Posts Tagged ‘Debra Lee Baldwin’

Make a Bouquet of Succulents

Succulent bouquet with echeverias

When I need a hostess gift, thank-you present, or an arrangement for a special friend, I make a bouquet of succulents.   I start by selecting a coffee mug or glass container (usually a jar, thrift-store vase, or clear bottle), the size of which determines the size of the arrangement. Then I head into the garden with…

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Great Ideas from Patrick Anderson’s Garden

Below are a dozen great ideas from Patrick Anderson’s garden in Fallbrook, CA. But first, a bit of backstory… Visiting Patrick Anderson’s garden in 1998 was the first time I had seen a residential garden that featured large aloes and agaves. In my YouTube video, “Patrick Anderson’s Succulent Garden,” I take you on a tour of the residential garden that…

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Announcing the Second Edition of Designing with Succulents!

  When publisher Timber Press proposed a celebratory 10th anniversary, second edition of Designing with Succulents, I figured all I’d have to do is change a word here and there and add a few photos. So I agreed to what seemed like a reasonable deadline—six months. But as soon as I dove into the project, I realized so…

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Circular Succulent Garden

When I first saw fitness coach Amy Van Liew’s circular garden and spherical fountain, I envisioned how it might look replanted with colorful succulents. A great fountain and garden bed deserve to be seen, especially when in the middle of a magnificent home’s entryway. In the spring, when I took this photo of Amy, the flowers in the…

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Your Succulent Garden After a Rainstorm, Checklist

Rain at last! Could the California drought finally be over? Well, no. It’ll take hundreds of years for underground aquifers to refill. The snowpack isn’t adequate for our future water supply. On the bright side, our gardens are looking glorious…even those with mainly drought-tolerant plants. Perfect conditions for succulents are good drainage, annual rainfall less…

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Thrifting for the Birds

My pastimes of thrifting and birding inspired me to create bird feeders from repurposed items. It began a few months ago when I was given a commercial feeder to trial. Its peaked roof is “cute” (to quote a friend), but it’s made of plastic (shudder) and is a color I call “hose green”—a blue-green not found in nature. It also was too…

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Are You a Plant Collector, Gardener or Both?

As she researched her book, The Bold Dry Garden, it dawned on Sunset’s garden editor Johanna Silver that plant collectors are not necessarily gardeners, and vice-versa. The subject, Ruth Bancroft, is both gardener and collector—as is Brian Kemble, the curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA. Since 1980, Brian has helped Ruth (now age 108)…

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My Must-Have Garden Tools for Spiny Succulents

Succulent garden tools

The tools I use when working with spiky, spiny succulents include 12-inch tweezers, kitchen tongs, artist’s brush, chopstick, scissors, metal teaspoon, inexpensive garden gloves, and duct tape. Long-handled tweezers are useful for removing bits of debris and topdressing from prickly plants and those with tight leaf axils—anyplace for which your fingers are too big or that you prefer not to touch. Amazon sells 12-inch stainless steel…

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The Succulents of Birdsong

Echeveria and Crassula falcata

Frank and Susan Oddo of San Diego are hand’s-on gardeners who continually are on the lookout for unusual plants that’ll thrive in a low-water landscape. Not surprisingly, they’ve incorporated many succulents on their multi-acre property. With its layers of foliage and tall trees, the garden serves as a wild bird sanctuary that attracts dozens of species, including visitors that drop in (literally) during seasonal migrations. Below are outtakes from the article I wrote about…

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Make a Succulent Mug Gift Bouquet

Make a succulent mug gift bouquet the next time you need a little something for a friend or hostess. This transcends the traditional flower-stand bouquet and has utility long afterwards.  Mugs sold individually at home goods stores and secondhand shops make great gifts, especially when filled with succulent rosettes that suggest exotic flowers. Succulents wired onto…

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I Come Out as a Cactus Lover

When profiled by Garden Design magazine, I took the opportunity to come out as a cactus lover. Well, I had to. They asked about trends in the world of succulents. I believe my progression is fairly typical. Most of us start out loving succulents that look like fleshy roses—echeverias, graptoverias and the like. As people gain appreciation for the…

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Use Crushed-Rock Top Dressing to Enhance Your Succulent Designs

Do consider using crushed-rock top dressing to enhance your succulent designs. In the ground or in pots, your succulent compositions will look and perform better if bare soil doesn’t show. Top dressing lends a finished look, and plants benefit from the way it disperses water. In the open garden, soil exposed to sunlight is likely…

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