HOLLYWOOD DAZE is a place to discover (and re-discover) the great City of Hollywood. We like cocktails, creativity, shopping, and little events that pop up spontaneously, art and all things culture, intense fitness but also cheeseburgers — we assume you do too.
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El Centro’s Hollywood apartments have taken landscaping to the next level, creating lush gardens and communal spaces where residents can recharge and appreciate a beautiful mix of succulents and cycads. With southern California’s historic botanical gardens acting as inspiration, El Centro’s green installations are treated much more like a work of art than generic landscaping. At the center of this project was Carlos Morena, whose love for all things spiky and prehistoric made him a perfect fit.
Cactus Store | 1505 ½ Echo Park Avenue
Morena left graphic design to open the Cactus Store in 2014 as a culmination of his decade-long obsession with collecting and researching succulents. The store is packed with a wide spectrum of species of cactus, ranging from a $20 common Frailea
Morena doesn’t just like cactus plants; he holds a deep and significant respect and admiration for them. As Carlos put it in an interview for Purple Diary, “There are definitely people who believe that these plants have a consciousness because of the intelligence of these fast and varied adaptations to circumstances. It’s almost like they must have some sort of primitive form of intelligence.” The obsession has gone so far as to inspire an entire book. Xerophile, the first publication by the Cactus Store,is a photographic exploration of cactus combed from the exotic, arcane collections of professionals and amateurs: “from Ph.D. botanist to banker, art teacher to cancer researcher.” This tome offers more than 500 photographs of some of the rarest desert plants in the world. It’s a level of veneration and love that is hard to find, let alone in your rental’s backyard. And that’s one of the many things that makes El Centro’s mission-driven landscaping more of an amenity than an afterthought. Of course, for anyone else who catches the bug for these enigmatic, alien life forms, Morena’s Cactus Store is only a short trip away in Echo Park