Culture Fix: Lotusland and Casa del Herrero

Montecito tourism

In Santa Barbara County, all fourth-graders are invited to come tour Lotusland, the incredible nonprofit botanical garden.

In the Japanese garden

In the Japanese garden


In late July, the lotus blossom in this pool area…hint, hint for tour dates.

I was lucky enough to score a chaperone spot, which is kind of like winning a Willy Wonka golden ticket.



Barrel Cactus

I  volunteered at Lotusland for a good 6 or 7 years, and to be able to see it through the children’s eyes was inspiring.



Hanging Moss at Lotusland

These thirty-six acres in Montecito host plants you can’t find anywhere else in the world.




Madame Ganna Walska was so dedicated to the garden that she sold her jewels to buy plants — wait, don’t give my husband any ideas!


Cactus Garden


Mutated Cactus


Old Man of the Andes

But wait, there’s more…once the school bus dropped me off, I met dear friends at the Casa del Herrero.

Montecito tourism

Rear elevation

This is a day that would have made Jackie O proud — two treasures in one day.

The Hamiltons

Justine and hubby, Josiah

The occasion was my dear friend, Justine’s birthday. It was her request to see this masterpiece of Spanish Colonial architecture.

View of garden at The Casa del Herrero

I’ve served on the board for “The Casa” and was happy to share my passionate love of this treasure — the exterior, interior and grounds have all been beautifully maintained since the first owners moved in back in 1925 (there was a 6.8 earthquake on moving day, and The Casa stood strong!).

Montecito tourism

Potting Sink

When your day-to-day route is of the school/Von’s/Pierre Lafond variety, it’s great to be reminded of the treasures right around the corner. Sharing places with first timers makes you see it with fresh eyes, too. Santa Barbara locals, both of these gems are worth a visit, they make great outings if you have out of town visitors. If you don’t live here, what are you waiting for? Come visit!

Tile channel at The Casa del Herrero

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3 thoughts on “Culture Fix: Lotusland and Casa del Herrero”

What a great tour it was!! I can’t believe more people don’t know about it! Thank you my sweet pal! It made my bday super special!

Hi Val! Thank you for putting a spotlight on Lotusland and the Casa! We agree – these are two beautiful and rare treasures in our community. We appreciate that you are sharing them with others! Thank you!

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