Public Gardens for Private Inspiration

Public Gardens for Private Inspiration, originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on May 20, 2021.

If you’re looking for ways to be water savvy at home, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Water Wise Home Garden section ( 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.

The Chumash Point Ethnobotanical Preserve on Santa Barbara City College’s East Campus ( 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.

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

The 37 acres of horticultural wonders at Lotusland ( 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.

Considered a true masterpiece of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, Casa del Herrero’s grounds ( 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.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on May 20, 2021. To see the story as it originally appeared, click here.

City Spring Activities: Mother’s Day Treats

Mother's Day Treats, originally published in the spring 2010 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Mother’s Day Treats, originally published in the spring 2010 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

It can be challenging to come up with a sensational way to celebrate the woman who birthed you, clothed you, fed you, nagged you and dragged you to get you on the path to where you are today—all in the name of motherly love, of course.

This Mother’s Day is your turn to put her on a pedestal for a change. Here are some of our favorite mom-worthy ways to honor yours.

Whisk your mother off to the charming secret garden of Enchante Cottage Spa in Solvang. This sweet white cottage was converted into a mini-day spa where guests are greeted with tea and homemade scones before being pampered with pedicures, deep tissue or hot stone massages and other princess-like treats. Owner Deborah Paxton also serves a delicious lunch with advance reservations.

Why send flowers when you can treat mom to a “First Bloom” tour of Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria? Owners Danielle and Bill Hahn have 18,000 stunning rose plants in 150 different varieties. Don’t miss the White Tranquility Garden with more than 1,000 white roses grown together with white companion plants. Call in advance to make reservations for tours, which take place every Wednesday and Saturday.

The roses are also in bloom at the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden. Just across the street from Mission Santa Barbara, this is a great spot to toss a frisbee, have a picnic or just relax with mom on her special day.

Treat your mom like the Queen Mum with high tea at the ocean-view Bella Vista at Four Seasons Biltmore Resort. Traditional British treats like finger sandwiches, miniature pastries, teacakes and scones are served with an assortment of teas or a “spot of sherry.”

Andersen’s Danish Bakery & Restaurant brings a touch of Copenhagen to the traditional English tea service. Marzipan is a specialty and we recommend the Sarah Bernhardt, a marzipan cookie dipped in dark Ghirardelli chocolate.

Enchante Cottage Spa, 385 Alisal Rd., Solvang, 805/693-1231,

Rose Story Farm, 5950 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria, 805/566-4885,

A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden, Los Olivos and Laguna streets, Santa Barbara, 805/564-5418

Four Seasons Biltmore Resort, 1260 Channel Dr., Montecito, 805/565-8237,

Andersen’s, 1106 State St., Santa Barbara,

Santa Barbara Seasons Spring 2010 cover Originally published in the spring 2010 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons. To read the story as it appeared in print, click here: Sea_SP10_074