Santa Barbara 2003

In June 2003 I visited Rosminah in Santa Barbara, California. We did a whistle-stop tour of some fantastic gardens and nurseries, both public and private, including Lotusland, Huntington and Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, a new landscaping feature at UCSB, Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria, Taft Ranch (which is now private) in Ojai, and the private garden of John Rees to see his fantastic collection of palms, cycads and aloes.

Huntington Botanical Gardens

Started by Henry Huntington in 1903 the garden now spans nearly 120 acres and contains around 15,000 kinds of plants from all over the world – set within sweeping lawns, vistas and a series of theme gardens.


Created by Madame Ganna Walska the garden is composed of smaller themed areas, containing an array of superb collections of plants within a beautiful series of landscapes and vistas.

Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria

Created by 12 acclaimed landscape designers, the garden offer a range of separate themed gardens and a collection of plants growing in a naturalistic setting.

Taft Ranch in Ojai

Formerly part of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, the Ranch is no longer open to the public. With Rosminah’s connections we had a wonderful tour round.

John Rees’ Garden

John has a great collection of palms, cycads and aloes in his front and back garden. His enthusiasm was infectious – if only the climate was slightly better in Sussex.

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UCSB landscaping

Joining a group tour of the new landscaping, it was fascinating to hear about the development of sustainable landscapes and drainage systems that were incorporated.