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Style : STYLEMAKER : Passion for Plants

May 19, 1991|ROBERT SAMUS

In her own lush Glassell Park garden, which covers four city lots, Christine Rosmini has woven a living tapestry of Mediterranean plants with a sense of style that's purely English. There are no peonies here; instead, there are lots of Pittosporum crassifolium 'Compactum,' one of her favorite shrubs. Paths and plant-filled beds abound, but lawns are conspicuously absent. "I never really liked grass lawns," Rosmini says, "though I can see why people do. But they always seem so wasteful--of water, space and effort--when you could be doing something much more interesting."

Rosmini's sensibilities have influenced an entire generation of Southern Californians since she designed her first garden in 1970. She became interested in plants when she killed a Boston fern given to her by a friend. "I saw it as a challenge," she says, and went on to greater things, "such as nasturtiums, which the gophers ate." Soon, though, plants were her passion, and now her garden designs are noted for their exuberant and studied use of plants. Gray-foliaged plants made their California debut in Rosmini's gardens as did many perennials. She has grown hundreds of plants new to California, and many have found their way into the nursery trade.

Today, her garden tops any English gardener's list of must-see gardens in Southern California.

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