San Francisco Flower and Garden Show: Sublimation

An innovative display garden won multiple awards at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. Landscape design students Eric Arneson and Nahal Sohbati of the Academy of Art used the concept of sublimation (water going straight from solid to gas) as a metaphor for the California drought, i.e. “missing water.” Clever design ideas include weatherproof walls of wire cubes (gabions); rounded stones stacked below smaller ones hanging like bubbles from wire; a bench made of vertical 4x4s repeating the squares in the design; succulents planted vertically still in their nursery pots; and succulents combined with drought-tolerant ornamental grasses for appealing texture.


Debra Lee Baldwin, Garden Photojournalist, Author and Succulent Expert

Debra Lee Baldwin, Garden Photojournalist, Author and Succulent Expert

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2 replies
  1. Meredith Callahan
    Meredith Callahan says:

    I have 8-quart size succulents that I would like to plant in a bird bath with small succulents around the outside. The bird bath isn’t very deep yet I see many pictures of large plants in bird baths…How do I accomplish this? Any help will be appreciated.

    • Debra
      Debra says:

      Hi, Meredith, shallow containers dry out quickly, especially during the summer months. Stack the root balls on top of each other to create a mounded arrangement, then cover with gravel. Keep it out of full sun and water regularly, and it should be OK!


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