One Day in LA : A Guide for Garden Enthusiasts

December 4, 2009

Though my trip was filled with family and holiday celebrations, I got one day in LA all to myself….and this is how I spent it.  It’s a good itinerary and if you are interested in gardens and garden design…you couldn’t do better than this to see a lot of southern California garden inspiration in a short amount of time.

Map of Places destinations for the garden minded LA Tourist

I started with the Peace Awareness Labrynith and Garden located at 3500 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles.  They are generally closed to the public on Mondays (when we showed up), but very sweet receptionist happily let us in anyway and even offered to let us have lunch with the staff.  You can tour the historic house and the gardens which include a labyrinth as well as rills and water channels throughout that are reminiscent of the Alhambra in Spain.

water feature at the peace awareness garden labryinth in Los angeles LA

I simply love this plant!

burro tail plant at the peace awareness garden in los angeles california LA

mosaic tile rill alhambra water channel peace awareness garden los angeles

We ventured on from the Peace Awareness Garden to check out Berbere Imports on La Cienega Culver City.

If you are from Boston and know about Mohr & McPherson, imagine that, but multiply it by a hundred and add alot more pieces that can go outdoors.  It is THE place to go for giant Buddha heads, interesting objects, huge metal bowls (perfect for fire pits and planters) and beautiful exotic urns.  It’s a trade only place so make sure you take a designer along with you.  My favorite item…though I am not sure where I would place one, were these primitive grain hulling boards, made from embedding sharp stones into wood…they were so beautifully textural.

grain hulling grinding board primative garden accessory rustic stone and wood

Continuing, we headed to West Hollywood to the Thomas Schoos offices.  Out back, Thomas has created an overwhelming garden that serves as an attractive entertaining place for clients as well as a perfect sleeping spot for the offices many dogs.  Make sure you call ahead if you want to make a visit, they were very accommodating but remember this garden is only accessible by walking through their design studio offices.

submersed buddah in the thomas schoos garden in los angeles west hollywood california

The water feature and Koi pond has a hidden surprise, as you round the corner, you come to see this guy….what looks like a giant Buddha taking a bath.

The whole place has a very enclosed feeling.  It is a full garden and often when you look overhead you see green, but above it all is a series of effective but un-obtrusive shade sails.  I haven’t yet shared with you my experiences with shade sails (its not all good – and I hesitate because I am embroiled in ongoing litigation) but it was nice to see a successful shade sail project.

shade sails as the thomas schoos garden in west hollywood los angeles

Thomas Schoos is an exciting LA designer.  The rooms he creates have an apothecary-esque feel to them, and his garden is no different.  This is his bonsai garden, and it is filled with all varieties of tiny trees in beautiful pots.

ubmersed buddah in the thomas schoos garden in los angeles west hollywood california

outdoor kitchen at the thomas schoos design studio garden in los angeles hollywood california

The outdoor kitchen is completely kitted out — and to top it off, over to the left (outside of this shot), there is a wood fired pizza oven (what every office needs, really).   The most interesting feature in the kitchen is the back wall which has stones attached and orchids growing from each, only achievable in LA but a lovely idea and worthy of copying (with other types of plants ) elsewhere.

orchid rock wall thomas schoos deisgn studio los angeles hollywood california

From The Schoos tudio we hopped over to the Virginia Robinson Gardens.  Virginia Robinson (of Robinsons-May fame) was, until her death at 99 years old in 1977, the grand dame of Beverly Hills.  She left her 6 acre property to the city of Los Angeles to maintain and open to the public.  We, unfortunately came when it wasn’t open…but I found some pictures here and there…its on my list for next time.

We followed our way down Santa Monica Blvd towards the water until we came to PCH and hooked a left.  First stop (which we skipped in the interest of time) was the Sherman Library and Gardens.  We were getting late in the afternoon and wanted to miss traffic so we moved this to the list of another day as well, but it looks so interesting and I would love to see the Icelandic poppies.

sherman library costa del mar california santa monica icelandic poppies

image from L’esprit Sud Magazine

On to Rose street in Venice just a couple blocks away to the Big Red Sun shop.  It was small but full of inspiration.

big red sun garden in venice beach california

big red sun garden in venice beach california

green roof birdhouse - big red sun garden in venice beach california

Green roofed bird houses and bunny hutches might be my favorite thing – I can’t decide between that and the silver owl looking out over the whole courtyard.

big red sun garden in venice beach california

big red sun garden in venice beach california

I love this cactus tree, I have plans for something similar in an oak in my backyard.  Using macrame hangers I plant to give all my houseplants a summer vacation.

big red sun garden in venice beach california

The final stop — which we didn’t make it to…was the home of Gonzalo Duran and Cheri Pann. It is famed and well know amongst locals for having covered the whole place, inside and out, with mosaics.  Check out the website…it looks worth the visit for sure.  Thank you so much to all of you who helped me out with suggestions, I found so many places I would not have otherwise come across.

REgister now!

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  1. how it grows says:

    Great tour!

  2. michelle d. says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you had the opportunity to see so many wonderfully inspirational places.
    Next time I come to Boston I will have to give you a call so you can update me and give me the scoop of great places to see in Bean Town.
    Michelle D.

  3. louise garwood says:

    Tip for starting a diverse collection of cool cacti- biology and ornamental greenhouses at colleges and universities propagate and cull their collections with some regularity- I know Durfee Conservatory at UMASS Amherst used to hold a sale of these rooted cuttings.

    Thanks for the good pics from your travels, Rochelle- I dont know about you, but this time of year I begin to get Mediterranean envy- need a project in Cali!

  4. Helen says:

    Love the succulents! But, as a mosaic artist, the tip to see the mosaic covered home of Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran had to followed. Wow, thank you so much! Wonderful and inspiring. Like a double dose of Gaudi and La Maison Pique Assiette.

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