Who needs a Chihuahua? Fashion for your favorite foliage


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My children often accuse me of loving my plants more than them (which really isn’t true), but if I start carrying the Vagabond by Miguel Nelson, people might wonder.

Dubbed a “living handbag,” the Vagabond is a new fashion accessory that allows plant enthusiasts to keep nature close by, according to Nelson, a Los Angeles sculptor, event space creator and inventor of the Woolly Pocket wall planting system.


The Vagabond is 9 inches tall with a 5-by-10 inch opening with two reclaimed leather straps to sling over your shoulder. Think of the portable planter as a cocktail party conversation starter. Your getup will rival any starlet’s hobo bag containing a designer dog.

We’ve previously written about Nelson’s Woolly Pockets, which are made in the U.S.A. of breathable, plantable felt pouches derived from recycled plastic bottles. You can hang one or multiples of the 15- by 24-inch felt pockets to create a verdant, vertical garden indoors or out. Nelson is selling Wally One, a modular system of four planting pockets, for $167, a 15% discount, through Dec. 15 (online orders).

The artist developed the Vagabond as a “comfortable home for a plant.” When you’re not toting your purse-planter about, it can be displayed as a table centerpiece or stylishly hung. It is lined with a moisture barrier to protect the wearer but allow plant roots to breathe.

Nelson created a one-of-a-kind Vagabond (pictured at right) as a tribute to the singer Lady Gaga. “I call it the ‘Gagabond,’” he says. Later this month he plans to deliver the plant-purse to the artist when she performs at the Nokia Theatre, Dec. 21-23. In 2010, he will release other limited-edition Vagabond styles in collaboration with handbag designers.

For now, you can order the original style through Everything Gardens and wait three weeks for it to be made. The purse alone is $140; with the chain-and-wood hanging system, it’s $155. Everything Gardens will give you a 25% discount on the ivy, fern or plectranthus you wish to showcase in your Vagabond and plant it for you.

Everything Gardens, 3010 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 343-0741. Open Thursday-Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; or by appointment.

-- Debra Prinzing