Lotusland to offer docent training
There’s a reason why reservations often book up at Lotusland. It’s that special. But now there’s an opportunity to not only visit, say, once a season, or even once a month during the season, but multiple times a month — for free!
The sprawling Montecito garden is recruiting docents to lead experiential tours mid-February through mid-November. The annual docent training begins with an introductory meeting
9:30 to 11 a.m. Aug. 26 at Lotusland. As part of the training sessions, which will be held 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays for 12 weeks beginning Sept. 9, professors and educators will lecture on the various plants and nearly two dozen gardens at the 37-acre property. They include the Aloe Garden, Cactus Garden, Cycad Garden, Fern Garden, Japanese Garden, Succulent Garden, Theatre Garden, Topiary Garden and more.
Ganna Walska Lotusland, the former estate of Polish opera diva Madame Ganna Walska, who lived there until her death in 1984, is home to more than 3,000 plants from around the world representing more than 200 different families. To carry out her vision of creating a fantastical botanic garden of rare plants, in keeping with her theatrical background, Ganna Walska, the “head gardener,” employed many noted landscape architects and designers, including Lockwood de Forest Jr., Ralph T. Stevens, William Paylen, Oswald Da Ros and Charles Glass.
The prestigious garden, which attracts visitors from around the globe and has been named one of the 10 Best Gardens in the World, only allows a certain number of guests each season, which is why reservations are required.
“They book up really quickly, so it’s quite a privilege to come and visit and learn about the garden,” Wendy Cooper, director of education and outreach at Ganna Walska Lotusland, told the News-Press, referring to one of the perks of being a docent.
Docents lead all the two-hour tours, which are offered at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, said Ms. Cooper.
“We really depend on our docents to meet our educational mission,” said Ms. Cooper. “In the high season, we use 54 a week.”
Docents are asked to commit to giving four tours a month for two years. To apply, go to www.lotusland.org/support/volunteer/. For more information, call volunteer coordinator Kitty Thomassin at 324-8432.
Reservations for tours, which are $50 for adults, $25 for youth 3-17 and free to children 2 and younger, can be made by calling 969-9990. Directions will be given at that time.