Hat tip to Miss Rumphius’ Rules for recently blogging on Inner Gardens, which put the sliver in my brain to check out *Stephen Block’s garden antiques emporium in Culver City. Today I worked just a couple miles down the road so popped in for a quick visit. (I’ve been a long-time fan of Susan Cohan’s excellent blog, whose title is a delightful reminder of the beloved children’s book “Miss Rumphius,” which was in heavy reading rotation in our house over 20 years ago.)
Neoclassical, modern, rustic — every kind of garden ornament and pottery can be found at Inner Gardens, but overall the objects speak less to a specific period or style and more to the timeless, primal connection we have to gardens. My visit was much too short and ended abruptly due to a work emergency, just as I discovered the plant nursery portion of Inner Gardens.
There is most definitely a keen, plant-hungry eye at work here.
Golden club moss? (Selaginella kraussiana)
This large concrete bowl was a textural tour de force.
Dramatic kalanchoes were nearly upstaged by the intensely crinkled and contorted trailing hoya.
Kalanchoe orgyalis, the Copper Spoons.
Closer look of what I think must be some kind of hoya, the “Hindu rope,” not a plant seen much locally. Must be the Florida influence seeping into Mr. Block’s designs. Brilliant choice for echoing the furry, crinkly leaves of K. beharensis.
From the website:
*”Stephen Block’s fancy for foliage took root during his study of horticulture at the University of Florida. At the time, he owned one of the first mall kiosks in Florida selling plants and flowers. That business blossomed when Block moved to Los Angeles and opened INNER GARDENS.
Stephen’s plant knowledge is vast and he schooled himself on all aspects of flora and foliage. Always seeking large specimens and the most unusual varieties obtainable, his design approach is to create plantings that look as though they have been planted long ago.
In addition, Stephen has a love affair with beautiful and unique containers; ancient, modern and one-of-a-kind containers that when planted with the perfect plant becomes something more. Stephen’s belief that “the perfect plant or plants placed lovingly into the perfect container located in the perfect setting becomes an entity in and of itself…a piece unlike any other.”
For over 18 years, Stephen Block has been fine-tuning INNER GARDENS. Traveling the world himself and developing a network of antique dealers who know to call him immediately when they find something that is on his vast watch list: INNER GARDENS is a visual dream. He has gathered together the finest designers, technicians and installation crews to perform every aspect of plant care, flora and orchid design, installation and service at the highest level.
As a result of Stephen’s guidance and dedication to consistent excellence, INNER GARDENS has grown into the West Coast’s leading resource for everything garden, now with 2 showrooms in the Los Angeles area.’