We had the good fortune of connecting with Vincent Bellino and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vincent, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
There were many thought processes behind starting my own business, but the most prominent was finding a way in which I could make the world a better place. At that time, I was very pantheistic in my beliefs. I worshiped nature as the source of life and became depressed at the fact that we were destroying the very home that supports us. I was so passionate about this, that I would spend all of my free time trying to restore my parents property into a natural/native CA ecosystem. It was my way of giving thanks for the past and inspiration for the future. At that time, I was 24 years old and was also trying to figure out what I would do with my financial career.. Due to the fact that I had spent the majority of my life stifled in public education, graduated college in a field I didn’t want to pursue, worked corporate retail somewhere I hated, and bussed tables in poorly managed restaurants; I became pretty motivated and convinced that I could run and manage my own business way more efficiently and freely than any of my previous employers.. All while pursuing my passion.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Personally, I have always felt like a creative person, but I don’t know if my garden design is considered “art.” It depends on who you ask. As a teenager, I have always admired artist and the philosophy that drives their work. Personally, I do feel like I create art, even if popular culture doesn’t acknowledge garden design as an art. We all know music, drawing or film is the art of our time. Though, I still believe garden design has its place and I don’t wish for it to be a “lost art.” To me, the ground is a canvas and natural materials (rocks, logs, mulch, plants) are the medium in which I mix and match to create unique and one of a kind immersive experiences. One with sights, sounds and smells. One that changes with the seasons and attracts birds/pollinators. Art that nurtures the spirit of the people dwelling in them, all while nurturing the lives of the CA native habitat that seeks rest. Advice for artist in 2020. Even though most art is digital now, strive to create something real. With social media & technology, everyone is an artist, therefore no one is. Trends, style and aesthetic rule the minds of modern “artist.” People scroll too quickly to appreciate the detail. Not to mention, getting “likes” on social media often drives or dictates ones creative expression. This is the hamster wheel of modern art that I have removed myself from. Aside from the few photos that are on my website, I encourage clients to come and walk around my garden. Another bit of advice, is to try and escape the idea of having infinite options to feel free. Personally, I have found that limiting my options has provided me with the focus and security needed to master my craft. While it may not be as exhilarating as jumping around from medium to medium, there is still that internal satisfaction when I finish a project and it just feels.. right.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take that friend for a drive through Valley Center, into Santa Ysabel and then into Julian. We may go on a hike at Elfin Forest Nature Preserve or drive up to the Cleveland National forest for a hike near San Juan Capistrano. Not sure where we would eat.. probably the Yellow Deli 🙂

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In regards to my passion for what I do for work & play, I want to shoutout the Native American communities that have passed down their incredible knowledge of plants throughout the generations. I want to shoutout Las Pilitas Nursery (formed by Bert Wilson), Greg Rubin of CalOwn, & the likes of Judie Lincer (and those at CNPSSD) for advocating the incredible benefits of CA native gardening. Another huge shoutout to Su Kraus (and staff) of Moosa Creek Nursery, Patrick (and staff) of Native West, and Mike Evans (and staff) of Tree of Life Nursery for all of their hard work supplying plants to contractors and homeowners alike. In regards to supporting me as a person, I want to give a big shoutout to my incredible parents, who have let me live with them while I try to figure out my business/life. They have been very gracious these past 29 years. Another massive shoutout to my brother, Daniel, for being by my side this whole time. He is my righthand man and I don’t know what I would do without him. Lastly and most importantly, a holy shoutout to the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. For making this beautiful creation, for giving life and for giving mercy & grace. If it weren’t for the Gospel, I don’t know if I would still be here.

Website: www.restoringcalifornia.com

Image Credits
Vincent Bellino

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