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  • Pamela Froman

Superbly Stunning Spring – It's On Its Way!


Spring is coming – it's just around the corner! The flowers will bloom, the weather will be warm, and it's a great time to relax and reflect. Create a imaginative space through planting or visiting a garden, checking out a gallery or chilling out to jazz music. Or go outdoorsy by grabbing your fishing pole and heading out to try your luck. And of course ring in the season by looking your best with the latest trends in spring fashion.

Gorgeous blooms and leafy greens are easy to come by here in Los Angeles. Stop and smell the flowers at a stunning botanical garden such as the one at the Huntington Library. The huge expanse offers up various foliage from a desert garden, peaceful Japanese grounds and bamboo forest, and amazing Chinese-inspired pavilions and bridges. Make sure to enjoy a closer look at the magnolias, narcissus and flowering peaches that are in season. www.huntington.org

With more than 600 types of camellia on display, a great garden to explore is Descanso Gardens. Enjoy the gorgeous colors of over 1,600 roses with their beautiful heady scent. There are also lilacs, orchids, ferns and native plants. Cross an arched bridge and walk on shaded paths along a koi-filled stream to the Japanese tea house! This is especially striking in the spring when nearby pink cherry and plum trees are in bloom. www.descansogardens.org

The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys offers up bridges and footpaths that circle along a central pond, with stunning rockwork, trees and tea houses. Walk through a dry Zen meditation garden, then on through the expansive chisen, or "wet strolling" garden with waterfalls, lakes, trees, and stone lanterns. Located on the grounds of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant adjacent to Woodley Park, the garden’s purpose was to demonstrate a positive use of reclaimed water – which it does in spades. http://suihoen.thejapanesegarden.com/new/

If you want to explore striking gardens head over to Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks. There are some amazing horticultural displays. The French Garden offers up a magnificent, cascading waterfall along with low-lying hedges and flowers of vibrant colors, arranged into intricate designs. You can relive the early history of California in the authentic Mission Courtyard where colorful hand painted murals and a Spanish fountain grace the courtyard. There is even a spot to listen to tunes as you enjoy the view with an authentic replica of an American Bandstand that provides a stage for concerts along with a picnic area. www.gardensoftheworld.info

If you want to create your own vegetable garden this time of year is perfect! Some of the best veggies to plant in spring include basil, beans, beets, carrots, chives, cilantro, corn, cucumber, dill, egg plant, green bunching onions, lettuce, onion, parsley, parsnip, peas, peppers, radish, spinach, strawberries, squash, sunflower, swiss chard, tomatoes, and thyme.

To get started plant lettuce (and other salad greens), carrots, beets parsnips, radishes, spinach, purple beans in the ground. Plant early tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, summer squash in containers.

Pick a spot for your vegetable garden that offers access to both sun and shade. Work the soil up to a depth of 6 inches, mix in organic fertilizer, smooth it out, and you’re ready to plant!

February is a rainy month, so your plants will flourish. There is no excuse not to get started! Keep in mind that soil needs to dry before planting. This is a great time of year to plant roses and deciduous fruit trees as well. However, these plants will require annual pruning to keep them flowering and beautiful for seasons to come.

Camellias are also abundant in gardens during the early spring season. Plant them high, with an inch of the root ball above ground so the base of the plant is not covered by soil. This will ensure that the plants are strong and healthy.

If you want to socialize with fellow garden lovers, check out the Westlake Village Garden Club. They sponsor annual garden tours featuring private gardens in the Conejo Valley. “Our Tour” is a celebrated fundraiser with proceeds that benefit college scholarships and a multitude of conservation groups. Events coming up include a discussion on “California Native Plants”
by Lily Singer of the Theodore Payne Foundation and “Horticulture from Member Gardens”
with Barbara Morse on March 7. Their annual plant sale takes place April 4. http://westlakevillagegardenclub.org

The spring garden tour season offers many bloom-friendly events, where you can explore private gardens or go on neighborhood walks. The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants offers a self-guided native plant tour with more than 40 gardens in Los Angeles. It takes place this year on April 1 - 2. www.nativeplantgardentour.org

Another way to enjoy the beginning of the spring season is to break out your rod and go out to try your luck with the fish. There are many spots in So. Cal that offer fishy fun!

Deep sea fishing offers up a variety of fish that land lubbers can't take advantage of. Climb aboard the “Redondo Special” or “The New Hustler” at Redondo Beach Special Sport Fishing and for $45 you'll a cruise on the water and some boat-based angling. The operation sells fishing licenses and bait and rents rods and tackle. You'll capture a variety of fish, such as rockfish, ocean whitefish, California sheepheads, sand bass, red snapper and sculpin. www.redondospecialsportfishing.com

Although Echo Park Lake is in an urban area, (it's just a mile west of Dodger Stadium) it is the perfect place to cast a line. Carp is the fish to catch here, but there is also catfish, bluegill, rainbow trout, and largemouth bass. Catch-and-release is recommended. www.laparks.org/aquatic/lake/echo-park-lake

Another stocked urban lake is Lincoln Park Lake, just a short drive from downtown. It's a great place for an afternoon of fishing and is another carp-filled spot. There is catfish too! www.laparks.org/aquatic/lake/lincoln-park-lake

For the thrills of saltwater fishing without the hassle of chartering a boat, check out the Venice Beach Fishing Pier. This 1300-foot length spot lets you get far enough out to catch humongous fish. Halibut, barracuda, queenfish, sharks, and white sea bass are swimming around the pier just waiting for your bait! Be sure to have the proper equipment to haul up your catch. No fishing license is required on California piers. www.laparks.org/venice

Santa Monica Pier is another place for ocean-fishing anglers to hang. This pier is huge – over 2000 feet – and offers several layers to fish from. The pier is popular, so expect crowds. Halibut is the fish to catch, with yellowtail, seabass, and mackerel as the more common species. If you cast your line toward the end of the pier, you may even be able to snag sharks and rays. http://santamonicapier.org

Los Angeles has a handful of freshwater rivers that are ideal for fishing, and these rivers are open all year-round. Fish include wild trout, carp, minnows, bass and bluegill. To legally fish in any of the rivers in Los Angeles County, you will need a valid fishing license. Check out the Los Angeles River, San Gabriel River in Azusa, and Little Rock Creek in Palmdale.

It's not exactly fishing, but watching the California grunion spawning on the beach is an amazing experience. Spawning season runs from March through September, so head out to Hermosa and check out these silver beauties beach themselves in a spawning mania. You can capturing these slick fishies during open season, but only with your bare hands – no nets are allowed. www.hermosabch.org

You can try your luck casting a line at local fishing hotspot Troutdale in Agoura Hills. Troutdale has two ponds that are fully stocked with fish. For $7, you get a bamboo fishing pole, corn bait and bucket. For another $5 you can buy worms and powerbait. If you catch a fish, you must keep it – no throwing it back in the pond. Fish prices range from $6 to $11. Cleaning is available for $1.50 per fish. There is a $20 penalty for throwing a fish back in the pond. www.allyoucanfish.com

Jazz is the perfect way to mellow out and have a great evening. The soothing music flows and lets you just chill out. There are plenty of local venues where you can experience these soulful tunes.

Check out the Baked Potato in Studio City. The Baked Potato is the area's oldest jazz club – since 1970! The Baked Potato's motto is that it is run by musicians, is for musicians, and features great music! Plus you get to be up close and personal with the artists. Upcoming shows include Jeff Lorber, Scott Kinsey, John Novello, Allen Hinds, Alex Machacek, Jeff Richman, Jerry Vivino, Don Randi, Anna Mjöll, and Travis Carlton. www.thebakedpotato.com

Bogies at the Westlake Village Inn is a bar and nightclub that offers live jazz on Tuesday nights. Upcoming shows include Paul McCallum Band: Featuring Rick Jarrett, and Boyd Cannon Big Band. www.bogies-bar.com

Zin Bistro Americana in Westlake Village – on the Landing – offers a menu that reflects nostalgic cuisine and blending of cultures. The restaurant features a scenic fire lit patio, spacious bar, lounge area, and lakefront dining. There is live jazz on select nights. http://zinwestlake.com

For live jazz, blues and other music Twisted Oak Tavern in Agoura Hills is the place to be. They offer a modern take on the traditional tavern along with a brewery where they produce craft beers onsite. There is also an extensive menu with each dish prepared from scratch. www.twistedoaktavern.pub

Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie in Agoura Hills offers live jazz, blues and other acoustic music on weekend nights. Ladyface is known for their award-winning Belgian, French and American style ales – all brewed onsite. www.ladyfaceale.com

Squashed Grapes is a winery and jazz club with a full menu in Ventura, offering live jazz Tuesday through Sunday nights. Upcoming shows include Meridian Trio, Patrick Stokes Piano Trio, Equinox, and Tizer. www.squashedgrapes.com

World renowned jazz tunes play at Aldabella Winery in Westlake Village in a cozy intimate space. Happy Hour is every Friday night from 5 to 7 p.m. www.aldabellawinery.com

You can reach out and embrace your inner artist, or merely look at beautiful pieces at our stunning local galleries and exhibits.

The Thousand Oaks Community Gallery is a 3,000 square foot space featuring diversified visual arts exhibitions, workshops, artist presentations and special events. The current show is the Open Juried Show through the Thousand Oaks Art Association. Featured pieces include “Abandoned Mail” by Brandon Gilgen,“Entre Nous” by Silvina Day and “Yellow Dream in the Absense of Blues” by Gregory Radionov. The show runs through February 27. www.toartgallery.org

Located inside the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, The Fred Kavli Theatre Gallery offers fine art exhibits by both local and internationally acclaimed artists displayed throughout the year. The Gallery hosts diversified exhibitions, workshops, artist presentations and special events. http://civicartsplaza.com/galleries

The San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center in Tarzana advocates art and culture through exhibitions, education, music and theater. It promotes visual and performing arts by Valley-based artists, creating a cultural hub and enriching the lives of artists and art lovers. Join them for "Color Me Bold," an exhibition that will celebrate International Women's Day with a 3-week exhibit, artists' reception, live theatrical and musical performances and much more. www.sfvacc.org

A family owned business located in North Hollywood, L'Imagerie Gallery offers a 6200 square feet space that displays artwork – both originals and prints. The gallery also offers an enormous collection of rock concert posters from the 1960's through the 1990's. L'Imagerie also exhibits one of the largest collections of original movie posters – from film noir to science fiction. www.limageriegallery.com

Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles is one of the world's most talked about art galleries – the number one destination for pop-culture themed artwork and the place to celebrate emerging artists. In addition, Gallery1988 collaborates with Stan Lee and the Beastie Boys to create their annual tribute show, "Under the Influence," which pays homage to these inspirational icons. http://nineteeneightyeight.com

Fashion is the ultimate way to express spring with its colors and shades. There are some amazing styles and trends that celebrate this season.

Stripes are very in right now. They are universal and go with anything. Check them out as they are making an appearance on the red carpet at this year's award season. The trend is evolving and will continue to carry forward. They are on everything from chunky sweaters to knit dresses and oversize shirts. Mix-and-match versions are also awesome! You can wear stripes of different sizes and colors in the same outfit.

You can't go wrong with sneakers. They are extremely popular and versatile – you can never have too many. Spice them up with glitter, leopard, and satin to dress up a casual outfit.

Another super hot shoe trend is the mule. Flat mules, low block-heel mules, heeled mules, sneaker mules, espadrille mules – all types and colors including velvet, satin, and canvas are the right fit for your feet.

Artistically inspired prints are all over the place. Many brands are directly inspired by a particular artist's work, prints, or patterns, with strong references.

Athletic-inspired pieces are also continuing to bust off the runways! And wordy statement tops were also everywhere his season.

Dress like a queen with the Tudor style trend. Cream-colored tops inspired by the jackets of Henry VIII are all the rage, and ruffled gowns are a modern take on the style. Touches of rose and red, pastels and hot pinks are also tearing up the runways. Pink is all over our favorite beauty products as well.

Dresses over pants help you freshen up your wardrobe staples! Try it out by pairing a simple frock over color-blocked slacks.

Streamlining your accessories is a superb design trend. Louis Vuitton's Nicolas Ghesquière introduced an iPhone case version of the brand's signature leather bags, while Chloé, Valentino, and Dior have created mini purses just big enough to hold your phone. Want jewelry accessories? Statement earrings make a well, statement!

Spring is a beautiful season. Welcome it with open arms!

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