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Venice's urban potting green

Juicy Leaf gives apartment dwellers a place to putter with their plants. 'This is the kind of shop I longed for during the 10 years I lived in the city,' says owner Felix Navarro.

August 22, 2009|Debra Lee Baldwin

Apartment dwellers with no room for potting up plants now have a place to do it.

"This is the kind of shop I longed for during the 10 years I lived in the city," says Felix Navarro, 35, who recently opened the Juicy Leaf in Venice.

Navarro, who specializes in container gardens, named the store for the sculptural succulents that characterize his designs. As he creates sleek compositions on the store's small patio, a nearby planting station makes puttering possible for customers.

"People are welcome to bring their own plants or containers, or select them from the store," Navarro says, adding that he offers customers as much or as little help as they want.

"People like not having to get their homes dirty or having to buy a big bags of potting soil," he says. "Where would they put them?"

Walk-in traffic has been brisk, including Meg Ryan, Sheryl Crow and David Arquette, he says. Celebs have yet to plunge into the potting mix, but Navarro's "gifts for the urban gardener" appear to have struck a chord with everyone. In the works are planting parties where customers will be able to spend the whole afternoon here. "That's the vibe I'm after," Navarro says.

1221 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 907-5019; www.thejuicyleaf.com.

-- Debra Lee Baldwin

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