A hike in the hills over Los Angeles isn’t just about exercise for caterer and collector Kai Loebach but a great source of inspiration. He finds marvelous natural treasures which he then uses to create superb mis en scenes at Kai’s Catering + Events. Tree roots or gnarled broken branches are hauled back and integrated into the garden or perched above water ponds until they are required at an event.
For years, I’ve been admiring how Kai, who has a lifelong passion for gardening and design, uses plants and natural materials to create attractive, earthy and elegant table centerpieces.
He starts with healthy strong succulents, which he nurses himself.
Kai grows and propagates his plants successfully by not planting succulents or cactuses too deep in pots and also waters them infrequently.
Kai shared some good advice with me: don’t water plants from overhead because they don’t like it (especially lavender) and remove all spraying sprinkler heads, replacing the system with a water efficient drip line, which saves you money on your water bill and money at the flower nursery (due to plant loss).
When using succulents on a table arrangement for an event, Kai uses either potted specimens or just their heads as decoration. The following day, if the cut has sealed on the heads, they can be replanted in pots.
Gourds bought from a local Farmer’s Market are kept in bins, piled into pots during their days off or cleverly stored in metal crates which double as seats around an outdoor table.
These look so great: branches from a pruned fig tree are bunched together in a pot, looking like a multi limbed crustacean upside down.