Close your eyes and take a deep breath in, the sweet smell of blooming magnolias intoxicate as you open your eyes to see a panoramic of pink and white flowers. With the romance of the atmosphere, you know can only be in one place, the San Francisco Botanical Garden in February.
After an anonymous one million dollar donation, the gardens at Lotusland will continue to thrive the way Madame Ganna Walska dreamed when she created this topiary fantasyland, which includes a 25-foot floral clock, on her Santa Barbara, Calif. estate back in 1955.
To look at a history of botanic illustration is to look at the changing significance of a plant over time. A new exhibit at Lotusland, in Montecito, California, does just this. Historic prints document these transitional periods—of plant as medical specimen, to exotic beauty, to garden delight—in a show titled "The Plant Hunters: Botanical Illustrations from the 16th to 19th Centuries," which runs through November 2.