04/11/2013 05:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Spectacular Garden Show at South Coast Plaza!


Andy Warhol's version of Botticelli's "Venus" will be done in flowers.

It may seem hard to believe, but this city-born guy enjoys visiting gardens! I find it is relaxing to walk among the flowers, inhaling the lovely smells of nature, and to settle back into that tranquil aura provided by untrammeled bushes. I have done a little gardening over the years, mainly growing illegal-substance bushes up at my house in the hills of Beverly, the buds of which were consumed by very happy deer. I have kept an herb garden outside of my apartment here in Beverly Hills, with a seed-starter provided by Debra Gunn Downing, one of the nicer gifts I've ever received. I have visited gardens all over the world, from those of France's Versailles (magnificent) to an 18-hole Japanese golf course with the smoothest lawns on the planet. I took a busride from Paris to Giverny to see the lily ponds and paintings of Claude Monet (breathtaking.) Which may explain why I am setting aside a long weekend beginning April 25th until April 28th to walk amongst the blooms and see the flowering sights at the 24th Annual Southern California Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza. It's the most highly-anticipated garden event on the West Coast, and this year's theme is particularly interesting: "The Garden as Art." It will feature display gardens which represent a specific art piece, an artist or a period of art. We'll browse the displays that have been created by landscape architects and university horticulture students during the four-day show.

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One exhibit at the flower show.

I'm told by Lee Healy of South Coast Plaza that there will be over 85 specialty garden lifestyle vendors offering everything from exotic plants to the latest garden accessories. There will be seminars and book-signings by nationally-known garden professionals and authors. For the kids, there will be garden projects, crafts, story tellers and exotic animal shows. Of particular interest to me will be the 20-foot tall floral centerpiece which is inspired by Andy Warhol's interpretation of Botticelli's Venus, being designed by Fiesta Floats. (A sketch of which I have attached here.) It is being created with a unique combination of paints and floral materials. Venus' flowing hair is being fashioned with dyhydrated safflower, red bell pepper and carrot flakes, with accents of gold straw flowers. Golden hybrid Vanda orchids, orange lilies and exotic Opal Parakeet helicornias will create the three-dimensional effect. Walnut shell, cinnamon spice and paprika make up the skin tones and shading, while black chives and deep brown flax seeds create the background for the famous painting. It should be quite a sight!

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Another exhibit at the show.

Because of my small herb garden outside of my window, I will be attending a seminar of "Herbal Gardens for your Pantry," to determine what else I can add to my aromatic collection. There will be session about 'Backyard Bees -- Keeping Hives Alive,' and the kids will learn about ladybugs. The show, which is free, will be open from early morning (10 a.m.) to late night (9 p.m.) Thursday-Friday; 8 p.m. on Saturday and close at 6:30 on Sunday. You know how get to the amazing South Coast Plaza... which is what I do: take the San Diego Freeway (405) to Bristol Street in Costa Mesa. Their number is 800-782-8888 or go to for more information. Be warned, there are some exciting, exquisite stores along the way, so if you do damage at Cartier, Hermes, Gucci, or Diane von Furstenberg, don't blame me. I'll be shopping at the new J.Crew Men's Shop...smelling of flowers, I hope.

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