As a visitor, your adventure begins in the Australian Garden. Wrapped in a grove of gigantic eucalyptus trees and oddly shaped bottle trees, this amazing garden pays homage to Madame Ganna Walska’s distinctive landscaping style of mixing masses of unusual plants together. In 1993, Landscape Architect, Sydney Baumgartner designed the Australian Garden that is loved by all who visit.
The Visitor Center building was designed by Warner & Gray Architects in the Spanish revival style to emulate the existing George Washington Smith 1920s Bath House in the Water Garden. The Visitor Center features tile benches, an arbor covered with Australian tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum), and a lotus motif tile fountain created by Judy Sutcliffe.
In 1992, B. Jo Dake, one of Lotusland’s first docents and a member of the Board of Trustees, was asked to establish a gift shop to be located at the new Visitor Center. Her many volunteer hours came to fruition when the shop opened to the public in 1993. Today, Lotusland’s Garden Shop continues to thrive and supports Lotusland with the sales of Garden-related books, merchandise, and plants propagated from the collection. Over the years, the Garden Shop has partnered with local artisans to produce one-of-a-kind items made from Lotusland plant material, and works with artists to create ceramics, jewelry, stationary, and paintings inspired by Lotusland’s extraordinary Garden.
Many Australian plants are well suited to landscapes in Central and Southern California, being adapted to heat and drought while not being fussy when it comes to soil types or low nutrients.