I had the pleasure of visiting a plant nursery this morning and was reminded of how these often-hidden shops really are the little gems of the city. The instant you enter one, you forget about the endless six lane roads, LED billboards and mini malls, and become completely engulfed by a lush and fragrant little world.
I’d say that there are a dozen or so nurseries on the Westside, where I live, and each one has its own character. Some are more polished and ritzy (yes, even plant stores can be high-end here) but I tend to gravitate towards the gritty, less-travelled ones that are tucked away and over-grown.
Today I visited one just off Venice Boulevard, a few minutes from my home. Hidden behind a car wash and fast food restaurant, once inside, you’d never know that you’re still in the middle of the city. The air is suddenly cleaner, bees and dragonflies abound and the light reflecting on all those little green leaves seems to sparkle.
I spent a good half hour there, coffee in hand, walking through the gorgeous plants and observing the antics of all the guys working there. The watching is part of the fun for me, too. Watering, shoveling gravel and top soil, deadheading old roses – I could be anywhere, at any point in time. It also reminds me that not all people here are preoccupied with their cars or perfectly styled hair.
As simple as it seems, each time I visit one of these little nurseries, I feel refreshed and re-energized. Even optimistic. I’m reminded that even with all the craziness of living in Los Angeles, there is still much beauty (and even nature) to be enjoyed, if you know where to look.