By Kris Grant
Part of the fun of attending the flower show is shopping for unusual plants and merchandise rooted in floral and garden inspirations. Vendors will be housed in tents near the entrance to the show.
Here is a preview of vendors that you can use as a checklist for gifts for friends, family, or even yourself!
Ausachica Nursery, based in El Cajon, offers distinctive plants from Australia, South Africa, Chile and the Mediterranean – all of which owner Robin Rushmore finds will thrive in southern California. She chooses Mediterranean-climate plants for their ease of maintenance, drought and heat tolerance and wildlife attraction.
Retired fire captain Jody Rogers is a native San Diegan who grew up in Point Loma and has always enjoyed gardening. A few years ago when he trimmed his over-the-rooftop plumeria, he didn’t know what to do with all the cuttings. “So I started potting them up,” he said, using his own organic compost and visiting farmers markets. His plumerias are the celadine variety – “That’s the most fragrant variety, white with a yellow center, the ones the make Hawaiian leis out of,” he said. His booth will sell both his plumerias and his organic compost that is PH balanced and filled with earthworms.
Hue By 2 Purses
The mother-daughter team of Mary Lynn and Amy Dominguez are back at this year’s flower show with their colorful and creative handmade purses, many of which feature floral motifs, many of which can be viewed on the crafty website, etsy. Mary Lynn majored in drawing and minored in design at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles where her medium of choice was fabric. Although she launched a career as a public artist in Southern California, working mostly with mosaic on exterior projects, and using many other kinds of media for interior spaces, fabric remained close to her heart. Daughter Amy joined her as studio assistant on many projects and watched as her mom’s fabric collection grew, and grew and GREW! But when MaryLynn kept buying fabric, Amy suggested they launch a handbag line. Today, says Mary Lynn, “Even though we each have our own studio, we have the most fun when we meet up to tweak our designs, choose fabric combinations, and make the one-of-a-kind beads that go on our handbags.”
Bowls by Mike and Me
Fellow artists Mike Leamons and Suzie Sterling craft distinctive bowls out of copper, which is hand-hammered and then enameled. This year, they’ll also bring copper and wood flower stands to the show. Says Sterling: “Enameling is an ancient art form, similar to Chinese cloisonné, in which we take a powdered glass and bake it in a kiln at 1,500 degrees. We never know what we’re going to get.” The artists have been creating their enameled bowls for five years from their La Mesa studio and have each worked for more than 20 years in copper. Both artists will be at the flower show.
Coronado resident Marilyn Feldman is a retired social worker who is also a professionally trained couture milliner. She will bring an array of hats, ranging from fascinators to cocktail party hats, fashion hats, soft brim hats and costume hats that cover every occasion; she’ll even have a collection of hats that are perfect for Coronado’s Independence Day celebration. “People want hats for weddings, showers, fancy events and, of course, opening day at the Del Mar racetrack,” says Feldman. And, each hat is totally unique!”
Pt. Loma resident Veronica Marshall worked for a publisher while studying architecture in college and after graduation began assembling book collections in conjunction with architectural shows, Christmas bazaars and for individual authors who were making local appearances, including Julia Child and the late Ray Bradbury. Her books have been a perennial favorite at the flower show and include garden books for professionals or those just starting out, kids’ nature books, outdoor and indoor entertaining and, her overall theme this year, “books on spring.” Interspersed among the volumes are floral scarves and floral pendants.
Sharing the booth with Ex Libris is Kumlin Designs, featuring colorful floral barrettes and pins, head wreaths, sunhats, hair bands and table décor. At the Flower Show, Carol Kumlin will be selling a variety of her napkin rings (peonies, roses, succulents, orchids and more).
Sea LaVie Living
Looking for coastal-inspired décor or authentic French pottery? You’ll find both at “Sea LaVie Living” – all incorporating the design inspirations of Coronado resident Nicole Wing. Wing grew up in Coronado (her parents owned the Chevron station where Willis Allen Real Estate is today), and two years ago she her military husband arrived back in town after duty stations throughout the world.
While living abroad in the French-speaking region of Belgium next to the French border, Wing immersed herself in the European lifestyle, soaking in the culture, learning French, cooking, taking in the sights, and hitting the antique markets. She started working with French potters who have been in business in the Alsace region since 1750, creating designs for “Village” houses including one that she calls “The Red Village” house. She will have a limited supply for the flower show, but also will debut a “Concert in the Park” tablecloth that fits the petite picnic tables that many families bring to the summer concerts. “They include a modern-day non-slip, non-stain oilcloth imported from Denmark, with side pockets for utensils; embroidered family names are optional.” And she has ordered new Coronado posters that depict the historic boathouse and bridge.
Stefan Freeman has been attending the Coronado Flower Show for 14 years and this is his first year as a vendor. His company, Coronado Sign, specializes in personalized “streets signs” that can be ordered in any color. In Coronado, those signs, handmade from metal with computer-generated graphics, include an insignia, such as a crown similar to but not identical to the official city seal, or other symbols, such as an “Islander” tiki. Freeman creates the signs from his garage and the popularity of his product has allowed him to expand to Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and San Diego. Most remarkable about his business success is that Freeman is a quadriplegic, the result of a diving accident in 1997. Freeman and his wife, Justine, a Coronado native, moved here from Orange County with their two children in 2012.
Spectrum, Art Inspired by Life
Ray Conser is a master gardener whose describes his artwork as “inspired by life, people and events expressed in multiple media.” Included in his works are “gourd sculptures” featuring gourds that are carved, burned and/or painted and incorporate basketry, and inlaid glass. He additionally works in pastels, watercolor and photography.
Sand Dollar Collections and Sand Dollar Too
The popular gift shops at North Island Naval Air Station is a perennial Flower Show favorite with gift items that feature garden themes as well as items with a patriotic flare.
Fine Arts Design by Amanda Baris
Chula Vista-based fine artist Amanda Baris paints in acrylic, pulling from nature for inspiration. A graduate of the Art Institute of Portland, she comes from a family of artists. “I’ve been painting since I was five years old,” says Baris. “My art is a mix of contemporary art and surrealism; it’s an expression of how I view the world through Mother Nature.” The Coronado Flower Show is her first art exhibition and she is about to launch a website.
Coronado’s Gluten-Free Pantry
When Roanna Canete’s toddler son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies, she began to notice the difficulties of finding good tasting food for him. While living in Italy, she had studied cooking, baking, chocolate making and gelato from a culture that places the highest value on food quality, freshness, taste, and appearance. She used this training to launch a wholesale bakery and custom cake studio as a “cottage industry,” working from her Coronado home. Now Canete has a 2,400 square foot production facility in Clairemont serving restaurants and hotels throughout the County. But Canete hasn’t forgotten her community roots! Every Friday delivery trucks come to Coronado to distribute individual orders, taken over her website, coronadosglutenfreepantry.com. At the flower show, she’ll be selling cupcakes, brownies and cookies. There will also be a “cupcake lab” where kids can decorate their own cupcakes.
Master Gardener’s Birdhouses
Be sure to stop by the Master Gardener’s double booth in the educational section. The garden pros will be selling their popular handmade birdhouses with proceeds going back to their nonprofit association that provides home gardening and pest control information throughout the county, free to the public.