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Star Jasmine Happens

September 03, 2000|ANDREW BENDER

The new Hydrant Cafe on Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard offers mint-flavored tennis balls, books on doghouse architecture and wrought-iron booths with water bowl and leash hookups. But even upscale pooches have accidents. In the outdoor cafe area, the Hydrant's owners planted star jasmine to help mask the embarrassing aftereffects that might occur if master is too sidetracked by the cafe's people food to take Fido on that needed walk.

Star jasmine's white flowers are some of the most fragrant around, says Paul Belanger of Belanger Landscape in West Los Angeles, who planted the garden. "It's very sweet when it's in bloom, and in the sun, with plenty of water, it will bloom profusely." It's also said to calm stressed-out humans.

The plant hasn't been road-tested at the Hydrant yet. "We haven't had any pooping," says co-owner Savana Loring, "although we have two poop-bag stations." Has coffeehouse culture really come to this?

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