Santa Barbara’s Public Gardens for Private Inspiration

These Landscapes Help You Explore the Options for Your Own Yard

Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

Native Plants and Water Wisdom

If you’re looking for ways to be water savvy at home, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Water Wise Home Garden section (sbbg.org) is the place to go. This small-scale, realistic setting shows off easy-growing, beautiful California native trees, shrubs, and plants that are drought-tolerant wildlife habitats. An excellent selection of natives is available for purchase at the on-site Nursery, which helps to support the work of this valuable nonprofit. 1212 Mission Canyon Rd.

Chumash Inspiration

The Chumash Point Ethnobotanical Preserve on Santa Barbara City College’s East Campus (sbcc.edu/environmentalhorticulture) is a practical lab for the school’s environmental horticulture students, as well as a great resource for locals to get a peek at a garden that emphasizes native plants that have medicinal, nutritional, and spiritual importance to the Chumash. 721 Cliff Dr.

Coming Up Roses

If you’re looking to create your own rose garden, the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden across from the Santa Barbara Mission is a wonderful source of inspiration. More than 1,500 rose plants in every possible hue are usually in bloom between April and November, making these carefully tended flowerbeds a favorite spot for a stroll. 420 Plaza Rubio 

Superb Succulents

The 37 acres of horticultural wonders at Lotusland (lotusland.org) showcase a number of rare species and exotic specimens, including an impressive array of drought-friendly plants in the succulent garden. A sweeping collection of cacti is also on display in another themed area, along with the oft-photographed euphorbia, cactus, and succulent plantings in front of Ganna Walska’s iconic pink residence, designed with the help of respected landscape architect Lockwood de Forest. Reservations required. Call (805) 969-9990. 

Ornamental Excellence

Considered a true masterpiece of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Casa del Herrero’s grounds (casadelherrero.com) were designed in an eclectic mix of Moorish style and Country Place Era by noted landscape architects Ralph Stevens, Lockwood de Forest, and Francis T. Underhill. Included on the National Register of Historic Places, this estate features intricate pebbled pavings and a long watercourse that leads to colorfully tiled fountains, with charming spaces for flower beds, arcades, rose gardens and a number of orchards. 1387 E. Valley Rd. Reservations required. Call (805) 565-5653.


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