Lotusland project revitalizes the Japanese Garden

  • A Japanese-style open-air Pavilion, used for reflection, mindfulness and community classes stands next to a Japanese wisteria and a waterfall in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The sounds of rushing water are heard while walking on the footpaths nearby before seeing the source.

    A Japanese-style open-air Pavilion, used for reflection, mindfulness and community classes stands next to a Japanese wisteria and a waterfall in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The sounds of rushing water are heard while walking on the footpaths nearby before seeing the source. Associated Press Photos

  • Trees in late autumn are reflected among the water lilies on the surface of the reflecting pond in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The recently drained and reconstructed central pond has a new liner and biofiltration system installed for improved water quality. Several varieties of aquatic plants were put in the pond during its renovation.

    Trees in late autumn are reflected among the water lilies on the surface of the reflecting pond in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The recently drained and reconstructed central pond has a new liner and biofiltration system installed for improved water quality. Several varieties of aquatic plants were put in the pond during its renovation.

  • A statue of a crane is reflected in the lower pond as koi swim nearby in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. A Lotus viewing deck, where the aquatic plant blooms in June, July and August, is seen in the background on right. The recently reconstructed pond has a new liner and biofiltration system for improved water clarity, where koi, several aquatic plants and lotuses are viewed.

    A statue of a crane is reflected in the lower pond as koi swim nearby in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. A Lotus viewing deck, where the aquatic plant blooms in June, July and August, is seen in the background on right. The recently reconstructed pond has a new liner and biofiltration system for improved water clarity, where koi, several aquatic plants and lotuses are viewed.

  • A Japanese-style stone lantern stands next to a footpath with a view to the central pond in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The Japanese Garden recently underwent a $6 million renovation.

    A Japanese-style stone lantern stands next to a footpath with a view to the central pond in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The Japanese Garden recently underwent a $6 million renovation.

  • A pink camellia is in bloom along a footpath in front of a bamboo grove, right, in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. Footpaths are lined with Japanese-style vintage lanterns, and plants such as azaleas, bamboo, camellias and star magnolias.

    A pink camellia is in bloom along a footpath in front of a bamboo grove, right, in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. Footpaths are lined with Japanese-style vintage lanterns, and plants such as azaleas, bamboo, camellias and star magnolias.

  • A vintage stone lantern hangs over a reflecting pond with images of autumn trees on its surface in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The recently reconstructed pond has a new liner and biofiltration system for improved water clarity, where koi, several aquatic plants and lotuses are viewed.

    A vintage stone lantern hangs over a reflecting pond with images of autumn trees on its surface in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The recently reconstructed pond has a new liner and biofiltration system for improved water clarity, where koi, several aquatic plants and lotuses are viewed.

  • A view from the Japanese-style open-air Pavilion, used for reflection, mindfulness and community classes, looks toward a footbridge and walkway that is handicap accessible next to a Japanese wisteria and a waterfall on right, in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The sounds of rushing water are heard while walking on the footpaths nearby before seeing the source.

    A view from the Japanese-style open-air Pavilion, used for reflection, mindfulness and community classes, looks toward a footbridge and walkway that is handicap accessible next to a Japanese wisteria and a waterfall on right, in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The sounds of rushing water are heard while walking on the footpaths nearby before seeing the source.

 
By PAMELA HASSELL
Associated Press
Posted2/6/2021 7:00 AM

MONTECITO, Calif. -- The botanical gardens at Lotusland, near Santa Barbara, California, offer a meditative retreat outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak.

Consider the Japanese Garden, which opened in June 2019 after a $6 million, 11-year renovation under the stewardship of former Lotusland CEO Gwen Stauffer. Footpaths are lined with Japanese-style vintage lanterns, and plants such as azaleas, bamboo, camellias and star magnolias. Trees include cherry blossoms and ginkgo; an antique Buddha statue along one path serenely holds a floral offering beneath a Japanese maple.

 
An antique Buddha statue with a floral offering is surrounded by a Japanese maple tree at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The Japanese-style strolling garden is a peaceful sanctuary, where visitors can meditate and commune with nature.
An antique Buddha statue with a floral offering is surrounded by a Japanese maple tree at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The Japanese-style strolling garden is a peaceful sanctuary, where visitors can meditate and commune with nature.

A viewing deck and footbridge cross a koi pond with lotuses. The open-air pavilion, built next to a waterfall, offers a peaceful space for contemplation with a view of the dry garden's raked sand, rocks and boulders, with a reflective pond and wide expanse of garden beyond.

Lotusland's gardens were created on a 37-acre estate about 100 miles north of Los Angeles by Ganna Walska, an eccentric Polish opera singer and spiritual seeker. They opened to the public in 1993.

A person seen from another viewing area stands on the Torii Landing overlooking the reflecting pond with koi and water lilies in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The lotuses bloom in June, July and August in the pond. The central pond was recently reconstructed, and afterward, aquatic plants and a new biofiltration system were added.
A person seen from another viewing area stands on the Torii Landing overlooking the reflecting pond with koi and water lilies in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The lotuses bloom in June, July and August in the pond. The central pond was recently reconstructed, and afterward, aquatic plants and a new biofiltration system were added. -
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For the 1.5-acre Japanese garden, she worked with Lotusland gardener Frank Fujii beginning in the late 1960s. They and stone mason Oswald Da Ros selected stones, lanterns and plants. Fujii continued the work after Walska's passing in 1984 until his retirement in 2007. Also on the project was Koichi Kawana, a lecturer at UCLA who specialized in Japanese garden design. His contributions included a Shinto-style shrine added to the garden in a new grove of conifers.

Japanese Maple trees grow next to vintage lanterns that line a footpath along the central pond in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The pond was recently reconstructed and a new biofiltration system was installed for improved water quality. The koi were temporarily relocated to a pond in the cycad garden, and returned after its completion.
Japanese Maple trees grow next to vintage lanterns that line a footpath along the central pond in the Japanese Garden at Lotusland in Montecito, California. The pond was recently reconstructed and a new biofiltration system was installed for improved water quality. The koi were temporarily relocated to a pond in the cycad garden, and returned after its completion. -

Changes in the recent renovation included a new pond, a viewing deck for a closer experience of the koi and lotuses, and handicapped-accessible footpaths and bridges. Some plants and trees were added, and others replaced.

For visitors, advance reservations are required.

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