"Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soul."
~ Bishop Reginald Heber
For 25 years, South Coast Plaza has delighted gardeners and wanna-be gardeners with visions of springtime.
Now is the season for miracles. A waist-high to a basketball player covey of quail, appear perfectly possible.
|The 20' tall birdbath floral centerpiece
Once upon a time, fields of beans grew on the flat land. Now a luxury mall, with the second highest sales per square foot on the West Coast, South Coast Plaza is a karmic setting for the spring garden tour season opener.
This is an event for all budgets; even no budget. Attendance doesn't require a ticket or parking fee. Just a parking spot and a pair of walking shoes.
|Backyard Bees sells luscious products made by tiniest workers
Trends are leadership translated into reality.
|Gourd Hobbit House by Living Art of Bonsai
Succulents. Simple capped posts with rain gutters planted with succulents- how cool a divider is this?
A pedestal birdbath is frosted in succulents. The silver creamer lighting up the deliciousness, just like a candle on a birthday cake.
Sustenance. This bowl reminded me of Scottsdale designer David Michael Miller's explaining an interior image for Western Art and Architecture- his philosophy includes: every room requires something live to ground the scene.
Some of the plants for sale were for their visual appeal alone, but not all. There was allot of action at the herb table. I'm not the only one with with basil on the kitchen counter.
Color: if it is is in the rainbow- choose what colors stir your heart, uplifts your spirit.
|Greenwood Gardens often sells at So Cal Hort Meetings.
Diversity is in.
John Schoustra, owner of Greenwood Gardens, helped me finagle my way onto a tag-along of the garden judges. Besides John, there was horticultural wizard Jay Rodriguez: author/ speaker Melinda Meyers. There was the beautiful Johanna Silver, Associate Editor at Sunset Magazine and John Gidding, host of Curb Appeal.
|John Gidding, photo courtesy of Wikipedia
|Melinda Meyers seriously comparing gardens to documents
|(L-R) Patty Nelson and John Gidding review the judging forms
A pro-am event, Jay Rodriguez explained the gardens are judged on a 100 point weighted scale. The elements considered were theme interpretation, originality, design, accessories, quality of construction, finishing, plant material and correct labeling.
While they rounded the gardens, checking once, twice, three times for their impressions to be accurate and fair, I aimed my camera at some elements for making a better garden.
|Design inspired by Thomas Church
Gardens need focal points. Some serious sculpture dominates this scene.
|Design by the Landscape Design Alumni Association of Saddleback College
|A vignette from the "Garden of Self- Realization"
Garden ornamentation, ancient through modern is au courant.
|Front side of "Mt SAC: On a Mission" display garden
A Japanese maple specialist's entry sprung from Ralph Waldo Emerson's words " Adopt the peace of nature: her secret is patience."
The reincarnated high- recycled content replica slices of tree trunks as stepping stones- some equipped with planting pockets...
The proprietress did not have the number of the person who bought the molds off the artist when he left the business- but you can contact Essence of the Tree through their website to find out.
The Rusted Rose looked to the Nixon Library Rose Garden for inspiration. "The First Lady's Garden" placed the roses named in honor of six first ladies, then carried the theme with other plant materials as well as decorative accessories found just up the road on the museum grounds in Yorba Linda..
Seating. Shelving. Decorative elements. Greenery. Retailer The Plant Stand detailed how the accoutrements of indoor living marry well to the outside landscape.
Soothing repetition can be created by disparate elements. Here, a vertical slice of tree trunk made into a bench is tinted and polished- an agreeable companion to the roses at its side.
|The first place college entry
Vega Landscape took second place in the professional competition with their gently swirling design. By limiting plant material, and laying the wooden pathway on the diagonal, they made a huge impression on a limited space. Note the uplit fountain at the end. Gardens should be enjoyable when the sun goes down.
Robert Irwin's use of multiple materials at the Getty Gardens inspired LandWorkshop, inc intricate weave of plant and building materials. Interesting from every angle, the judges voted this 3rd place in the professional category.
|Not pictured, the surfboard.
Back to Natives highlighted the joys of a simple garden. A couple Adirondack chairs set on a deck with sand washing over- seating areas are de rigueur.
Strollers through the mall paused in admiration of the tranquil beauty of the The Garden Gallery pond-dominated installation. Inspired by the Huntington Garden and Library Japanese Garden, it elements are replete with meaning . The event brochure explains "The use of old reclaimed wood in the design evokes age and stability, while the Koi in the pond provide interest, movement and good fortune."
|The 2nd place winner in College Category, an ode to California's seasons
The Landscape Design Alumni Association of Saddleback College in their own words to the judges, "Few Regions of the world offer the year round outdoor lifestyle of Southern California" (This design) "brings this home by placing you inside, gazing outside to the four glorious California seasons. With a nod to the iconic California design of Thomas Church and an eye for the sustainability we present;
"Golden fall, when the foothills shimmer.
Silvery green winter, bringing life sustaining rains.
The exuberant colors and life of a Southern California spring, when the air is filled with hummingbird buzz.
The seemingly endless summer of surf, sand and bloom."
Until we meet again, Thank YOU for all you do to make the world more beautiful.