Southern California’s Spring Garden Show started yesterday, 4/23/15, and continues through Sunday, 4/26/15.
It’s always held in the enclosed “Home Store Wing” of the South Coast Plaza.
This wing includes, among many other stores, Anthropologie, West Elm, Z Gallerie, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware — you know them by their envy-inducing catalogues.
Scuttlebutt at the show today suggested that these stores, while appreciating the customers the show has historically driven to their doors, decided this year to thin that plant-mad traffic out a bit.
Fewer plant vendors were allowed to participate so there would be more breathing room around the stores.
In another twist, the stores partnered with local designers to create the show gardens.
How did it all pan out? Judge for yourself.
And, relax, of course there were still tillandsias! There just weren’t multiple vendors with tillandsias. Redundancy was verboten this year.
And there was still a sexy agave or two (Agave guiengola ‘Striata’)
Orchid lovers still had lots to ogle. The epidendrums, or reed orchids, never miss a show.
A very lush and happy Abutilon megapotamicum grown on standard was in attendance.
As were a few bromeliad tables. This vendor had their flowers cut for a bouquet.
Succulents were fairly well represented. I’m always surprised at how beautiful a gasteria is in bloom.
But where were the really cool plants, the juicy show stuff?
I was on the prowl for the Flame Pea, Chorizema cordatum, which I had just seen at the Disney Concert Hall garden yesterday.
Up and down escalators to three floors, and no Flame Pea. Fine, I’ll just head over to the B&D Lilies table…okay, maybe not this year.
Admittedly, I was a bit let down at first at the reduced number of plant vendors.
So I headed over to Dustin Gimbel’s collaboration with Crate and Barrel and immediately cheered up.
So much of what I see in his own garden and shapes he’s been mulling over in his work came through in this display…if not my photos.
People, these are plant show photos, weird light, funny angles, arms and legs blocking shots, etc.
That’s a tiny glimpse of a majestic, over 10-foot Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ on the right.
I loved people-watching through this view
More of that blue/green screen, carefully sanded to let paint and wood bleed into each other.
Like stories within stories, Dustin always plays with visual framing devices.
Wands of hesperaloe weave through the octogon frames, some of which looked off kilter and precariously balanced.
Just another trick of the eye. All were sturdily fixed in place.
A hesperaloe to keep an eye out for, with heavily textured leaves and frothy blooms, ‘Pink Parade.’
Land Workshop’s collaboration with West Elm.
By and large, the designers all used simple materials, clean shapes.
And studying the materials used to build the displays was a crash course in effective screens and fencing sourced straight from the hardware store.
The corner is formed by pallets on end, the open top used as a planter.
The slapdash screening woven with wooden slats reminded me a bit of Stephen Glassman’s work with bamboo.
Behind the gentleman was a short flight of stairs leading to a small sitting area
A screen of aluminum pipes, painted in pastel shades, planted with Senecio vitalis.
Another crazy angled overhead shot to show how this small area fit together.
At ground level was a sweet mosaic table, potted plants, and a raised bar/dining area out of frame
This display garden was opposite the Apple store, and foot traffic was very heavy around the perimeter.
Another display I liked was designer Camille Beehler’s collaboration with Pottery Barn.
I was particularly interested in the walls, the puzzle-fitted cement backer boards behind the couches for one wall, corrugated siding for another.
Potted palo verde tree, couches, bar cart, corrugated screen
Multiples of blooming Aloe striata in square black planters on pavers edged in river stones
My humble critique? While this show may have stinted on plants, the designers came up with loads of good ideas to fool around with at home.
And, mercifully, there was a welcome absence of over-the-top outdoor kitchens/saunas/fireplaces, etc.
Next year I’m hoping that a better balance can be achieved that accommodates space for plant vendors, good design, and the needs of the stores themselves.