Ever since she was a little girl, Stella Binns has been an avid gardener. She fondly recalled spending her childhood days in Yorkshire, England, accompanying her father as he tended to various plants and flowers.
“Because I was the youngest and most gullible, I was the one that got dragged into the garden every weekend,” Binns told the Review. “So gardening was always in my blood.”
Binns spent several years living in Germany and Scotland, but after visiting her sister, who lived in Hollywood at the time, she fell in love with the weather and lifestyle in California and decided to make it her new home.
“I went back to Berlin, sold everything and moved out here,” Binns said. “I was ready for a change. That was 32 years ago.”
In 2008, Binns opened Barristers Nursery & Landscaping in South Pasadena. Originally, she occupied the building on the corner of Meridian and El Centro Street, then eventually moved down the street to a large lot that at one time had been used as a parking lot. Now the space is filled with a variety of trees, potted plants and flowers, along with a small retail shop in which Binns sells clothing, jewelry, candles and other gift items.
“Everybody is surprised and thrilled when they come in and see all of the gifts we carry,” Binns said. “I try to be a little bit different when I buy inventory. I look for things that are unique. Everything we sell is good quality at a fair price.”
The heart of Binns’ business, however, is the different garden services she offers, including complete landscape design and installation, irrigation installation and repair, seasonal plantings and pruning, tree trimming, monthly plant maintenance and consultations.
“A lot of clients will spend a lot of money on making their gardens beautiful, but nobody knows how to take care of them,” Binns said. “We go in twice a year to prune and shape everything. If somebody has invested a lot of money in their landscaping, having it tended to twice a year in January and February is the best time, then it’ll look great all year. We do quality work.”
Binns said that when it comes to garden trends, the Mediterranean look, with olive trees, lavender and bougainvillea flowers is popular and ideal for the climate in South Pasadena and neighboring areas.
“A Mediterranean landscape is extremely versatile, and once the plants have been established, you don’t need a lot of water to maintain them,” Binns said.
“We’re so fortunate we don’t have to live by any weather rules here. In other places, you can only plant during certain times. Here, you can get just about anything at any time. With the kind of winter that we’re currently having, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
According to Binns, customers love coming to her nursery because of the beautiful environment, which provides a calming effect that instantly relaxes them.
“It’s not about coming in and shopping,’’ she said. “I recommend that anyone just come and walk through here because I know the effect it has on me.
“It’s truly meditative and healing. Hermann Hesse once said, ‘If you love your garden, tend it.’ I can’t go a day without walking in the garden. It doesn’t matter what I’ve been doing, I’ll come in and spend my last hour of the day in here because it’s my meditation. I don’t hear, I don’t see, I don’t think — I just focus on what’s in front of me, which has been my saving grace all my life.”
Barristers Nursery & Landscaping is located at 915 Meridian Ave. in South Pasadena. It is open Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (626) 441-1323.
Barristers Nursery & Landscaping Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 1.10.2020. Support Local Business.