Unnamed Future Garden Project

Yesterday started out great. I won a pair of boots from Plant Talk.
I’m purposely avoiding my typical over-reliance on hyperbole because there are simply no words to adequately describe this event.
Thrilling? Way beyond thrilling. In this case, thrilling is a ridiculously puny word.
In celebration, I hung around at Venice Daily Photo yesterday afternoon and imagined wading in my new boots through the Piazza San Marco this winter.
Not that I’m really going anywhere.


The middle of the day sagged a bit. My seatmate on the Metro Blue Line, who I assumed, via his unseen phone earpiece, was discussing an annoying co-worker that he’d had “enough of” and wanted to figuratively “slaughter,” was not on the phone at all but staring glassy-eyed into the middle distance of the train and affectlessly recounting what he wanted to do about his disappointment with all humanity.

But the day ended on an upbeat note. Again, I’m resisting hyberbole, such as The day ended on a stupendously deafening note of jubilation.
I’ve blogged before about the lack of inspiring planting displays in my home town. After much hand wringing and procrastination, just two days ago I took a flying leap and wrote this email. I’m leaving off identifying information for the present time until this plan firms up.

Dear ___________,

With Christmas just weeks away…there could not be a more auspicious time for the local horticultural community to ‘gift’ a garden to _____. The long borders that run alongside the sidewalk in front of ______, backed by the brick clinker walls, would be an ideal, high-profile space to display the wonderful range of drought-tolerant plants that can be grown in Long Beach’s unique frost-free, Mediterranean climate.

We may not have $15 million to donate, as the late Frances Brody has bequeathed to the Huntington Botanical Garden, but there is a wealth of local horticultural resources to draw upon in the form of designers, nurserymen, neighborhood groups, and City College horticultural students.

There is incredible momentum building with regard to recognizing the role landscapes play in water conservation, yet there is a sore lack of local display gardens to help the public conceptualize the aesthetic possibilities of a less-thirsty landscape. Orange spears of winter-blooming aloes from South Africa would greet…attendees as they enter…., flanked by the boldly architectural massing of soft-leaved agaves in vivid chartreuse and deep blue. A riches of water-wise plants such as these can only be grown in the celebrated mild climate of coastal Southern California. Planting these borders which are visible from ________ would solidify in the public’s mind ________ identity as not only a destination for cultural and artistic events, but for cutting-edge garden design as well, much as the Robert Irwin-designed garden at the new Getty has become such a popular feature of that museum.”

The recipient of the email wrote back the next day, saying they were “delighted” with this proposal. There may yet be unforeseen details that sink the project, and though it is still the faintest of green lights, for this brief moment I am beyond delighted that they are delighted. More details will be forthcoming as the project matures.

Reading Gardenrant yesterday about the financial woes of the wholesale grower Monrovia, along with the illuminating comments by many in the nursery industry about the truly dire state of affairs, has me convinced that there is no better time than the present to promote gardens, garden designers, and the nursery industry in every way possible — even, as in this case, practicing a form of Guerrilla Gardening Lite, where you ask permission first. Whatever works.

(For more information on the entire Brody bequest to the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens, you can read here.)

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2 Responses to Unnamed Future Garden Project

  1. I believe the moral here is something about how you never know until you ask. I recently had my very own experience with this, and it blows you over when it happens doesn’t it? (I mean when you ask and they say yes). Congrats on the boots! I read that the winner was Denise and I hoped it was you but truth be told I was too lazy to go back and look at the comments to see for sure.

  2. Denise says:

    Loree, if it’s garden related, I hope we get to read about it. Congrats to you too.

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