The quick, cheap solution was a trip to Big Red Sun in Venice about 30 minutes away. The Austin, Texas landscape design business and retail shop added a location in Venice a few years ago. I hadn’t visited since the Venice Garden & Home Tour last spring. As it turned out, the shop on Rose Avenue off Lincoln Boulevard was getting ready for an open house Saturday afternoon and was aglow from all the polish and prep.
I love the mix here, which draws from vintage and modern. Heavy on organic inspiration too
Ranging from a texture-rich selection inside
to rugged, over-sized, Texas style outside, punched with color and pattern
BRS has a strong selection of containers, whether glazed, concrete, metal or wood, and of the tough, dramatic plants that look fabulous contained
A standout in the shop was this sleek, clever twist on displaying tillandsias. The rust-free, powder-coated aluminum frames are designed by landscape architect Josh Rosen, a scaled-down version of a commercial design.
“Effortless to hang…simply remove the lightweight AirPlantFrame and submerge the entire frame and plants in filtered water once a week or spray thoroughly about twice a week.”
What I was going to do and where I would have possibly stayed while visiting Austin:
I would’ve probably stayed at the Austin Motel — “So close yet so far out”
The historic Driskill was highly recommended but a little pricy for me.
The Firehouse Hostel looks worth investigating, even if only for drinks.
The Hotel San Jose was also recommended, but I never checked their rates.
Also part of the plan was to listen to music, of course, and eat BBQ, possibly at Franklin Barbecue
And watch the Mexican free-tailed bats emerge at dusk from the Congress Avenue Bridge, the largest urban bat colony in the U.S. (Though November really isn’t the prime month for viewing, like July and August, I wouldn’t willingly put myself under Austin’s big red sun in July or August.)
A “celebration of the handmade,” the indie Feliz Holiday Sale on Sunday looked promising. More shopping at Wildflower, Feathers, Spartan.
And go plant nursery-hopping. And visit Big Red Sun in Austin too.
Maybe next year.
It looks like you did quite well for yourself staying in CA. What I wouldn’t do for five min to look at the table full of succulents… 🙂
We’ve been flirting with a visit to Austin too, although haven’t come as close as you did.
When I visited the Big Red Sun Venice in 2009 I was awe struck. So much color and inspiring design, glad to see they’re still at it.
wow. Sun, light, warm. All words that we have already forgotten in Paris. Merci.
You west coast peeps have the best garden inspired retail out your way. THE best.
What a hot treat to see all this sun-loving stuff! Thanks for warming me up this cold Monday by sharing your alternative travel.
@Steve, true, I can’t complain. Always something to keep me amused here.
@Loree, I love the idea of a garden tour in fall, and Austin in November sounds like a great trip.
@Delphine, it’s 90 degrees here today! (32 celsius)
@Sue, but then you’ve got Terrain.
@Jane, we’ll be chilly too by the end of the week – hopefully!
OK, Denise, why didn’t you email me? I would have gladly offered you our guest room and taken you on the tour with me! And I’m always looking for a reason to tour a few nurseries, for that matter. Don’t be so shy next time you get the urge to “Boogie Back to Texas.” (Asleep at the Wheel, right? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyPK8fJvPOY )
For future trip planning reference, the bats are a good show in October, when the baby bats are finally flying with their mamas. By November the mamas are heading to Mexico for the winter. Hm, what else? The Austin Open Days tour is held every other year, so the next one should be in Oct/Nov 2014. But there’s a Wildflower Center-sponsored garden tour every Mother’s Day weekend — not quite as impressive as Open Days, but still nice. As for Big Red Sun, Venice now has the better (i.e., more retail oriented) shop, since owner Selena moved the shop from Austin to CA. A new owner runs the Austin boutique, in a new location, and it’s mostly a design studio, with a lot less retail than the old shop had. Still cool, but not as cool as what you’re showing here.
Still, there are lots of great reasons to visit Austin. April-May and October-November are excellent months. Come visit! Chez Penick is a lot cheaper than the Austin Motel (not to mention the uber-cool Hotel San Jose), and it offers the advantage of sitting in the garden next to Moby in the evening. 😉
Pam, that’s some Texas hospitality! I just may be knocking on your door in 2014. I didn’t know the Open Days was every other year — that definitely would have influenced the decision. I was wondering why I don’t read much about the Austin BRS anymore. Thanks for all the info and the kind invite.