Showing posts from March, 2018

The Dunlap Cactus Collection at Lotusland

 Merritt Sigsbee Dunlap began collecting cactus in 1929 after a road trip to Coachella when he was student at UCLA. One can only speculate how long it must have taken to get from Westwood to Palm Springs in the 1920s, and what prompted him to make this journey  was not mentioned in any of the sources I found. The internet was not particularly fertile when it came to Mr Dunlap, but I eventually was able to stitch together some background thanks to the LA Times and Pacific Horticulture. Dunlap met Madame Ganna Walska in 1941 when he was stationed in Santa Barbara as an army engineer. They were both collectors and I would suppose paths of collectors crossed back in the 40's much like they do today.  He served in WW2, lived in Glendale post war with a career in municipal engineering  and at some point in the 70's moved himself and his cactus collection to the avocado belt town of Fallbrook in North San Diego County. In the 1960's he expressed his intent to  bequeath his col

Bromeliads at Lotusland

 My spring road trip this year took me to Southern California and I was far  past due to visit Lotusland . I maintain a membership there even though I don't visit annually; I like to support horticultural institutions wherever they may be, and in the case of Lotusland the membership not only provides  the typical free entry, it also allows the visitor to wander the garden at will while non-members must join a guided tour. I have no issue with guided tours in general, but in this case it makes for a challenging  photography experience. Because of the location of the garden in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, its' use permit is restrictive and even the member must make an advance reservation in order to control the number of visitors/cars per day. The upside of this is that Lotusland is never crowded, and this was even more so the case the day I visited- it was predicted to rain the entire day. My real fear was that the garden would be evacuated (again) if enough measurable prec