The Blue Garden at Ganna Walska’s Lotusland

Ganna_WalskaMadame Ganna Walska created a number of elaborate and impressive gardens at Lotusland, her estate in Santa Barbara, California. The property now offers tours and other activities related to its unique plant collections. One of the most impressive creations at Lotusland is the Blue Garden, which Madame Walska began designing in 1948.

Working in collaboration with Ralph Stevens, she carefully chose plants with silver and bluish-gray foliage. Blue atlas cedars and Chilean wine palms form the heart of the garden, with blue fescue and succulent chalk sticks serving as ground cover. Highlights also include two camphor trees from East Asia and paths lined with blue-green glass slag from the kilns at Arrowhead Spring Water.

Time took its toll on the garden. As the cedars grew and created a dense canopy, the blue-foliaged plants, which require sun, began to turn brown. In 2012, the Hind Foundation provided a grant to Lotusland to restore the garden to its original blue splendor. Now completely restored, the garden stands out as one of the only remaining examples of color-themed gardens in the United States.