Growing up not too far away, I visited the then jungle-sized nursery on San Gabriel Boulevard with my dad and grandmother. The green maze of plants and flowers is nature’s playground that any kid will remember getting lost in. As I grew older, observing their history and perseverance to create this long-standing business, I learned about the endurance it takes to run a successful business. And at CRFT where the gospel is ‘Suffer, then Master’ it's hard to imagine a history of resilience that exemplifies this through hard work more than a small family business turning 100 years old.
Opening Mission Nursery in 1923, Fred and Mitoko Yoshimura began their family business not long after immigrating to the United States from Japan. Fred came to the U.S to support his family back home and shortly after married Mitoko, who became his wife and business partner. In 1942, the family was sent to a concentration camp in Gila River, Arizona during WWII. Having to scramble and sell their business, they came back to San Gabriel in 1945 and started all over again. Over the years, their retail store has been set on fire by an arsonist, had 100s of priceless bonsai trees stolen by thieves and most recently survived a pandemic, but throughout staying true to the community taking on Japanese agricultural college trainees, founded a local horticulture organization and contributed annually to public gardens and AAPI organizations.
Each decade persistently brought obstacles, yet the Yoshimuras have continued to supply a variety of rare plants that have taken root across the Southland. Their history, like their plants, represent adaptability in the face of constant change.
Working alongside one of the current owners and granddaughters of the Yoshimuras, Mary and her pride in her family’s business history inspired me in creating this design. The illustration has all the iconic pieces of the century old business, from its greenhouses to the trademarked Starlight Azalea and the iconic Radio Flyer shopping wagon, every element was added as an homage to the nursery’s history.
It is with extreme pleasure and gratitude that SGN has allowed me to help share their rich history with more of our community. This legacy business is a pillar of the Japanese American community, representing success because of incredible hardship. I’m sure that as inspired I am by their persistence and achievements, so too will you be as you join us in celebrating their 100th anniversary on June 17th.
The ‘Blooming Since 1923 Anniversary Pack’ designed by CRFT by Maki includes:
- 🌸Commemorative T-shirt [100% cotton blend locally produced in Los Angeles]
- 🌺S.G.N. Spade [Handheld garden shovel measuring 10” in length]
- 🌻Eco Tote [Reusable shopping bag with a SGN historical timeline]
- 🌹Pin [Wagon with Azalea and text reading ‘100th Anniversary / Blooming Since 1923]
Sales open Friday, May 19th and all orders will be available for in-person pick up at the San Gabriel Nursery & Florist on Saturday, June 17th from 9AM - 2PM at the Community Appreciation Event. Please have your order confirmation ready on your phone or printed out in order to pick up your ‘Blooming Since 1923 Anniversary Pack’.
The San Gabriel Nursery and Florist has been a significant part of the Los Angeles community for decades. From their legacy of Japanese cultural preservation as one of the largest bonsai retail stores in Southern California to their unwavering commitment to customer service, we hope that SGN will be a part of the Pasadena area landscape for many years to come! The ‘Blooming since 1923’ limited edition collaboration celebrates this history with iconic imagery from their past and present