During the weekend of April 30-May 2, the 127-acre Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanical Garden presented “Living Green: Essentials for the Home Gardener,” an outdoor flower and garden show that was an essential place to welcome the spring growing season.
The LA Garden Show seems to expand in size and style each year, adding exciting and informative speakers on topics ranging from sustainable design (“Green Architecture: Volume and Shape in the Mediterranean Garden,” by Gary Jones) to edible gardening (“Ten Trees in One: Grafting Citrus and Avocados,” with Darren Butler).
There are al fresco-style gardens, planted in or on top of real soil, just like Chelsea and other outdoor garden shows, which I think is a vast improvement over those dark, fluorescent-lit caverns that house indoor displays.
And of course, while the somewhat aggressive male peacocks are strolling and squawking, the two-legged garden show-goers are chatting with designers, snapping pics, waiting in line for lunch (I loved my chicken tacos, served with fresh cilantro), and, of course, doing some plant- and art-related retail therapy!
I mention shopping because as far as I’ve been able to discern, the marketplace at the LA Garden Show is one of the very best stops for plants, garden art, accessories and other must-have items for the horticulturally-inclined.
I only wish it lasted longer than 3 days because I didn’t get around to all the plant-sellers, horticultural societies, garden accessory purveyors and other vendors. I learned that efforts by the Arboretum’s volunteer marketplace managers resulted in nearly twice the number of exhibitors this year over last. It was a well-curated lineup of offerings (thankfully, no schlocky stuff).
A new discovery: Smallweeds, which designs miniature tablescapes and also sells miniature accessories for making your own tabletop and fairy gardens.
I did a lot of browsing and gabbing with old and new friends, a little shopping, and a lot of note-taking while spotting new products, themes and trends. One of my very favorite picks of the weekend is the powder-coated obelisk series, created by Annette Gutierrez and Mary Gray. The women own Pot-ted, an eclectic, must-visit garden shop on Los Feliz in Los Angeles.
As experienced and artistic film industry veterans, the women sure know how to create high style on a shoestring. They also know that it’s often easier to design something themselves rather than wait around for the marketplace to catch up with a need or opportunity.
Thus, the colorful objets for the garden, seen at left. Can’t you just imagine how elegant and artful these spherical shapes would look, grouped one, two, or three on a lawn, a gravel patio, or even tucked into a perennial border with stems and petals weaving in and out of the openings?
Annette and Mary aren’t claiming to have invented the ringed orbs (some of the earliest ones were made from leftover steel straps used to hold wine caskets together). But they do love the way the steel shapes take to easily to the powdercoated color. And since aqua and orange are the Pot-ted purveyors’ two favorite garden colors, they started with this palette. You can visit the shop or call to inquire about shipping. There are three sizes and boy do they look awesome: 30-inch ($169); 24-inch ($139) and 18-inch ($98).