When the International Horticulture Expo opens in China in 2014, over 12 million visitors will be able to enjoy a typical Long Beach home garden, thanks to a new effort by the Long Beach-Qingdao Association, StudiONEleven, Long Beach City College, and the City.
The massive Expo is currently under construction in Qingdao, China, sister city of Long Beach. "Qingdao has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of effort to this huge project," said Malcolm Green, who is chairing the effort for the LBQA. "It will be a major international attraction, and we are proud to participate." The group is now raising the final $15,000 to fund the remainder of the project.
Historical Garden Development. Studio111, a local division of Perkowitz+Ruth Architects, has designed a garden exhibit which will trace the development of home gardens throughout the history of Long Beach/Southern California, said Green. Contributors to the design include Kirk Keller and Michael Bohn of Studio 111, Jorge Ochoa and Brian Hastie of Long Beach City College's Horticulture Program, and Larry Rich, Sustainability Coordinator for Long Beach, as well as Mary E. Barton, and Green of the LBQA.
"Our brainstorming sessions led to the theme of a historical garden evolution," said Green, "since we had been requested by Qingdao to create an exhibit of a 'Long Beach garden.' We agreed that there are several approaches to Long Beach gardens, and they have changed as new plants have become available locally and, maybe more importantly, as new ideas of ecology have impacted designs of gardens."
Outdoor Living. "We think the Long Beach Expo garden will be unique," said Mary E. Barton, President of LBQA, "in that here our gardens are very personal! The theme is 'Outdoor Living in a Green Environment.' Homeowners and even renters often design their own gardens, treating them very much as outdoor living space-as opposed to more dense cities where people live in high-rises and gardens are essentially public property. So, here, our garden designs very much reflect personal taste and are used typically by a family year-round."
Kirk Keller, Designer at Studio 111, is developing the technical details of five different types of gardens popular in the City's history-starting with the native plants characteristic of the time of the areas' earliest inhabitants, evolving into Colonial, formal gardens with imported plants, then into the eras of great green lawns, and finally to today's more eco-sensitive ethic, with emphasis on water-wise plants. "You can actually find all these approaches today in Long Beach," says Keller. "So our exhibit will explain how our thinking about gardens, and enjoying the outdoors, has evolved."
The Expo is set in a mountainous area 30 minutes from downtown Qingdao. It is designed to showcase the latest gardening technologies, including buildings with roof gardens, rare plants, and different cultural approaches to gardening. The event will be open from April-October 2014. LBQA hopes to sponsor a tour of China, including the Expo during that time.
Shanghai Office. Since Perkowitz+Ruth operates a very successful office in Shanghai, china, Studio 111 expects some local help in identifying plants available in China for the Long Beach Garden. "It would cost a fortune to ship all the plants here to Qingdao," said Green, "so we are very grateful Studio 111 has some experts in China to advise and assist! Obviously, some plants are the same here and in China."
Funding. Interested sponsors and donors to finalize the garden exhibit should contact the Long Beach-Qingdao Association at email@example.com.