Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza

A friend and I took in the Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza in Orange County last week.  The show, held in an up-scale shopping mall, is less about plants and gardens and more about home furnishings but it pulls in a lot of vendors with garden-oriented goods and some plants too so it's worth a visit.

My friend and I cruised through the displays on the first floor.  My favorite was the floral centerpiece created by Fiesta Floats.

Like the floats in the Pasadena Rose Parade, I think everything was meant to be created using natural materials.  Huge tulips, Iris, daffodils and other flowers soared 25 feet high.  Giant ladybugs and frogs occupied the lower level and over-sized bees and hummingbirds sipped nectar from the flowers overhead.


The other displays were heavy on furnishings and light on plants, although I noted an effort to include native and California-friendly plants in most of the displays.  Each featured a plant list; however, the plants in the exhibits didn't always match the lists, possibly because the displays' creators had difficulty locating their target plants when it came time to put their exhibits together.  I tried to find some garden-related idea of interest in each display but wasn't always successful.

Labeled "Chic Retreat," the furniture in this one didn't look appropriate to an outdoor setting to me but I liked the round pots

This one was called "Everlasting Reflections."  I liked the modern arbor and the pretty Japanese maples.

Entitled "Garden of Zen," the only thing I liked here was the artsy stone path

This one, called "Holistic Wellspring," was meant to combine an herbal apothecary with a meditation space (largely outside of view to the right).  I liked the pretty work space even if some of the furnishings looked as though they were meant only for indoor use.

"Living Pleasures" was created as an outdoor dining space, complete with a water feature created using wine bottles.  I took the laser-cut space dividers as metal at first but they were made of wood.

This is "Mise En Place," another outdoor dining and lounging area.  That vertical wall, featuring herbs of various kinds, was well done.  

Called "Up on the Roof," this one had me wondering how common roof-top or large balcony gardens are in Southern California.  Still, I liked the teak chairs shown in the foreground of this photo.

"Wings of Spring" featured a cute greenhouse constructed of old windows.  There was decorative bird cage containing a fairy garden scene, also constructed around a greenhouse.


Vendors with garden-oriented goods for sale occupied the top two levels of the mall.  I got tired of trying to frame photos around the ever-increasing mass of people in the mall and the generally poor lighting so I took relatively few pictures.  Shopping was my main preoccupation there anyway.

There were plants -  including bulbs, succulents, and orchids - for sale, as well as pottery, garden tools and the like

There was also a bonsai display.  While my friend discussed the oak tree specimen (center photo) with a representative, I talked to another about the "bonsai" succulent display (right).  I was told that the latter had been created as a tongue-in-cheek entry.  As I recall, it was at least 2 years old.


Other than a Protea bouquet, I bought no plants this year, which is unusual for me.  However, I didn't go home empty-handed.

Left is what was sold as a "starpod."  All I could find out was that it's a dried seed pod from South Africa.  In the middle is my latest Muradian pot purchase.  The poor photo on the right shows a container constructed of a coconut shell and vines.


While it isn't anything like garden shows presented elsewhere, it was a fun outing and I'll probably go again next year.  Apparently, 2019 will mark South Coast Plaza's 30th annual Spring Garden Show.  Maybe they'll pull out the stops.

For another review of this year's show, visit Hoover Boo at Piece of Eden.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. That's an interesting container, I like the streaks of bright blue. Are those Adenium obesum or Pachypodium? Hard to tell if they have spikes. I'd love to have another one or two desert roses.

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    1. They were Adenium obesum. They had a good selection but I couldn't say the prices were a bargain.

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  2. Your pot purchase is quite striking. I really like the color tone of the blue stripes. This garden show really highlights the garden to be a place of entertainment or relaxation, with people at the center of it, rather than plants. Do you have any garden shows that place more emphasis on plants?

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    1. The South Coast show wasn't always as furniture (outdoor room) focused but a few years ago the mall's major retailers took charge of it and now I think it's forever changed. We don't have anything on the order of the Northwest or Philadelphia garden shows. There was a "Chelsea West" garden show decades ago but it lasted just 2 years or so to my recollection. The best we can offer is open garden tours. They're often good but usually spread widely over a large urban area requiring a lot of slogging through traffic.

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  3. I do like the look of the Muradian pot. Any plans for it yet?

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    1. I tucked the new pot in my lath house, where most of my smaller pots are now. I haven't figured out what I want to put in it yet. After a flurry of selections for the lath house, I've hesitated to add more, waiting to see just how successful my first plants will be in that environment as summer's heat arrives.

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  4. I like the greenhouse made of doors. It has a nice rustic touch. And the Muradian pot. I hadn’t heard of Mark Muradian, but found reference to him on another of your posts.

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    1. I do love Muradian's pots. He lives and works in Fresno, California and sells his pots at a limited number of locations within our state and perhaps one or 2 others in the US Southwest. To my knowledge, one can't purchase his pots anywhere but through the various shows he attends. The South Coast show is the only one close to me.

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  5. It looks like you could find a lot of inspiration here even if you weren't expecting to.

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    1. I had to look hard for it, though, Lisa. Looking for the good, even in things I don't like off-hand, is a strategy I employed in my work life and I guess it's carried over into other venues.

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  6. The show looks fun and what fabulous pot!

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    1. It's fun even though the furniture sellers are in charge.

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  7. This show was definitely worth seeing, I like the "bonsai" cactus garden, it would be fun to make.

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    1. The creator of the "bonsai" cactus clearly had fun with the concept.

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  8. Hi Kris, It looks like you had a fun day. I love the Garden of Zen path, too. Great idea. It seems like any "fashion show" is unrealistic......like women's fashion shows, there are so many things the average person wouldn't consider for themselves but, interesting to see!

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    1. It was fun, although I admit I liked the exhibits a lot better years ago when the focus was on plants rather than outdoor furnishings.

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  9. You have a wonderful eye for finding attractive garden stuff, Kris. Both the pots are intriguing. I rather like the miniature succulent display too... sometimes tongue in cheek is better! ;-)

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    1. The woman who designed the "bonsai" cactus display meant it as a joke of sorts but she concluded that the joke was on her as its popularity has required its inclusion in all the exhibits since its creation.

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  10. What fun to go to the show, even if it was more furniture-centered. There were, indeed, some things to like about the displays. The garden of zen was hilarious. Glad you didn't come away empty-handed & your new pot is fab. Probably best not to get any more plants before you have to pack them all up for your move to Vashon:)

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    1. Unfortunately, I don't think my husband really wants to run a nursery...If only my brother-in-law would allow us to plunk one of those "tiny houses" on his property.

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  11. Ohhh...I really like the laser cut wood dividers. I too would have assumed those were metal. I wonder if this is a less expensive way to get the look of the metal ones, which I have long coveted.

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    1. Maybe you need to take up woodcraft, Emily! My guess is that, even in wood, those dividers are still expensive to buy from the designer.

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