Friday, May 3, 2019

The garden show in a mall

While Southern California supports numerous Spring garden tours, we don't have much in the way of garden shows.  We have "home and garden" shows but their focus is most definitely on homes rather than gardens.  There used to be a few real garden shows here but most have disappeared.  The South Coast Plaza Spring Garden Show celebrated its 30-year anniversary in late April.  Held in an upscale mall in Orange County, it features a range of small display gardens and attracts a variety of vendors with plants and garden-related merchandise.  Sadly, in recent years the displays have been more about outdoor furniture (and furniture purporting to be of use outside), usually sold by one of the home goods stores occupying the mall.  I still go, mainly to check out the vendors' stalls, but I always check out the display gardens too.

Mall lighting makes it difficult to take photographs and many of the displays didn't warrant close examination anyway but I'll share a handful, as well as the central display created by a firm that constructs floats for our New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade each year.

The Under the Sea display was created by Fiesta Parade Floats

This was my favorite display, called 'Green Attitude'.  It was envisioned as a home office with a view into an adjacent garden.

This one was called 'The Secret Garden'

This one, featuring an outdoor bar, was called 'Taste of spring'

I liked the rustic succulent planter in this display called 'Meandering Time'

This one, featuring bar seating directly next to a humongous grill, was called 'Gather Round'.  I liked the variegated Furcraea, the lines of which were softened by Acacia 'Cousin Itt' and ornamental grasses.


There was also a display created with visitors in search of selfie opportunities in mind.

I don't do selfies


As I'd scheduled a lunch date with a friend and former co-worker several miles away, I had less time to shop the vendor stalls than I'd have liked.

Garden decor

Lots of plants

Mark Muradian's pottery: I own a few of his pots and was sorely tempted to buy another on this visit


At least the time limit kept my spending under control.

I passed on the pots on this occasion but picked up Begonia 'Little Darling', an unidentified variegated Hoya, and these nutshells strung together to support Tillandsias


I had a nice lunch catching up with my friend and then, since I was less than a mile from Roger's Gardens, I stopped there for a brief spin before heading to the freeway.

Cool (if expensive) hanging planter near the entrance

This vertical garden area is updated regularly.  Buddha holds court this Spring.

Views of 3 sides of the entry area demonstration garden, updated seasonally

This waterwise garden area was also updated since my last visit.  I loved this iteration.

Russell hybrid lupines - so tempting but so short-lived in my climate

Two planted chairs, one featuring herbs and the other featuring succulents


Although I spent no more than an hour at Roger's, I still managed to make a few purchases.

My takeaways: Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin', Achillea ptarmica 'Peter Cottontail', Aeonium 'Fiesta', and Zinnia and Helianthus seeds


For the record, I didn't buy any plants this week!  After all, I still have several that still need planting.

Enjoy your weekend!


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

20 comments:

  1. Mark Muradian's pottery is so wonderfully textured, and I love that some of them are footed. I'd have been tempted. Love the planted chairs at Roger's too. Next year or maybe the year after, you have got to make it up here for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

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    1. I LOVE Muradian's pottery. It was the principal draw for me as he doesn't sell by mail order and only does one or 2 shows in SoCal. The pots are pricey - even the smallest one I looked at was $45 and those that attracted me the most were double that or close to it. As I've already got a problem with where to tuck my existing pots during the upcoming remodel, I decided to wait until next year, although I almost immediately regretted that decision.

      I do want to make it up to your show/festival next year. It's fairly clear to me that my husband isn't excited about driving to Seattle in February (and, with his vertigo, he's not willing to fly) so I've started drumming up interest among a couple of my local friends.

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  2. The best part was the Fish Under The Sea thing in the middle. Also the designers who used a big pink plastic light-up lotus flower the last two years were either not there, or skipped using it this year. Yay!

    So ignorant am I, didn't even realize those wings on the wall were for selfies or the new vaunted Instagram Influencers.

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    1. I'd completely forgotten about the plastic lotus flower people! This year's displays were firmly planted (pun intended) in the furniture sale category, though. At least some of the display creators went to the effort of posting information on the plants they used.

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  3. "The garden show in a mall"... the title says exactly what the pictures sum up. How odd it is. I am curious to see more of the nutshells strung together to support tillandsias, I hope you'll share a photo when you have them in use.

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    1. Given the relative ferocity of the winds we've been experiencing on a nearly daily basis, I'm not sure how smart that nutshell hanger was, Loree. I've already lost one Tillandsia clump to the wind (unless it was the raccoons who stole it).

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  4. This seems like more of a 'lifestyle' show to me, and at least it wasn't full of the schmaltzy county fair type vendors that are a fixture now at the SF Garden Show. And of course having to actually enter a mall is a real drawback for me !

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    1. Oh, there were at least a couple of those country fair vendors but, interestingly, fewer than in prior years, Kathy. The mall group controlling the event scaled down the number and variety of garden/plant vendors to a pitiful level a few years back and I think they got hit between the eyes in terms of feedback.

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  5. I thought the plant vendors were really good this year. There was a succulent table with a surprisingly good aloe selection. And I was glad to see Dustin's ceramic totems in his display garden.

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    1. I saw Dustin's totems at the show and later at Roger's. I'm glad to see he's doing so well!

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  6. I really like the Mark Muradian pottery and the mixed planter chairs. Not sure if you've grown Achillea ptarmica before, but be warned, it is stoloniferous and quite invasive. I keep mine corralled in submerged pots and divide annually.

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    1. Thanks for the heads-up, Eliza. I haven't grown that species of Achillea before. In fact, it's the first time I've seen it for sale here. The area I planted it in is one of the areas in my garden that kills most plants so its first test is whether it can survive there but, if it starts reproducing like a bunny, I'll pull it!

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  7. I think you did good not buying much. Those pots...you must have will power of steel. I think I would have had to have one of them. They are so unusual. I like the colors too. It is fun to see these displays, plants etc. I wouldn't have known what those angel wings were for either. I don't do selfies.

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    1. Well, passing on the pots was easier because I already have three. They're all different, though, so it's hard to turn my back on them each time I see them. Hopefully, Muradian will be back at next year's show when our remodel is in the rear view mirror.

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  8. Not a gardening show as you say Kris but still an interesting little diversion I would imagine. I could well be seriously tempted by those pots. Begonia 'Little Darling' is most aptly named. I'm going to be singing the Beatles 'Octopus's Garden' for the remainder of the evening 😄

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    1. The mall - or rather the contractor, Fiesta Parade floats - always does a great job on that central display.

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  9. Forget petunias, I want one of those hanging succulent planters...the DIY, much less costly version though ;) I also loved the "Secret Garden" - once the fountain is turned on (I'm assuming that's a fountain?), what a wonderful hideaway that would be.

    I know what you mean about some of these "garden" shows - it seems as if so much of what's on show is furniture and hardscaping. I mean, that's all well and good, but what a gardener really wants to see is plants!

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    1. I loved that hanging planter at Roger's too. I meant to take a look in their container area to see if empty planters were available. I hope to get back there later this month and I'll check then.

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  10. Too bad you don't do selfies as those wings would look great on you! Muradian's pottery is fabulous. You think like a true plant addict - carrying a basket of purchased plants - "For the record, I didn't buy any plants this week." Amen sister. We can quit any time we want to, right?

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    1. Oh, I have no illusions about my ability to quit buying plants, Peter. The best I can do is avoid places that sell plants - for a week or two.

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