Cacti Gardens and Vivacious Socialites: Ganna Waska Lotusland

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I’m a sucker for a fabulous female socialite, especially when they are extravagant and extra. So when one of my dearest friends invited me to explore Lotusland with her in Santa Barbara for her 25th birthday, I bought a plane ticket ASAP.

Lotusland was owned by Madame Ganna Walska, a six-times divorced millionaire Polish opera singer. She loved the extravagant, lining the pathways in giant chunks of colorful glass and building reflective pools worthy of mermaids.


It reminded me a lot of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild I had the pleasure of visiting in France. But it also reminded me to step back and look at my life a bit.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve to pursue my wildest dreams. Other times I’m worried I’ve been spinning my wheels in one place, and I’ll never actually make any progress to reach said dreams. But wandering the pathways of gardens designed by a woman whose dreams she chased for decades remind me that the crazy things are possible too. It just takes patience, consistency, and a bit of a vivacious streak so you never forget to look far beyond the box the world has given you.



I have so many dreams I assumed were too big, but as I began to chase them with an open mind, I realized they were actually just crumbs of what was waiting for me. I had put myself into a little box, and there was a whole semi-truck parked just outside, honking its horn.

I don’t have any plans to build a massive estate filled with extinct plants quite yet, but who knows what the future holds for me. There’s still so much time to find out.


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