Local Partnership Announces Month-Long Garden Celebration

Get inspired! Santa Barbara Public Gardens Group Offers County-wide Activities Throughout May

April 30, 2013

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

(Santa Barbara, CA, April 23, 2013) -- "Get inspired!" is the rallying cry heard from Santa Barbara's many public gardens, who have collaborated to offer special tours, free admission, lectures, and other activities in conjunction with not only National Public Gardens Day on Friday, May 10, 2013, but also for the whole month of May at various locations in Santa Barbara County.

There’s So Much to Do and See for FREE in May!

As part of Santa Barbara Public Gardens Appreciation Month, the public is invited to attend a myriad of activities which encourage the community to explore the diverse gardens we are lucky to have in our county. There is something for everyone! Including:

  • Ten Garden Talks - learn about everything from Palm Trees to Bees! 
  • Admission to locations by downloading a coupon at Better Homes & Gardens
  • Docent-led garden tours at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Old Mission Santa Barbara's Huerta Garden, Rancho La Patera & Stow House, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
  • Rides on the historic Allan Herschell Carorsel (1916) in Chase Palm Park 
  • Special tours of Santa Barbara County Courthouse gardens and clock tower 
  • Experience SBCC's Lifescape Garden Family friendly activities such as story-time, craft projects, and other fun

For a complete list of activities please visit www.sbpublicgardens.org

National Public Gardens Day is Friday, May 10, 2013

Get outside and celebrate! Sponsored nationally by American Public Gardens Association (APGA) and Rain Bird, National Public Gardens Day showcases the contributions of these incredible spaces with special events throughout the county including a Garden Lovers Tour (Lotusland, Casa del Herrero, Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden), Garden Tea at the Biltmore, and more. Advance reservations are required via the website. Santa Barbara is the first in the nation in the country to participate in 2012's NPGD on a citywide basis and to form a growing collaboration with over twenty nonprofit, public sector, university, and luxury hotel partners.

“It is truly a remarkable gift the Santa Barbara collaboration brings to the community,” said Dave Johnson, director of corporate marketing, Rain Bird, a national partner. “They have created a blueprint for success that other cities can build from to celebrate public gardens and help communities around the country see the success and recognition these amazing public spaces so rightly deserve.”

“We are so very fortunate to have a vast array of public gardens and open spaces here in Santa Barbara,” said Helene Schneider, Mayor of the City of Santa Barbara. “Participating in this Partnership has been a great fit for us, not only to highlight these special places, but also to remind the public – both within our own community and for visitors – of the important role public gardens play both for our quality of life, and in driving tourism dollars to Santa Barbara as a destination.”

A County-Wide Partnership is Born – A Little History on the Collaboration

The genesis of the future NPGD steering committee was created in 2011 by Molly Barker, Gwen Stauffer, and Steve Windhager, Executive Directors of Casa del Herrero, Ganna Walska Lotusland, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, respectively. Always on the lookout for promotional opportunities and leverage their messages and visibility, and aware that each venue had more to gain by working together than apart, the seed of an idea was born. "Necessity really can be the 'Mother of Invention'" said Molly Barker, Executive Director of Casa del Herrero.

"Lotusland and Casa del Herrero really wanted to participate in NPGD, but we couldn't accommodate the traditional format and needed to come up with a creative approach. Collaborating with like-minded garden organizations and launching the 'Garden Lovers Tour' really made sense for us and provides a unique opportunity for the public to experience our gardens."

As last year's NPGD approached, the three brainstormed ways to make the day a multi-garden event. Looking outward into the community, they realized other organizations, (such as City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation, Old Mission Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Zoo) also represented gardens and green spaces and took an inclusive approach with the broadest possible definition of what constitutes a "public garden." Like-minded organizations such as UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County were also brought into the fray and provided valuable resources in the form of expertise and docent-volunteers. Santa Barbara Foundation, Santa Barbara Beautiful, and the PARC Foundation all came on-board as local sponsors and provided financial support which made this first year possible.

The Partnership Looks to the Future: Where Do We “Grow” From Here?

As the collaboration evolved, the group quickly realized they needed to “cultivate” their brand. Thus, the aptly named Santa Barbara Public Gardens Partnership, formalized its mission:

“Santa Barbara Public Gardens Partnership is a county-wide collaboration whose mission is to promote awareness of our unique and inspiring public gardens, celebrate their beauty and benefits, and encourage their year-round enjoyment by visitors and residents of the Santa Barbara community.”

As part of this effort the website was expanded and promotional materials created using the newly launched logo, thanks again to generous grant funding from Santa Barbara Foundation and Santa Barbara Beautiful. Following the success of last year's NPGD event, the partnership has also grown, both in the number of partners and in expanding to a month-long celebration. The collaboration was met with enthusiastic support from the newest partners including: Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, Simpson House Inn, Santa Barbara City College, Rancho La Patera & Stow House, and City of Goleta.

This year the partnership has also moved north to Goleta, and extended to universities and luxury brand hotels. This is only the beginning of the Partnership's expansion in what the collaboration hopes will ultimately become a year-round marketing vehicle for promoting Santa Barbara County as an elite garden destination for horticultural tourism.

“After the success and enthusiasm of the Partnership last year, we were so excited when the partners decided to grow north into the Goleta Valley. We look forward to sharing the historic gardens of Rancho La Patera & Stow House (1873) with visitors and the community,” says Amanda De Lucia, Director of Goleta Valley Historical Society.

Santa Barbara Public Gardens Partnership includes: Casa del Herrero, City of Goleta, City of Santa Barbara, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, Ganna Walska Lotusland, Old Mission Santa Barbara, Rancho La Patera & Stow House, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara County Parks, Santa Barbara Visitors Center, Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens, Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau, Simpson House Inn, and UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County.

The Partnership will continue to build on its success for years to come as a grassroots, public gardens collaboration dedicated to the exploration of and connection to nature through community engagement.

For more information about National Public Gardens Day, visit www.nationalpublicgardensday.org. Visit www.sbpublicgardens.org for information on how to participate locally. 

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About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: 
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre educational and scientific institution fostering the conservation of California’s native plants and serves as a role model for sustainable practice in Santa Barbara, California. The Garden was founded in 1926 and is among the nation’s oldest botanic gardens focused exclusively on native plants.

To arrange an interview or to request high-resolution photos, please contact:

SBBG Communications Coordinator
(805) 682-4726 ext. 132