You've probably noticed that Jeanne Meadow, "America's Succulent Sweetheart," is magic on camera. She delights in sharing her garden and showing succulents in creative plant-pot pairings. My YouTube channel's 12 "Jeanne" videos have had 134,400 views; short ones on Instagram, around 66,000 (#jeannemeadowsgarden). Her love of out-of-the-ordinary plants and one-of-a-kind art pots shines in a new video: Jeanne Meadow's Treasures from the 2019 Succulent Show (7:00).
On-screen, Jeanne is a cheerful, carefree, spare-no-expense succulent collector and design expert. But her situation reminds me of what Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell, told me when we were working on his biography back in the '90s: "Everyone envies me but no one would trade places with me." Glen, who became a multimillionaire after selling Taco Bell to PepsiCo, suffered from Parkinson's.
In 2010 at age 50, Jeanne retired when she sold her interest in the medical research company she helped develop. She and husband Barry bought and remodeled a large home on 2-1/2 acres in Fallbrook, CA. She dove into gardening, waterwise plants and succulents, and hired Steve McDearmon of Garden Rhythms to design the landscape. In 2013, I wrote about it for Country Gardens, a Better Homes & Gardens' publication. In 2017, Timber Press chose Jeanne's to be one of five noteworthy gardens featured in my book, Designing with Succulents (2nd ed.).
Jeanne is lovely, kind, caring, generous, insightful and down-to-earth. Spending time with her in her world-class garden is one of my favorite things to do. But would I trade places with her? Several years ago, Jeanne was diagnosed with a bone disorder characterized by calcium depletion. (She wryly calls herself "the brittle-bone babe.") It severely limits what she can do, and she's often in pain. She has the best medical care, researches every possible treatment, eats right, and keeps her muscles strong. But were she to bend over or be hugged too hard, her spine could shatter.
Jeanne's upbeat, can-do attitude is inspiring, and she continually finds ways to help others. For example, she gave me the OK to share this. I hope it helps you see what's right in your own life, encourages you to overcome challenges, and enhances your appreciation for the smart, funny lady you see on YouTube. And here's something else you may not know: Before her corporate career, Jeanne was a stand-up comedian. In fact, that's how she met Barry...but that's another story.
See her latest art pots and new-and-unusual succulents in Jeanne Meadow's Treasures from the 2019 Succulent Show (7:00).
In my book, Designing with Succulents (2nd ed), pp. 162-165, learn more about Jeanne and her wonderful succulent garden.
To see amazing succulents in elegant art pots, attend a Cactus & Succulent Society Show. The largest in the US is the annual Inter-City Show at the Los Angeles Arboretum mid-August. Judges award ribbons and trophies based on how well a specimen is grown, its rarity, and how well it’s “staged” in its pot. Pots aren’t…