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— by Emily Young: It all started in 2008. The koi pond in the Japanese garden at Lotusland, the spectacular Montecito estate often cited as one of the must-see gardens of the world, had grown so murky that one wag described it as “a bowl of turkey gravy.”

Newly hired Lotusland chief executive Gwen Stauffer had a solution, but she knew draining the pond, lining the bottom and installing a biofilter would disrupt operations at the landmark gardens. Still, she thought: How hard could it be?

As any homeowner knows, however, one improvement project leads to another. Soon the renovation ranged beyond the koi pond to include updating the Japanese garden with accessible footpaths and, eventually, building originally planned but never realized landscape elements such as a lotus-viewing deck and altogether new features like an enclosure of evergreen cryptomeria trees…

Image courtesy of Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

July 26, 2019