The tree has stood on the the great lawn of the famous Lotusland gardens in Montecito, California for more than thirteen decades. With the announcement that the tree, which is breaking away from its support cables, had to be cut down, the garden staff lovingly strung the flags from the very top of the cypress, where brown, dead branches were signaling its end.
Now that the heavy rains have cleared along the Central Coast, the tree is finally scheduled to be felled at the end of May. In its place, a small Monterey cypress, grown from the seed of the current tree, will be planted anew.
School children wrote words of remembrance on the individual prayer flags, and the public was invited to leave their own notes of gratitude on a table at its base.
Named one of the 10 Best Gardens in the World by The Telegraph, Lotusland is a public garden operated by a private nonprofit organization on 37 acres (15 ha) at the historic estate of Madame Ganna Walska.
The gardens at Lotusland, including a Japanese garden that contains an extensive collection of antique ishidoro stone lanterns, were created over a four decade period by the eccentric opera singer who owned the property as a private residence from 1941 until her death in 1984.
Monterey cypress trees grow best in their native habitat along the cold, foggy shoreline further north up California’s Central Coast—and can live to be 200 years old. The specimen at Lotusland had endure a much warmer climate in the hills, three miles inland.
Lotusland is located on Cold Springs Road in Montecito, 108 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, and open Wed-Sat. Due to its location in a residential neighborhood, advance reservations for tours are required for all visitors.