Succulent poolside garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Two New Succulent Calendars

Announcing two new succulent calendars for 2023! One is Succulent Gardens; the other, Succulents with Spirals: Celebrating the Fibonacci Sequence. View all 24 calendar images in the galleries below.

For Years My Goal...

...was to do a dozen watercolor portraits of succulents a year. I'd then use them to create an annual calendar to give as gifts and to sell online via Zazzle.

Earlier this year, to challenge myself, I signed up for a watercolor class to learn how to loosen up: to capture an entire garden with a few lines and swaths of color. But my obsession to paint every detail kicked in and I floundered. I couldn't make myself practice---an essential part of learning---and I quit painting altogether.

Regret nibbled at me until I discovered an app that transforms photos into watercolors. With amazement and delight, I selected favorite landscape photos and alchemized them. The result is...drum new Succulent Gardens Calendar.

Succulent Garden Calendar (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulent Gardens calendar

What do YOU think?

However, can I call these lovely new images "watercolors?" After all, who created them? Yours Truly or Artificial Intelligence? Do you find them aesthetically pleasing or unacceptable? I truly appreciate your opinion---do LMK by posting a comment below.

Succulents with Spirals

Being a bundle of angst over AI, I decided to create a second calendar. I’m hugely proud of it, although it’s all photos, not paintings. (After all, most calendars are. I mainly did watercolor calendars because I needed a reason to paint and a deadline, and people seem to like them.)

It's Succulents with Spirals: Celebrating the Fibonacci Sequence.

Spiral Succulent (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulents with Spirals Calendar cover

There's a Third Option, Too

And hey, if you prefer my hand-painted watercolors, good news: Zazzle will print any of my previous calendars for the upcoming year. Pick your favorite, and voila! 2017 alchemizes into 2023.

Agave watercolor (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Agave watercolor from an earlier calendar


Spiral succulents calendar images

Related info on this site 

Euphorbia inermis Fibonacci spiral (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulents with Fibonacci Spirals

Many cacti and succulents form geometric spirals similar to those of sunflowers, pine cones and nautilus shells. Spiral leaf arrangements funnel rainwater to roots and keep leaves from shading each other.

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Succulents 2021 Watercolor Calendar

Two 2021 Calendars: Cactus AND Succulents

I’ve created two 2021 calendars! Each offers a year’s worth of wall art. Here you’ll find a bit of backstory, plus my calendar images and plant IDs. Enjoy!

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  1. LeAnn Hileman on October 21, 2022 at 10:35 am

    I much prefer the actual photographs rather than the watercolor effect.

  2. Sandy Songy on October 21, 2022 at 10:41 am

    I like the photos turned into water colors, however created.

  3. Diane Bonner on October 21, 2022 at 10:48 am

    I like the photos of individual succulents the best. The gardens are OK but – meh.

  4. June Woodard on October 21, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Hi Debra, Well, the AI version of watercolor may not be quite as free-form, impressionistic as Monet, but I would still consider it art. Maybe a form of modern art. If you had not mentioned that it was AI, honestly, I probably would have thought you painted your watercolors in a very precise manner. Go for it!! Also, love the idea of being able to print previous years as 2023.
    I’ve been watching your work and reading your newsletters since I attended your seminar at the SF Flower Show when it was held in San Mateo. Good job!! June Woodard (of Reno NV, formerly of Twain Harte, CA)

  5. Jen on October 21, 2022 at 11:25 am

    I really love them all. Nothing to not like about them! They are all pleasing in different ways so you can’t go wrong with them!

  6. Karen Sturges on October 21, 2022 at 11:29 am

    Love the watercolors! Collect your calendars every year!

  7. kathy layritz on October 21, 2022 at 11:31 am

    I genuinely enjoy all your calendars! The Succulent Gardens calendar is exceptionally beautiful! I especially like the images for July and November. Keep up the excellent work!

  8. Matthew Midgett on October 21, 2022 at 11:44 am

    You are a true artist, who creates beautiful original images — whether with a camera, brush, or computer technique (even in a planted pot or garden slope!). To me it is all art; and all beautiful!

  9. Melinda Hines on October 21, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Debra,
    I love the spiral one! I much prefer your own watercolors!

    Those created of your photos from the app are muddy and too busy.

    I will take a look at all the zazzle you have on Zazzle and purchase at least a calendar to give you at least a little support. I’m thinking of gift ideas for those who would love your work.

    I moved to a mobile home park in Thousand Oaks several years ago. Gardening in this hard, rocky soil and heat is certainly different (!!!🤔) for succulents than the loose soil and cool temps in a beach town. Most everything I have is in pots as I only have 3 small areas to plant in the ground.

    The work you do to keep us all informed of the “hows, where and whys” of succulents is very inspiring and much appreciated!

    Melinda Hines
    Editor of the “Succulent Scoop” – Conejo Cactus and Succulent Society (soon to retire)
    and past editor the “Prickly News” – South Coast Cactus and Succulent Society

  10. Michele L on October 21, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    Beautiful Debra!

    • Michelle on October 25, 2022 at 8:23 pm

      I prefer the actual live succulent photos, versus photos filtered through the mind of a machine.

      • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 30, 2022 at 6:45 pm

        Hi Michele — I do too. And I love to paint watercolors. But I haven’t had time, and “filtering through the mind of a machine” (nice turn of phrase) is fascinating, addicting (let’s see what it does with this one…) and, let’s face it, fast.

  11. Sylvia McMaster on October 21, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    I think both are beautiful, however I am fascinated by the Fibonacci plants, I wish I had one of every Fibonacci plant there is.

    Then again Debra, all you work is beautiful!

  12. Claire Hughlett on October 21, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    I enjoyed both your photos and the photos turned to watercolor. I do watercolor and photography so I can appreciate both. I think the photos turned to watercolor look like real watercolor! I use your site a lot. I am in Arizona, but spent most of my life in So CA, and have been to many of the sites you mention. To my regret, Arizona does not have very many truly desert gardens and the climate here is brutal to many succulents during the summer. But I keep trying to find shady spots for the plants I love.

  13. Jane Villa-Lobos on October 21, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    I much prefer the photos and the watercolors. I watch all your videos and find them very informative. I am in The Garden Club at Palm Coast in Palm Coast, FL and share all your information with club members. I have many hooked-on succulents like me! Keep up the beautiful work.
    Thanks for all you do to educate gardeners.

  14. Karen Chatfield Barnhart on October 23, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    I am an artist and I like what you have done. The program you used to create watercolors from photos is a tool . . . just like your brush is a tool to create watercolor paintings. Did you master the use of this new tool? Like anything, the more you use it, the better you become!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 23, 2022 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Karen — What a good observation. Thank you!

  15. sandra ann bedard on October 23, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    I liked both calendars and would have a hard time choosing.

  16. Cheryl Dailey on October 25, 2022 at 7:34 am

    Hi Debra,
    Love them Both❣️ In future, may be good to incorporate
    both water color and regular photos in same calendar.
    Thank you for sharing!

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