Garden Casitas: Playhouses Designed with Nature in Mind

Date: Monday, July 1, 2019

- Saturday, February 29, 2020

Time: 9:00AM - 6:00PM

Instructor: Garden Staff

Location: Garden Grounds

Garden Casitas: Playhouses Designed with Nature in Mind

The exhibition includes six playhouses constructed primarily of plant-based materials to encourage kids of all ages to play in nature while sharing the importance of plants in everyday life. The exhibition is on display now through February 29, 2020. The Garden will schedule educational programming to complement the exhibition and plans to include several special exhibition-related events during its six-month run. 


Designer/Builder Philip B. Gann
West Covina, CA

Fun fact: Cali-Pop was inspired by the California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica). California poppy seeds can stay in soil seed banks until growing conditions are favorable, sometimes emerging en masse to create a super bloom event.

Rings of Time

Designer Marc Whitman, AIA, Whitman Architectural
Ojai, CA
Builder Tara Saylor, Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve Manager
Ojai, CA

Fun fact: this casita is inspired by the willow, a California native species of the Salix genus, known for its flexibility and its love of moist soil. The willow can be found along streams and in wetland areas.

Halfling House

Designer/Builder Matthew Scranton, Project Manager, Frank Schipper Construction Co.
Santa Barbara, CA

Fun fact: Halfling House was inspired by the fantasy hobbit-hole, which are notable for their round doors and windows as described in J. R. R. Tolkien’s children’s fantasy novel, The Hobbit.

Big-eared Woodrat House

Designer/Builder Kathryn Lape, Crowley & Co.
Santa Barbara, CA

Fun fact: big-eared woodrats (Neotoma macrotis) are nocturnal and forage for leaves, plants, and seeds during the night. If they come across anything shiny or cool-looking, they will carry it back to their nests for display.

The Hives

Builder Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Volunteers

Fun fact: the hives are constructed of Redwood, a California native plant, which can grow to 300 feet or more – the tallest tree on Earth. Coast redwoods are an important ally in fighting climate change and store more CO2 than any other forest type in the world.


Designer/Builder Akiko Wade Davis, AIA, Wade Davis Design
Santa Barbara, CA

Fun fact: the understory is the layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy of a forest. Common plants you can find in the coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) understory are redwood-sorrel (Oxalis oregona,) and wild-ginger (Asarum caudatum).

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