Leslie Dinaberg | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

Once again, we turned to longtime contributor Leslie Dinaberg to take on our annual Home & Garden issue, when we highlight many of the indoor and outdoor design tales and trends from around Santa Barbara. As she worked on this edition, we also hired Leslie as our new Culture Editor to lead our arts and entertainment coverage and manage many of the special sections, just like this week’s. She tells us more below. 

What did you learn about Lotusland and Madame Ganna Walska while reporting this week’s cover story?  Like Madame herself, Lotusland is much, much more than just a pretty face. One of the best “work perks” of being a journalist in Santa Barbara is that I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time at Lotusland over the years. But I really had no idea about all the behind-the-scenes efforts that have gone on FOR DECADES to make this gorgeous garden a more environmentally sustainable place, in addition to being such an inspiringly beautiful and peaceful spot. 

What are some of your favorite annual events in S.B.?  I love I Madonnari, both for the beautifully colorful chalk art that lights up the pavement at the Mission and the wonderful work of Children’s Creative Project that this event supports (bringing together young people and professional artists in our local schools). I’ve also got a special place in my heart for the Children’s Parade during Fiesta. I was a flower girl when I was little and then marched in the parade with my son and our friends and family. It’s one of my favorite summer traditions. The winter Parade of Lights in the harbor is also a favorite. I also really love the Solstice Parade. I guess I’m kind of a sucker for our annual events, especially since it’s been so long since we’ve had a “normal” year of them.

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