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Succulent garden
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New Videos, Great Takeaways from Jeanne Meadow’s Garden

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

Wavy-leaved ‘Cornelius’ is Jeanne’s favorite agave. “It doesn’t get too big, can handle full sun and cold, and always looks good,” she says.

I’m pleased to announce the release this week on my YouTube channel of two fun new videos: Jeanne Meadow’s Succulent Garden, Tips and Tour, Part One and Part Two.

You know how people say that after they die they want to come back as so-and-so’s dog, because it’s so pampered? Well, I want to come back as a succulent in Jeanne Meadow’s garden. No one celebrates succulents quite like Jeanne. She’s gleeful about their shapes and colors, delights in adding them to garden beds, and collects art pots to showcase choice specimens. Each one is a special pet.

Here for your entertainment are some great takeaways from the new releases.

 

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

Plant an aloe outside your dining room window so you can enjoy its blooms and watch hummingbirds flit from flower to flower.

 

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

Unlike many gardeners, Jeanne doesn’t consider “mother of thousands” kalanchoes to be weeds. “They pop up everywhere, but they’re easy to pull,” she says. “And the flowers are gorgeous.”

 

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

Assemble a palette of topdressings to choose among. Collecting and displaying them is part of the fun. At right, a stack of planted pots appears to be tipping over—a whimsical illusion. They’re aligned on 3/4-inch rebar that goes into the ground four feet.

 

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

To successfully grow a succulent prone to rot like Echeveria agavoides ‘Black Knight’, plant it atop a mound of rocks so its roots never sit in water.

 

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

If you have a magnificent specimen like Jeanne’s large Agave nickelsiae (formerly Agave ferdinandi-regis), give it stand-alone space so it can be seen and admired.

 

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

“If dead leaves don’t pull off easily, it means the plant wants to keep them,” Jeanne says of her Aloe marlothii. “The trunk is sensitive and they help protect it.”

 

Jeanne Meadow's succulent garden

If you’re lucky enough to have a colorful mangave with translucent leaves (like ‘Kaleidoscope’), put it in a tall pot so sunlight will make it glow and it’ll be seen from all directions.

 

Related Info on This Site:

Make a Low-Light, Scooped-From-the-Garden Succulent Dish Garden 

Succulent dish garden

This succulent dish garden is perfect for a bright-shade location, such as indoors near a window. Owner Jeanne Meadow displays it on her covered patio and waters it…[Continue reading]

Use Crushed-Rock Top Dressing to Enhance Your Succulent Designs

Crushed rock topdressing

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…[Continue reading]

On My YouTube Channel:

Jeanne Meadow’s Succulents (Playlist) 

Books by Debra Lee Baldwin

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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…

Great Ideas from Patrick Anderson's Garden

I wonder if Patrick remembers giving me a cutting of that red aloe (A. cameronii, at center right). I know l’ll never forget it! Photo from the second edition of Designing with Succulents

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 launched my love of succulents. You’ll see it as it looks now, nearly 20 years after I visited it on assignment for the San Diego Union-Tribune (read the original article, below)Patrick’s garden was, and still is, mainly aloes and agaves plus other succulents and low-water plants.

Patrick and I became friends, and he graciously proofread the first edition of Designing with Succulents, released in 2007. That book, which helped generate interest in succulents worldwide, had more photos of Patrick’s garden than of any other. Now, a decade later, the book’s completely revised second edition includes newer, arguably even better photos of his garden. (See them in the video. Incidentally, I chose classical background music because Patrick is an opera singer.)

A dozen great ideas from Patrick’s garden:
— Use low walls and terraces to create an inviting entry garden.
— Streetside, install a no-irrigation, rock-and-boulder landscape.
— Create a sense of adventure with curved, meandering pathways.
— Build an open-air room as a destination and focal point.
— Repeat a theme color throughout, such as “aloe orange.”
— Contrast the theme color with its complement (i.e., orange with blue).
— Use large, rounded, unplanted pots as accent pieces.
— Have your garden double as an outdoor sculpture gallery.
— Paint walls bold colors to create dramatic backdrops.
— Make hardscape and walls as visually important as plants.
— Position barrel cacti so they’re backlit by morning or afternoon sun.
— Create memorable vignettes that express your individual style.

Learn more:
— View my 6-min. YouTube video: Patrick Anderson’s Succulent Garden
— Find numerous design ideas for succulent gardens, containers and landscapes in my books. 
— Go to my Aloes page for 70+ labeled photos of aloes (many in bloom) in residential gardens.
— Read the article that re-routed my career: Gardening in the Big Leagues (below).

The original article ~ Gardening in the Big Leagues

I’m proud to note that this article won a prestigious award for newspaper feature writing from the Garden Writers Association of America. Enjoy! ~ Debra

Originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Jan. 31, 1999

Text and photos by Debra Lee Baldwin

Fleshy green monsters in Patrick Anderson’s Fallbrook garden look like they might snap him up if he turns his back. They’re giant succulents, and Anderson’s half-acre hillside showcases hundreds of unusual ones. “I like their huge, sculptural forms,” he said during a tour of his garden in January.

Patrick Anderson

Anderson is an active member of the San Diego Horticultural Society, and is known to local garden clubs as a lecturer who specializes in the great gardens of Europe. “I give slide presentations, and like to think I offer trenchant commentary,” Anderson said. “I’m a student of garden history and design, so I put European gardens in that context.”

Yet his own garden specializes in plants that wouldn’t survive in Europe, much less in most of the U.S. They prefer heat, poor soil and — because their leaves store water, camel-like — a dry climate.

Showiest among them are aloes and agaves, giant succulents with an attitude. Punks of the plant world, they produce blooms big as baseball bats, in colors calculated to shock. Hundreds of bullet-sized flowers sheathe bloom stalks. Leaves have sharp tips and clawed edges.

Yet Anderson’s armed-and-dangerous flora do have an otherworldly beauty. This time of year, aloes pierce the sky like exotic torch bearers, hot orange against cool blue.

Great ideas from Patrick Anderson's garden Aloe ferox and coral tree

And the way they sprawl like squids or explode upward like fistfuls of knives make them the darlings of architects. Imagine a Volkswagen-sized artichoke growing against a stucco wall: One plant a landscape makes.

Succulents come in all sizes, and grow easily in frost-free areas. They need no fertilizer, and only a little water in summer and fall. They’re green year-round, and don’t require pruning. Even so, cultivating the behemoths among them is not for the faint of heart.

“I wanted to use desert-climate plants in a lush way,” Anderson explained as his footsteps crunched on a gravel pathway near plants aflame with flowers. “And to create a tropical-looking garden that would survive without water.”

Great ideas from Patrick Anderson's garden A dasylirion’s thin, slender leaves suggest spraying water.

Anderson paused at a fountain-shaped Agave americana, commonly known as century plant. Each pointed, tapered leaf was the size of a small shark, and toothed like one, too. Using garden clippers, he snipped a wicked tip that protruded into the pathway.

“With these spines and jagged edges, this is the agave from hell,” he said. “But look at its symmetry. Isn’t it magnificent?” He continued, “I can’t stand it when people cut back an agave so it looks like a pineapple. If you’re going to grow something like this, you’ve got to give it plenty of room. I won’t buy a succulent unless it’s labeled. I have to know how big it’ll get.”

Many people confuse agaves with aloes, he added. “Both are succulents and grow in a rosette form, but that’s where the similarity ends. Aloes are Old World plants, from South Africa, Madagascar, the Saudi peninsula and the Mediterranean region. Agaves are New World plants from the Americas. Leaves of agaves are fibrous; those of aloes are filled with gel.”

Great ideas from Patrick Anderson's garden Agave americana and Aloe vera

He pointed his clippers at a smaller plant topped with yellow blooms. “That’s Aloe vera, also known as Aloe barbadensis. It’s the best known aloe because of its medicinal uses. And over there, by the lily pond…” he gestured downslope to a succulent supporting a candelabra of coral-orange spires… “is Aloe ferox. It’s used in South Africa as a purgative.”

“Aloes are in the lily family, yet agaves are the ones that behave like bulbs,” he continued. “Agaves send up stems that bloom, and then they die. Aloes don’t die after flowering.” And, Anderson added with a smile, “an aloe won’t kill you if you fall into it.”

Great ideas from Patrick Anderson's garden Agave shidigera

Anderson’s fondness for plants began in childhood. “My grandmother was a wonderful gardener. She had roses and perennials — the traditional old Irish garden.”

He grew up in San Gabriel, and a neighbor who traveled the world gave him cuttings from unusual cacti and succulents. “But I had to leave them behind when we moved to Lake Arrowhead.”

Anderson majored in theater arts in college, then worked in the corporate world as a human resources director. In 1988, he and life partner Les Olson transplanted themselves from congested Los Angeles to a two-acre ranch in north San Diego county.

“We didn’t move all at once,” Anderson explained. “For the first few years, we were here only on weekends.” They still maintain a home in Pasadena, enabling Anderson to perform with a choral ensemble in that area (he also sings with San Diego’s Pacific Camarata), and to volunteer at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.

Located east of Pasadena in San Marino, “the Huntington” is famous worldwide for a 12-acre dry-habitat garden showcasing more than 5,000 species. National Geographic’s “Guide to America’s Public Gardens” describes it as “a naturalistic wonderland of often bizarre plants, accenting their architectural shapes and pronounced textures.” These attracted Anderson like a moth to a night-blooming cereus, and inspired his own garden.

“I love theater, and these plants are about as theatrical as you can get,” he said.

Great ideas from Patrick Anderson's garden Aloe speciosa

As a Huntington volunteer, Anderson continued, “I work in plant propagation, specifically for plant sales.” This entails nurturing seedlings, cuttings, and “pups” taken from the base of parent plants.

Does Anderson have an ulterior motive in step-parenting unusual specimens? You bet.

Half his collection originated at what he calls the “mother of all plant sales,” held annually at the Huntington the weekend after Mother’s Day. The rest came from “like-minded friends,” or nurseries specializing in tropical plants, cactus and/or succulents.

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Related info:
Aloe

Go to my Aloes page for 70+ Aloe photos and IDs
Most of my 70+ aloe photos show the plants in gardens and in bloom. After all, their large, vivid flowers are… [Continue reading]

View my 6-min. YouTube video (2017): Patrick Anderson’s Succulent Garden

Obtain my comprehensive guide to succulent landscaping, Designing with Succulents (2nd ed.).