Erin (Keosian) Taylor’s cool plant and design emporium called Botanik was one of my very first garden discoveries when I moved to Southern California in late summer of 2006.
I have Gillian Mathews, another awesome garden retailer who created Ravenna Gardens in Seattle, to thank for the introduction.
In September 2006, Gillian and Theresa Malmanger created and led the “Los Angeles-Santa Barbara Garden Tour” for the Northwest Horticultural Society. So I piggybacked on that trip and joined all my Seattle pals only 3 weeks after I moved here. I was in for a treat!
It turns out that I needed Gillian and Theresa to be my “guides” to begin to understand my new backyard.
It was the best gift they could have shared. The three-day garden extravaganza gave me a front seat tour to some amazing private gardens, public gardens and retail outlets. It fed my spirit and soul as I got to pal around with several very special, dear friends.It made me begin to realize that I was going to be “okay” living here because I started viewing SoCal’s horticultural and garden design world through the eyes of these savvy Seattle folks. That began my long education as to just how cool my new environs are.
One of our stops was the coastal village of Summerland, where Botanik occupies two cute cottages. Created by Erin Taylor, a fresh, young talent who has an amazing eye for design and a solid footing in horticulture, Botanik captured my imagination for gardening with succulents in a whole new way.
Since then, over the past few years, I’ve visited Summerland whenever I could (it’s only a few miles south of Santa Barbara off of Hwy. 101). Erin is inspiring, creative, and refreshingly casual in her design approach. She and staff designer, Molly Hutto create succulent displays like I’ve never before seen. Their creations are oft-copied but never surpassed in composition – with delicious succulent textures, colors, forms and patterns.
In 2007, Kate Karam and I produced a story about Botanik’s luscious succulent designs for a future Cottage Living story. We had such a great time working with Erin and Molly that day. The designs they came up with were to die for! Sadly, as you all know, Cottage Living ceased publication after the December 2008 issue and we all miss it (we miss garden editor Kate, too!) Who knows where that film will surface or whether it will at all (I’m hoping Sunset picks it up, since it’s a sister magazine).
Not one to sit around and wait, I was recently fortunate to interest another editor in Botanik. Well, that’s not fair to say because I haven’t met an editor or publication yet NOT isn’t interested in Erin and Botanik!
But, earlier this spring, Erin graciously agreed to let 805 Living create a story around her natural design philosophy for interior and exterior spaces.
My story appears in the April issue of 805 Living, with photographs by Gary Moss. Here it is for you to read and enjoy. And for those of you planning a Garden Pilgrimage to Santa Barbara (Lotusland, Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, etc.) don’t leave town without stopping in Summerland to visit Botanik.