Saturday, April 6, 2013

Gifted gardeners bring blooms to classic La Jolla Shores Hotel

 The lovely arrangement, above,
is both simple and striking. It graces
the men's bathroom at the popular
La Jolla Shores Hotel.  Below,
one of many orchids at the hotel. 

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 the greenery and glory of the La Jolla Shores Hotel is a tiny room in the corner of the parking garage.
 A mated pair of swans is part of the pretty landscape
at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

 A love of plants is a lifelong passion for Shelly Rosado, grounds supervisor
at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and surrounding properties.
BENEATH the greenery and glory of the La Jolla Shores Hotel is a tiny room in the corner of the parking garage.

If you've ever parked in the basement lot, enroute to cocktails or a special dinner, you've driven past the obscure little corner of the grand dame resort.

You probably haven't peered in the windows, but if you did, you'd see orchids, orchids, and more orchids.

They're in various stages of arrangement, recovery, grooming, distribution and replanting.

Heading a staff of 17 people who keep the oceanfront hotel full of elegant blooms is Shelly Rosado, grounds supervisor.  She manages the greenery and grounds for the resort, the adjacent beach and
tennis club, nearby companion apartments and the fabled Marine Room. The complex is owned by the W. S. Kellogg family. Rosado's right-hand pal and colleague, responsible for the dozens of orchids which adore the place's interior and entryway spaces, is Kay Hoopes.

Together, the two women keep the hotel and grounds beautifully groomed with eyecatching floral accents inside and out.
The La Jolla Shores Hotel is a Southern California landmark.

"I consider myself fortunate to have a job I love," says Rosado. "It's wonderful to spend the day making people happy, with growing things."

Hoopes echoes the sentiment. "I feel privileged to be part of this operation," she says, watering and fertilizing in her little subterranean alcove.
"I get paid for doing what I love."

For her, the job completes a circle.  She grew up in San Diego, moved to Washington state for years, then returned.  Washington state native Rosado says her job is ideally suited to her temperament.  Working with a three-part staff, she oversees grounds keeping, maintenance, planting, cleaning and landscape decorating.  The gardeners also keep an eye on a pond of  handsome and well behaved critters, including swans, ducks and geese and
These alluring orchids are almost dizzying with their beauty.
a healthy abundance of plate-sized turtles.  The hotel staff's "color guard" is five persons, including Hoopes and Rosado, who work hands on with the plants, determining what goes where and keeping a step ahead of seasonal landscaping needs as well as demands of special events. They conceive of the "master plan" -- including ordering plants and supplies. They spread their business around, using local and regional greenhouses.

Among recent accomplishments, the gardeners ordered 7,000 bulbs, planting over 6,000 of them.  Their responsibilities around the grounds of the various components surrounding the hotel, include tending rose gardens, succulents, trees, shrubs, bushes, annuals and perennials.  Rosado tries to keep something blooming outdoors at all times.
Indoors is Hoopes' domain.  The artfully arranged orchids you see outside the Shores Restaurant and in the reception rooms, lobby area and men's and women's
 Kay Hoopes orders, researches orchids.
bathrooms, are all results of Hoopes' discerning eye for color and composition.

Each woman has a "holding area" in which plants are stored, pampered, worked on and assessed. Rosado's is outdoors, near the tennis courts.  Hoopes' area is the downstairs orchid room.  There, you'll see her orchids in many stages of development -- resting after blooming, greening up to bud again, about to burst into bloom, and in full bloom and being arranged for their chosen display area.

This handsome resident
enjoys the landscaping
at the tennis pond.
The women confer daily during their separate duties, discussing what they're ordering, asking one another's advice, determining what and where to put plants and bouquets, and deciding which plants need potassium or nitrogen,  which shrubs might need to be replaced, or which beds need to be tended.

While Rosado supervises the other 16 workers who keep the grounds beautiful, she gives Hoopes carte blanche. "She is very creative and a true self starter," says Rosado. "Kay knows what she's doing and loves it."

Besides tending to landscaping, bouquets and grounds, the two nurture other growing things at La Jolla Shores, including a pet seagull named Peepers, who eats from Hoopes' hand and has raised nestlings on the roof near the outdoor staging areas.    They also put food and water out for a large, neat, orange tabby cat who frequents the garage, and always licks the food bowl clean.
Shelly Rosado, left, grounds supervisor, and Kay Hoopes,
 the muse behind the gorgeous orchid displays at the
La Jolla Shores Hotel, in their fragrant "holding area." 
Both women studied botany and worked with gardeners and greenhouses before this post.
Says Hoopes, "It's exciting to be working with orchids, a thing of such beauty. We learn new things every day.  There are no absolutes in the plant world."
What's her favorite orchid?
"One that's blooming and healthy," she says quickly.  "There are no ugly orchids."

COMING WEDNESDAY:  Veteran actor, singer and dancer Ben Vereen recently played several sold out shows at the La Jolla Playhouse. We were part of the delighted audience.  Read about his energetic performance, which drew from the actor's songs in "Pippin" and "Jesus Christ Superstar," and paid homage to show biz and his favorite performers.
Rumor has it the show is
bound for Broadway.  It would not be the first
La Jolla Playhouse gem to head for the Great
White Way.  Vereen's show was performed in
a cabaret setting, and included musical
homages to Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.,
and other greats.
appears Saturdays and Wednesdays.
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let us know what you'd like to see here.

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