Created by Sid Lindenbaum, the Secret Garden in Venice resembles a floral bed that is found in a Disney story or a Dr. Seuss book. Photo Courtesy of Sid and Gena Lindenbaum

A garden honors the creative culture of Venice while spreading love

By Holly Jenvey

Heading toward the Venice canals, visitors may have seen a floral bed that resembles something from a fairytale at the corner of 24th and Pacific avenues.

This is the Secret Garden, which tourists and locals stumble upon in awe.

The garden was created by Sid Lindenbaum, otherwise known as the “Bubbleman” to the Venice community. (Fun fact: Lindenbaum can be broken down from German translation meaning Linden Tree.)

Sid can be spotted riding his bike around the neighborhood or with Gena, his wife of 10 years. Sid spreads cheer through his Secret Garden.
Thirty-plus years ago, Sid acquired the space, which was an empty space in front of an building. He yearned to start a garden near the building, which reportedly was built in the 1900s. He started the garden from scratch in the sandy spot.

“So he planted this garden, which is completely beautiful,” Gena said. “He calls them (the plants) his children and he just really cares for them.”

The garden is peppered with bright flowers along with tree branches covered with yarn designs and puppet figures (some special for the holidays). The yarn is made from organic fiber, which doesn’t harm the trees with the designs because it’s breathable.

However, to Sid and Gena, the garden’s meaning goes beyond its creativity.

Gena said the garden is a breath of fresh air for both of them as the pandemic was a period of hardship.

“We are grateful to have a garden that became our spiritual sanctuary,” she said.

Sid and Gena are not Venice natives, but have called it their home as they love the accepting, vibrant creative community.

Sid is hails from Kansas but has lived in Venice for more than 30 years and is a retired rehabilitation nurse.
Gena is from the Ukraine and 2021 marks the 30th year since she and her family left for the United States.

Gena and Sid met at Casa Escobar in Marina del Rey (now the Jamaica Bay Inn) in 2004.

Gena and her friend were supposed to see a movie, but chose to go dancing instead. Sid was at the bar and he and Gena exchanged glances.

“And then the next thing I know, he came up to our table and the rest is history,” Gena said.

Many recognize Sid and Gena as Mr. and Mrs. Claus during Christmas. They enjoy spreading joy throughout the community.

“If you give something, you receive something,” Gena said.

Gena said that the garden is repeatedly updated and she hopes everyone does their part in keeping their community clean so they can endure the healing power of art.

Gardening tips
Contact Gena Lindenbaum at
310-754-5615.

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