LA Weekly, Best of LA, Yamaguchi Nursery  Best of LA


October 6, 2010

Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery – Best Backyard Inspirations

The Japanese garden district on Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles features three nurseries side by side, companion planted, as it were, for mutual benefit. Of them, Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery is the most artistic. As the name implies, bonsai is their specialty. But someone here has a keen eye for plant arrangements of all types — for the way in which dainty alyssum blossoms, say, complement a hefty profusion of petunias, mints and marjoram. Can a lowly house cactus inspire? It can here, jumbled into a pretty glazed clay pot with a squadron of weird little succulents.

The place feels like nothing so much as someone’s wonderful backyard. Everything in tight spaces. Life bursting out of every corner. Yamaguchi’s is a great place for wandering, and it helps that the plants are happy, fat and healthy. The abundance of beneficial insects — ladybugs, bees, lacewings — zipping about is a good sign, too. Sales ladies Michiko and Kate won’t mince words about which plants will thrive in shade and which require hours of blazing sun. Lest we forget, gardening is science as much as it is art. To some, it’s practically religion. If she’s in good humor (and detects that you have a sense of humor), Michiko may even offer to whisper a blessing over your newly purchased plants.

Gendy Alimurung

My L.A. Lifestyle Article on Yamaguchi Nursery




June 15, 2011

Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery – One of L.A.’s Best Kept Secrets

It is the weekend, and once again I find myself haunting my favorite nursery, for the fourth consecutive day this week. The quest for quality materials, unique plants and inspiration for my designs is an ongoing obsession for me.

As an advocate of shopping locally and supporting small businesses in my community, I discovered one of L.A.’s best kept secrets in town is Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery, located on Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles. This second generation family owned business specializing in Bonsai, with complete nursery stocks, and oriental landscaping materials is a gem!

Established by George Yamaguchi in 1949, Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery was first located on Sawtelle Blvd. and Olympic Blvd. Later in 1965, the nursery was moved and expanded to it’s current location at 1905 Sawtelle Blvd. In 2005, George Yamaguchi passed away and left an incredible legacy to his family, an established and community loved nursery along with his breathtaking private collection of Bonsai.

It is an honor to see Mr. Yamaguchi’s lifetime of work in Bonsai on display at the nursery in the Oriental landscaping materials area. There are many Bonsai from the Yamaguchi private collection.

The selection of landscaping materials available at this nursery is simply outstanding. Mrs. Yamaguchi and daughter, Marianne Yamaguchi are devoted to introducing unique, new, and forgotten varieties of plants to their inventory.

The Oriental landscaping selection of Japanese maples and Bonsai at Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery is fabulous. The Australian and New Zealand assortment of grasses, bushes and shrubs are loved by inspired landscape designers. The drought tolerant California native flowering plants/ shrubs/trees collection is splendid. The much sought after classic topiary in globe, pyramid, cube, spiral, single and double poodle forms  (in boxwood, juniper and wax leaf privet) are of excellent quality and affordable. The fruit tree and rose area is a feast for the eyes and senses. The wide variety of boldly colored blooming perennials and annuals will entice you to add a pop of color to your garden.

Love modern landscape design?  The newly expanded pottery area, and a cactus /succulent section now dominating the rear of Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery is totally worth exploring.

Looking for fragrant flowers? Their exquisite hybrid tea roses, gardenia and Burmese honeysuckle vine are perfect way to perfume any garden. Hybrid tea roses roses are available in a rainbow of colors: pale to hot pinks, purples, bold red, vibrant orange, sunshine yellow, and snow white.

Seeking a classical Mediterranean style garden? Brilliant geranium hanging baskets are all the rage this summer in fun colors: hot pink, lipstick red, coral orange, burgundy and white.

Want a more color? Bougainvillea is another great way to add color are used in both Spanish and Mediterranean landscape design. The attractive colorful flowers will add a romantic touch to any home. Available in candy purple, ruby red, pink, and sherbet orange. Australian  Kangaroo Paw plant is also now in bloom. This lush green plant has a grass foliage base with tall 3-4 foot stocks and bloom soft velvet flowers, available in Indian yellow, rust orange and ox-blood red.

The selection of fruit trees, vegetables, salad greens, herbs, melons, and berries at Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery is ever changing! The current inventory of summer tomato’s in black, purple, green, yellow, and deep red wine tones now available is simply tops! I particularly love this years late spring/ early summer selection of Japanese vegetables and herbs: Japanese kabocha squash, Kyoto amanga pepper, shishito Japanese pepper, Japanese long purple eggplant, green/ purple Shiso herb, soybean edamame, Natsu Suszumi Japanese cucumber, and spiny Japanese Suyo cucumber.  Yummy!

Like it hot? Looking for hottest (scoville burn rating) peppers to grow this summer? Here are a few items that caught my eye: ‘Thai hot culinary peppers’ (five times hotter than a jalapeno), habenero (scoville rating of 3,000 plus) and the legendary hot ‘Fatilii pepper’ (scoville rating is 300,000).

Loyal customers, landscape designer’s and avid gardeners all appreciate being able to acquire superior quality plants, and hard to find items. Visit Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery today, and see why this sanctuary of nature is so loved by everyone.

Tips For Shopping at Yamaguchi Bonsai Nursery

Plants at this nursery are healthy, beautiful and truly go fast! If you see something you love don’t hesitate to go for it! I recommend making a pile of your finds at the front area or on a cart.  Kindly ask one of the knowledgeable nursery staff members to write you up for check out. If you need more of anything, you can have it special ordered at the front desk. A small parking lot is available, and there is plenty of metered street parking. Put plenty of change in the meter as you want to take your time strolling around.

Designer Summer Picks for a Vegetable Garden or Raised Bed Garden

Alpine strawberries (producing small sweet and aromatic wild berries spring – fall), lemon balm (great in hot tea),‘Paul Robeson’ black tomato (one of the most highly regarded of the black tomato varieties), ‘Purple Charokee’ tomato (legendary, juicy and delicious), red Italian dandelion (makes wild summer salads), Queen Anne’s pocket melon (small fruit with white flesh and extremely fragrant), and red or green mustard greens, Thai Basil, and ‘cymbopogon’ lemon grass.

Special thanks to Mrs. Yamaguchi, Marianne Yamaguchi, and all whole Yamaguchi Staff. I am grateful to you all for making my projects thrive and grow! Thank you for sharing your kindness, wisdom, and gardening tips with me over the years.

Tara Feld, Landscape Designer (www.TaraFeldDesign)