Brent and I met in college, when we were assigned to the same dorm room in Fremont Hall at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Our similarities were remarkable. He came two hundred miles north from west of Los Angeles. I came two hundred miles south from west of San Jose. We were both the middle of three children, although I had just acquired an extra younger sister the year before. While the other boys we grew up with were playing with Hot Wheels, Brent and I were busy planting miniature trees around the miniature roadways. His childhood dog was Speckles. Mine was Freckles. We were weirdly similar prior to September of 1986, but have been perfecting our differences since then.
Brent is now a famous landscape designer in West Hollywood. He has landscaped some of the most prominent homes in the region, including the Osbourne Residence of formerly popular realty show, ‘the Osbournes’. Many of the streets of Los Angeles are now outfitted with street trees that Brent installed. He regularly installs mature plants and large boxed trees, without giving much thought about where they came from.
I just grow things. Back in the early 1990s, I grew citrus trees. By 1995, I was involved with the production of mostly rhododendrons, as well as azaleas, camellias, pieris, and a few other minor crops of similar cultural requirements. I provide the plant material for landscapers like Brent, but do not give much thought about what they do with it.
While we were in school, Brent and I would often see plants around town that we wanted to grow in our own gardens. Sometimes they were old fashioned plants that we could not find in nurseries. Sometimes they were plants from other regions that we did not have access too. Usually though, they were just plants that we wanted but could not afford as starving students.
Being the grower that I am, it was up to me to procure pieces or seeds of these desired plants to propagate. Sometimes, we got entire plants. I did all the work; but usually by the time the copies were produced, Brent would take them back to Los Angeles, where many died because he did not care for them properly. However, in the Miracle Mile neighborhood, there is still a coastal redwood that Brent and I procured on one of our adventures. It does not like the climate much there, but it is surviving.
Our techniques were not as bad as stealing the un-pink bearded iris. (see The Colors Of Karma, https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/the-colors-of-karma/.) We merely took pieces that no one would miss. We got several types of succulents and geraniums. (I had actually acquired my favorite geranium years before I ever met Brent, so I knew how easy they were.) We sometimes took plants from compost piles and trash bins, and plants that were to be discarded from a nursery where Brent worked. You can imagine my delight when San Jose started curbside greenwaste recycling! I got piles of bearded iris; and I did not care what color they were. I got yuccas, New Zealand flax, African iris, banana trees, cannas, calas, bergenias and really too many cool plants to list.
Well, as tradition dictates, Brent had to come up with something derogatory to say about my gardening style. After all, even though he benefited more from out techniques of acquiring plants, more of mine survived. His garden was lavishly landscaped with plants that he purchased from nurseries, while most of what he got from me got shaded out. My garden was meagerly landscaped almost exclusively with plants I had propagated and grown. Well, making the observation that very few plants in my garden were acquired ‘legally’, he named the main part off my garden the Felony Garden. Yes, and to the south of that was the White Supremacy Garden. (See White Supremacy, https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/white-supremacy/.) Out back, we kept the Fruits and Nuts. Oh, the joy of gardening!