Tag Archives: Potted For Outdoor Living

The Point Pot

If you’re an Instagram fan of garden designer/ceramicist Dustin Gimbel and/or Potted, LA’s premiere source for stylish plant containers and garden furniture, you’ll know that they’ve been collaborating for some time on the first mass-produced offering of one of Dustin’s ceramic designs called “The Point Pot.” Tantalizing peeks, projections, and promises that have kept me “en pointe” for months have now become actionable, and just in time to brighten a dreary February. The Point Pot has gone live, available in three colorways, Pacific Blue, Vanilla Bean and Sea Spray Green.


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Potted dubs The Point Pot “A Modern Planter for Modern Times.”
“Sleek and geometric, this elegant planter offers versatility as well as good looks with the ability to be used table top or hung from a stainless steel cable.”

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I simply cannot overstate how proud I am of these collaborators, each of them dedicated to strong, modern design for our gardens. Potted is of course justifiably famous for their own exclusive designs, such as the Circle Pot, City Planter, and Orbit Planter, so The Point Pot joins some seriously strong company. (And each of these planters complements the others incredibly well, btw. I’m thinking about hanging a Point Pot next to an Orbit Planter.) But gorgeous design aside, what really gets me just a little verklempt about this homegrown, Los Angeles venture is their resolute determination to have their creations made in the U.S. — pottery may have once been king in California, but that heyday has long since passed, so I know making good on that commitment hasn’t always been easy. Bravo, you guys.


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The Point Pot’s strong lines can be appreciated from many angles — dangling as a pendant or brandishing its multi-faceted planes singly or in multiples across tabletops and bookshelves.

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Order info right here.

Friday clippings 8/22/14


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At first sight I became enthralled by artist James Griffith’s exquisite, painterly ripostes to the “drill, baby, drill” set — my words, not his. James is much more polite.
By way of a secret alchemy, he utilizes that precious resource from our local La Brea Tar Pits in a uniquely subversive fashion, to cover canvases with delicate, etching-like portraits of species that don’t get a say in our energy politics, such as the humble and familiar crow, bat, mouse, and deer. His work reminds that all species are stuck in this moment together. I love my little tar bat that was last year’s Christmas present.

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James has a new show beginning September 6, 2014, at the Craig Krull Gallery at Bergamot Station, where you can see the latest members of his tar pit menagerie.

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James is also co-creator with garden designer Sue Dadd of the Folly Bowl, their own personal outdoor amphitheater in which they host a summer-long series of concerts. This coming Saturday’s concert, August 23rd, is described on their Facebook page for The Folly Bowl. If you go, keep an eye out for one of the biggest Agave franzosinii south of the Ruth Bancroft Garden.

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Drawing from the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Plants at Harvard. Collection manager Jenny Brown and glass artist Christian Thornton will be two of the lecturers at Natural Discourse this October 18, 2014.

Another date to save: On October 18, 2014, impresario, artist, and garden designer Shirley Watts, is bringing Natural Discourse: Light & Image to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, which promises to be another amazing day of riveting lectures, this time here in our very own backyard. Shirley assembles together for one day the equivalent of a botanical salon filled with some of the most interesting speakers I’ve been privileged to hear. I wrote about them here and here and here — you can do a blog search for other posts too. Richard Turner, former editor of Pacific Horticulture, had this to say of earlier iterations of Natural Discourse:

The first symposia, held at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, were among the very best days I’ve ever spent sitting and listening to others speak.

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The Ruth Bancroft Garden by Marion Brenner, who will be one of the lecturers at Natural Discourse October 18th, 2014, at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.

Garden bloggers in particular won’t want to miss a single pearl of wisdom that falls from legendary landscape photographer Marion Brenner’s lips at this upcoming Natural Discourse: Light & Image.

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Sansevieria ‘Black Gold’ at California Greenhouses

If anyone is tempted to visit the Orange County nurseries I mentioned here, I hope I caught you before you made the trip. You must add to your itinerary California Greenhouses.
Annette Gutierrez, co-owner of Potted, recommended this one to me, and I checked it out earlier this week. It is worth the trip alone.

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Some nurseries, like sports teams, have a “deep bench,” and California Nurseries has one of the deepest around.
Succulents in all sizes, from enormous dragon trees, tree aloes, and Yucca rostrata, to table after table of all the wee ones we love to stuff in pots, and at nearly wholesale prices.
Fantastic section of houseplants too.

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California Greenhouses currently has a couple enormous Aloe capitata var. quartzicola for sale, at least 3-gallon size if not 5.
More than double the size of this Aloe capitata var. quartzicola, photo taken in my garden this June.

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Department of Corrections: This is one of the so-called shrub begonias ‘Paul Hernandez,’ and it’s managed to thrive despite my having the blackest thumb a begonia enthusiast can have. I wish Freud had wondered instead what a begonia wants, because I sure as heck don’t know. I’ve made some comments that reference this gunnera-sized begonia as ‘Gene Daniels,’ so I need to correct that. I don’t think I’ve ever grown ‘Gene Daniels,’ but two begonias named after guys — you can see how I made the mistake. Checking the blog, I see that ‘Paul Hernandez’ dates back to 2011 in my garden, the only begonia I’ve grown with that kind of longevity, so we need to keep his identity straight. Good plants need to be rewarded; the next big pot I buy is going to be for Paul. Judging by the mottled color, I think Paul looks a little hungry. Maybe some fish emulsion?

I’ll close with my favorite quote of the week: “‘At the end of the day,’ Dr. Richard wrote in his diary this summer, ‘the plants are still in need of a drink, and so are we.’”

At least I have that in common with the energetic couple restoring a 250-year-old house in southwest France. There were a couple more epigrammatic, Wilde-worthy quotes in The New York Times article and luscious slideshow, “A Blank Slate With Fig Trees,” including success with houseguests requires “to never see them over breakfast.”

Happy weekend!


It happened one night; August rain

I bought my first water plant Saturday, and it rained all that night. Not a downpour, but a steady drizzle. I’m not saying there’s any causal link between the two, just that they’re both rare events that happened to coincide one day in August when I finally made good on an old, wilted promise to start a water garden. Nobody is immune to a little magical thinking, especially gardeners and other anxious weather watchers. And I don’t mind at all buying more water plants in the offchance it pleases the drought gods that I do so. After the overnight rain, it was so nice waking up Sunday morning to the clean world.

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My first water plant. Ruby-stemmed Sagittaria lancifolia ‘Ruminoides’
The fiberglass/concrete container was not intended to hold water and may be a temporary arrangement. Marty sealed it with waterproofing, so we’ll see.

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I don’t think that whitish mottling is a good sign, however.
It clouded up like that before the waterproofing, too, when it held just a few glass fishing floats.

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What’s submerged and rendered invisible by dark waterproofing is the desperate need for repotting, with the gallon container split open by bulging roots.
For repotting, it will need muck, won’t it? I asked the kind nurseryman, trying out the one word I know that has something to do with bogs and ponds.
Have you got muck? he queried me with a strange expression.
No, have you? I’m muckless, I rejoined, matching his strange expression with one of my own at the bizarreness of it all.
It’s not often that “muckless” gets incorporated into daily conversation, but given the chance, I’m going for it.

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Tiny romneya-like flowers bloomed Sunday morning.

The nice nurseryman said a cheap solution for a suitable potting soil is a 50/50 mix of decomposed granite and pure compost.
Compost I’ve got. I just need to beg some d.g. off of Holly across the street.

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Inspired by the garden rejuvenation wrought by a single pot of the common arrowhead, a container of Salvia guaranitica was plunged into the garden near the tank.
This salvia has been hanging around for years in the garden, deprived of the care it needs as I’ve moved on to other salvias, but still it lingers.
I noticed it growing near the fence under the cypress and potted up some straggly shoots a month or so ago.
No sense in taking a survivor like that for granted.

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Welcome to the clean world.
Not glistening from the hose but from that holy of holies, August rainfall. That cussonia has already been moved elsewhere.
I’m on fire with pot shuffling lately, motivated by this shiny, new world.

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The cussonia will get more sun here. Naturally, table and chairs had to be moved nearby to admire the cussonia.
The rain’s shiny polish doesn’t last long, does it?

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The tall burgundy line in the background is drawn by a gawky Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum ‘Black Varnish,’ a plant that never loses its polish.
A tender tropical, there’s no problem overwintering it here, just that crazy legginess it gets the second season.

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Pinching it back doesn’t seem to help.

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More news on dark plants. Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline’ is faithfully performing her job of hiding the compost pile behind her massive girth.

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Since it’s clean, let’s take a walk on the east side.
Pots reshuffled against the fence that separates the front and back gardens on the east side, which has always been problematic for me.
Too many fences, gates, awkward angles, the canyon effect. Seen through the window behind the leggy pittosporum is the blurred shape of the east boundary hedge of dwarf olives.

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It’s such a great “breathing” space despite all the harsh angles, so I’m working on making it more inviting somehow. (On the cheap, of course.)
I’d love a long table and chairs and some great hanging lamps, so will keep it mostly empty until that fine day miraculously arrives. Until then, nothing terrifyingly big and spiky will be allowed here.
This entire east side was covered in overgrown oleanders when we bought the house, which made the house’s interior dark and gloomy.
The dark woodwork indoors gives the interior more than enough gravitas already. (Marty and I have the typical seesawing argument that takes place in old houses such as this:
Paint the interior woodwork white to brighten things up or leave it original? I always argue for keeping it original, but then I’m an impractical softie.)

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Speaking of terrifyingly big and spiky, Agave ‘Mr Ripple’ greets you through the Dutch door, usually left open during the day.

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Mr. Ripple’s lower spines near the walkway have been clipped back, but he still has his uppers.
Marty cannot wait for the day Mr. Ripple blooms (and dies).

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The copper pot is filled with rhipsalis and other hanging cactus. A Mina lobata is climbing up the iron scaffolding.
Apart from the pittosporum, now tree height, there’s currently not much planted in the narrow strip against the blue fence other than some succulents.
I’m enjoying the starkness of it all, but old habits die hard.

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I can’t stop adding stuff, like the giant tree aloe ‘Hercules’ to the right of the potted agave. But that’s it, I swear.

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The newly planted City Planter just moved in, the first attempt at planting anyway. It may need revision. (Too stark against the blue fence?)

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Currently planted with rhipsalis, Echeveria multicaulis, and the trailing blue echeveria, whose name I’ve forgotten. A couple sprigs of Sticks on Fire may or may not root.

At the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling, Lisa Calle, the raven-haired bloggess from Spain, was the rightful winner but graciously threw it back into the raffle since it didn’t fit inside her suitcase.
(Thank you so much, Lisa ! Thank you, Potted !)

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And that concludes the mini-tour of the rain-fresh east side. Mind Mr. Ripple on your way out!


Portland Pots It Up

There’s so many reasons for plants to spend some or even all of their lives in containers.
Aside from the practical reasons — fine-tuning sunlight, better drainage, more moisture, less moisture, special soil mixes, protection from chewing and digging creatures, the ability to shuttle plants indoors where a cold winter will be inhospitable and/or deadly — all these good and sensible reasons aside, containers provide strong graphic and framing opportunities that many of us find hard to resist. And it’s not like our infatuation with pots is new — the oldest pottery found in China dates back almost 20,000 years, so I’d argue that we’re just yielding to an age-old, irresistible impulse that impels us to seek out empty vessels brimming with so much potential. The gardens of Portland we toured exploited this graphic potential like nobody’s business.


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Euphorbia ammak would not survive the Portland winter were it not for the portability of the freckled chartreuse pots in Craig Quirk & Larry Neill’s Floramagoria garden designed by Laura Crockett.
A perfect example of the gorgeous joining hands with the practical. I love this soft color that blends so well with plants. (A year or so ago I found a pot with this same glaze at Rolling Greens in Culver City.)

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Potted’s wind chime revival


Relax, I’m not going to talk about the astonishing heat wave we’re having but something light and buoyant.

First, remember Ned Racine’s initial, fateful meeting with two-steps-ahead Matty in the movie Body Heat?

NED
You can stand here with me if you want, but you’ll have to agree not to talk about the heat.

(So she throws his words back at him at their second meeting, at the same time inveigling Ned into her home while the husband is away on business.)

MATTY
You’re the one that doesn’t want to talk about the heat. Too bad. I’d tell you about my chimes.

NED
What about them?

MATTY
The wind chimes on my porch. They
keep ringing and I go out there
expecting a cool breeze. That’s
what they’ve always meant. But not
this summer. This summer it’s just
hot air.

(Amen, Matty.)

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So I’m not going to talk about the heat at all, but wind chimes. Wind chimes are what I’m interested in today, this very hot minute. I think wind chimes are due for a revival. They’ve been relegated to the whimsy ghetto for far too long. Procrastinating on Etsy, hoping to find something inspired by Alexander Calder maybe, I found lots of chimes made of bike gears, keys, and kitchen utensils, some of which were surprisingly appealing. But the two examples above from Potted are some of the nicest I’ve found so far, although the one on the right is technically not a wind chime but a spiral mobile.

Keeping it light and buoyant this week.

Meet The Midge

I don’t know about you, but my thoughts in spring typically turn to…tables. Chairs, too, always chairs, but that’s another post.
But I have enough big tables. I just had this discussion with Marty at the flea market last Sunday when I spied a fantastic German beer garden table and benches.
Slim, narrow, with a deep orange top and long slender benches. What a cool and potentially raucous table/seating arrangement to end a long summer day.
I hovered, I asked the price, I lingered, I sighed, I walked away. I regretted.
But, seriously, where would I put it? Nowhere, that’s where.
It’s a sad day when you come face to face with the realization that you’re out of space for beer garden tables.

What I really need…

Oh, hello!


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Leave it to Potted to anticipate what I really need this summer. The Midge.

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So very Potted. Modern slouching into boho, with the subtle gleam and pattern of glass tiles.
It is for this very reason that I’ve never acquired a shoe habit. Two pairs of uncomfortable shoes or a Midge? Um, no contest.

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The Midge Table was designed by Annette Goliti Gutierrez and Mary Gray, the co-owners of Potted, who’ve brought us such new classics as The Circle Pot, The City Planter.

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And Annette and Mary really have our number, the bespoke one that loves the unique but hates the DIY mess. They’ve given us the option to customize Midge with contrasting “pixels.”
I know they’re looking forward to our endless deliberations on building and pixelating the perfect Midge.
Can the inner row be orange pixels, the outer row grey? No, wait, reverse that.
Okay, that’s my projection on customer relations. Potted’s version is girls going shopping.
They are the nicest, friendliest, cleverest, most helpful, ship-it-anywhere, yes-it-can-be-orange duo you’ll ever have the good fortune to know.

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Potted resolutely insists that their designs be made in the U.S. and that they never be something you’d even think of stowing in the garden shed at the end of summer.
You’ll bring them into your bedroom, your bathroom, your living room. Maybe your Midge never makes it outdoors at all.

We believe outdoor living is as important as indoor living. We are committed to seeking out and designing products that embrace this attitude and bring it home to your garden.”

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It’s been such a thrill to watch how Annette and Mary have taken the energy and enthusiasm for good design that blossomed in California mid-20th century, channeled it, personalized it, and focused it on the garden.
Their little shop in Atwater Village has now become one of the biggest and best sources for the well-designed garden.

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Beer garden table? What beer garden table? Hello, Midge…

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cross-pollination 9/29/12

Annette and Gustavo Gutierrez hosted another “Cross-Pollination” on Saturday. These get-togethers were initiated by garden designer Dustin Gimbel, who’s already hosted a couple dinners, and are a hybrid between a revolving conversation society and garden party. There was just enough time before nightfall for a few photos.

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The tantalizing aroma of Gustavo’s paella permeated their 100-year-old, two-story Craftsman (see Apartment Therapy’s tour here), while in the garden off the kitchen plumeria poured its scent into the warm night air. The Hollywood sign in the nearby hills, visible from the deck, along with the ring of palm trees encircling their street, are the kind of party props you just can’t rent.

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photo from Apartment Therapy.


Annette Gutierrez and Mary Gray, at their Atwater Village shop Potted, are providing Los Angeles a much-needed source for modern, vibrant options in outdoor design. (Now, via online sales, everyone else can get Potted too.) At home, Annette mixes many of Potted’s furniture and signature pottery with vintage chairs, built-in banquettes, tile-top tables by Tracey Reinberg’s line of Kismet cement tile, showing how bright-hued Fermob and Bend chairs and tables co-exist beautifully with other materials and styles.

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It’s wonderful to see a love of strong color and pattern spill out into the garden, bringing together an outdoor space that, instead of being considered an afterthought, is as personal, idiosyncratic, and irresistibly welcoming as what’s inside the house. Maybe more so. Where else but at a garden party can you be entertained by a dog eating avocados falling from the tree?

Thank you, Annette and Gustavo, for hosting a fabulous evening of Cross-Pollination.
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small space big style: Potted shows how it’s done

You’ve gotta get over to Potted’s blog to see their before-and-after photos documenting Potted’s contribution to the California Home+Design showhouse at The Hollywood Lofts.

Follow Potted’s step-by-step photos to find how they arrived at this:


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And this:
(Note the debut of Potted’s City Planter in white.)

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Annette and Mary mix modern and bohemian like nobody else.

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Congratulations on this amazing transformation to an open-air, outdoor room showcase at the Hollywood Lofts for CH+D.
I’ve got until November 18 to see it in person. Reservations can be made here.

Showhouse hours:
September 14 – November 18, 2012; Friday, Saturday & Sunday Only.
Friday: 10am – 2pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 3pm

Wrapping Up the Venice Garden & Home Tour 2012

The Venice Garden & Home Tour is an annual fundraising event, benefiting the children of the Neighborhood Youth Association’s (NYA) Las Doradas Children’s Center in Venice, CA. This self-guided walking tour showcases the unique homes and gardens of the creative Venice Beach community, with original homeowner style as well as the designs of renowned architects and landscapers. The Tour was conceived by Venice landscape designer Jay Griffith and Venice community leaders Linda Lucks and Jan Brilliot. NYA was founded in 1906, and has served thousands of “at risk” children and families in its 106 years.”

The last of the posts on this year’s abbreviated tour, having seen just a handful of the 32 homes and gardens. Maybe it was the food trucks that slowed us down this year, the scent of Korean BBQ and Indian curry wafting through the streets, seducing us to spend at least a full hour for lunch, unlike the forced marches of prior tours. This garden was originally designed by Jay Griffith, redesigned by Russ Cleta, so I’m not sure which designer deserves the award for largest agaves in a small garden setting. (The tour is a little Hollywoodish, after all.) These heroic agaves were such a force to be reckoned with that lemons were stuck on some of the spines near high-traffic areas for the tour.


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Continue reading Wrapping Up the Venice Garden & Home Tour 2012