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I've heard plenty about the famed garden called Lotusland but last Saturday evening was my first visit there while playing for a private party. Flautist Ricardo Gonzales and I were stationed above the lily pond.

Harp and Flute garden duet

From this position our music could waft down over the scene and we had a beautiful view of blooming lilies, dragonflies and hummingbirds flitting about the flowers, and guests meandering with cocktails in hand. In addition to this there were five people dressed as sparkly butterflies walking about on stilts while a mermaid and merman cavorted beside the pond in the neighboring aloe garden. Several strategically placed bubble machines sent iridescent orbs floating through the air, adding to the ethereal ambience.

Laurie and bubbles in the garden

We were extra lucky that July is peak blooming season for the lotus plants in the pond. The gardener explained that these were young plants so the blossoms weren't as "big as basketballs" like they will be when they mature but I wasn't the least bit disappointed. The perfect blooms gave off a surreal glow in the late afternoon light.

Blooming lotus at Lotusland Montecito