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Garden tour: Weird, wacky Hermitage Santa Barbara

August 14, 2010 |  6:02 am

High in the hills of Santa Barbara lies the Hermitage, the private whimsy of Theodore Roosevelt Gardner II. If you are lucky enough to be invited to the 18-acre property, and few are, you will find 5-foot-high stone toes popping out of a hillside ...


... and a bronze female swimmer stretching her shoulders near a half-submerged flying saucer ...


... and an austere samurai robot called "The Warrior" made out of chrome car bumpers.


In a sunken hole, 16 clay lawn jockeys stand in rows, deliberately evoking the terra cotta army that guards the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China.


Earlier this year, Gardner self-published a book about his unusual sculpture garden called "The Hermitage Santa Barbara at 20." Recently he took us on a tour, filled with wry jokes and truly unbelievable (in many ways) art. Click through our photo gallery and see for yourself. 

-- Deborah Netburn

Photo: David McNew / For The Times


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