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Through the Looking Glass at Aloes in Wonderland

May 7, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Come take a virtual tour of this well-known Santa Barbara garden’s namesake, the aloes! Though his life’s botanical passion has been the cycads, the name “Aloes in Wonderland” came to him in a dream some 15 years ago and changed the course of the gardens focus. Jeff will share some images and stories about the aloes in Wonderland.

About the Speaker

Jeff Chemnick, a research associate at GannaWalska Lotusland in Santa Barbara, is an authority on Mexican cycads having published numerous articles and described several species new to science in conjunction with UC Botanical Garden’s own Tim Gregory. In addition to his field research on the cycads of Mexico, he leads botanical and ornithological ecotours throughout the country with focus on the state of Oaxaca. Currently Jeff is co-authoring a book on the cycads of Mexico (along with Tim Gregory) which is due to be published in 2022. He is on the IUCN’s Cycad Specialist Group which determines the status of endangered species. Jeff has considerable horticultural experience as owner and operator of Aloes in Wonderland, a specialty nursery in Santa Barbara, California where he has lived since 1981.

A former president of the Santa Barbara Horticulture Society and former chair of the Horticultural Society Annual Plant Sale, Jeff has been involved for years within the botanical/horticultural community of Santa Barbara. He has given numerous slide presentations on his botanical travels worldwide and teaches the Lotusland docent training course on cycads.

Jeff’s garden and nursery occupies nearly 4.5 acres at his residence in the Santa Barbara foothills. Though he lost his home in the Tea Fire in 2008, the fire resistant garden he planted years ago, consisting chiefly of cycads, aloes, cactus, and agaves, has made a remarkable comeback.

In March, 2013, Jeff organized an Aloe Summit which took place in Santa Barbara. A weekend-long event, the Aloe Summit featured a day of presentations at Lotusland, a day of garden tours, a plant sale and auction, and several wonderful dinners, parties, and social gatherings.

Jeff’s passions include tropical traveling, birding, surfing, skiing, word games, and playing music.

  Free; Donations to UCBG Education program welcome!


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