden talk with an expert? Care for a spot of tea in the garden at the Biltmore? Need to learn more about fire-resistant landscapes? How about a free docent-led tour of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden? Well, National Public Gardens Day and the entire month of May, officially known as Public Gardens Appreciation Month around these parts, is the time to do it.

Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens
Paul Wellman

Growing off the momentum of last year’s inaugural Gardens Day festivities in town, S.B.’s Public Gardens Partnership has upped the ante this time around with more opportunities for you to get involved. The major draw remains the same — the limited-space Garden Lovers Tour of Lotusland, Casa del Herrero, and Alice Keck Park on May 10 — but that is only one small part of the fun. Other highlights include, a Goleta Valley Tree Heritage & History Tour courtesy of Rancho La Patera and the Stow House; a backyard beekeeping seminar thanks to the County of Santa Barbara; specially scheduled docent tours of places like the Sunken Gardens and Alice Keck Park; and garden tours of Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Casa del Herrero
Paul Wellman

You can print a “free admission” coupon for numerous public gardens at and have a flower-filled adventure all your own. (The same coupon can also be used for free carousel rides at Chase Palm Park every Sunday this month).


For a complete listing of the vast and varied area-specific goings-on for both National Public Gardens Day (Friday, May 10) and Public Gardens Appreciation Month, visit


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