It has been a little more than two years since Arnaud Ozharun opened his Silver Lake beauty salon in a cavernous building planted with a vertical garden. An estimated 20,000 seedlings – from succulents to Scotch Moss – and handfuls of soil were inserted into slits cut into thick fabric attached to the walls of Natural Mind salon, located at the corner of Sunset and Griffith Park boulevards. “It will look like Amazonia, ” Ozharun said of his vision for a lush vertical garden. But now, sections of the vertical garden loom more like Arizona than Amazonia, with barren stretches of wall devoid of greenery and tattered piece of fabric and plastic hanging from the building.
The building has been leased to a new tenant, who will decide whether or not to keep and maintain the garden, said building owner Nader Amirpour. “I am not sure what they are going to do,” said Amirpour, who would not disclose the identity of the new tenant. He told the new tenant: “You maintain it – I am not.”
Amirpour said that many of the prospective tenants interested in the building liked the idea of the vertical garden. But apparently maintaining a vertical garden can take more work and money than expected. “The water is running all day long,” Amipour said. ” Arnaud was complaing about the [water] bill. It was very high.” The Eastsider is seeking to contact Ozharun for comment.
Ozharun spent a considerable amount of time to install the vertical garden. The garden grows on about a half-dozen layers of plastic and fabric that supports the plants and protects the exterior walls from moisture. Under the padding are pipes to supply water to the garden. Drains at the base of the building collect the water, which recirculated back into the garden.
Landscaper and designer James Reineck, who installed the garden but was not in charge of maintenance , said he was surprised to hear that the building was up for lease but not so surprised to hear about the expensive of keeping up a vertical garden.
“Most large-scale, vertical gardens usually have alot of financial backing to keep them looking nice, not low maintenance by any means,” he said in an email. “I’ve got to give credit to the owner for his vision on building the garden. Most business owner only care about financial gain, but he truly wanted to give something nice to his community.”