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Los Angeles Garden Show : Garden Show Will Celebrate 'Second Spring'

September 22, 1996|ROBERT SMAUS | TIMES GARDEN EDITOR

In Southern California, fall is the best time to plant almost anything, from a few pansies to a whole new landscape. Many call it our "second spring" because of the gardening opportunities it presents.

The best place to get excited about this special season is at the 1996 Los Angeles Garden Show, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times and Robinsons-May. The second annual show opens on Oct. 23 and runs through Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Last year more than 40,000 people attended the show, which is growing this year to cover nine acres at the Arboretum of Los Angeles County.

Those who attend this year's show will leave ready to make the most of the fall planting season. For example:

* They'll find plenty of landscaping ideas at the many small stylish gardens created just for the show by some of the Southland's best garden designers and nurseries.

* They can learn more about the craft of gardening at the many talks and demonstrations, including a daily talk I will give called "Secrets From the Potting Shed."

* In an area dubbed Harvest Hill, there will be vegetable and herb gardens, food-related vendors, and talks and demonstrations on garden-related cookery by the staff of The Times Food section and other expert cooks.

* The designer table-scapes sponsored by Robinsons-May, which were so popular at last year's show, will return with a collection of garden-related interior designs, each housed in its own tent.

* Also returning will be the rose gallery, this year featuring floral arrangements paying tribute to European royalty.

* When attendees tire of walking, they will find several areas, expanded from last year, where show-goers can get gourmet coffee, a snack or lunch.

* And for those who think a good gardening hat is the single most important garden accessory, there will be a special display of floral hats by some top milliners. Robinsons-May also will present a fashion show of garden garb.

* Those who attend may shop for new plants, tools and garden accessories at the expanded marketplaces and, because of the time of year, go home and get right to work in their gardens.

In this respect, the show is perfectly timed. In other parts of the country, garden shows are held near the end of winter, when gardeners are really looking forward to the coming of spring. The Seattle show, for instance, is held in February.

But in the Southland, gardeners should be getting excited right about now--in the fall, after our long, hot summer.

*

From the beginning of October to the end of November is the best time to plant most things in our climate, and it's the only time to plant those lovely flowers and delicious vegetables that flower or mature in winter and spring, when much of the country is buried under snow.

Trees, shrubs and perennials do especially well if planted in the fall. At this cooling time of year, with the sun sinking lower on the horizon, they quickly root into the ground so they are much easier to care for. Rains help with the watering and there are few pests or diseases about. Results are almost guaranteed.

Besides its timing, the Los Angeles show is special because it's held outdoors. Others, including the Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Boston shows, are held indoors. So the designer gardens planted just for the show are real, even if they last only a few days.

The style gardens will show off the latest landscape ideas and materials. The theme this year, "The European Influence," illustrates the trend toward classically inspired gardens that draw heavily on the past.

Working with wrought iron and orange trees, lavender, lamb's ears and rosemary, landscape architect Carey Orwig is constructing a classic formal Italian garden. It will combine "lots of classical elements," said Orwig, including terraces, a loggia and a fountain with the three faces of Bacchus.

"Gertrude and Millicent's English garden," by Susie Lamb-Buchman of the Daisy Digger Landscape Co., will star two proper English ladies working in their turn-of-the-century flower-filled garden. Lamb-Buchman likes to people her gardens with nearly life-size doll-like figures, so the life-like Millicent will be quietly sipping tea while Gertrude pulls weeds among the roses and perennials.

Many of the plants in this garden will be chosen because they attract birds or butterflies. There will also be a tiny herb garden and a lawn set up for a game of croquet. If croquet is not your cup of tea, designer Robert Cornell will be installing a whimsical Scottish putting green in his display garden.

Janie Malloy of Home Grown Edible Landscaping plans to "break all the rules" with her French "Le Potager," mixing vegetables with herbs and flowers in a design for a frontyard, complete with mailbox. There will be a Belgium fence of espaliered Asian pears, tomatoes on tepees, even a compost pile and wheelbarrow at the ready.

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