Welcome! This site is about growing, designing with and enjoying succulent plants in gardens and containers.
My Succulents 2014 Calendar (above) is now available from my Zazzle store, along with other succulent-themed items and holiday greeting cards. My books (Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified) make great gifts as well.
To receive my quarterly News from the World of Designing with Succulents, email me with "Subscribe" in the subject line. Please give your city or region and, if you like, tell me what you'd like to know more about.
Succulent plants store moisture in fleshy leaves and stems to survive periods of drought (such as when you forget to water them). Varieties include agaves, aloes, aeoniums, echeverias, jades, hens-and-chicks and stonecrops.
...water shortages and drought impact many regions.
...they're a good lawn alternative.
...they're fire-resistant and fire-retardant.
...they're simple to cultivate and propagate.
...they require minimal maintenance.
...they range in size from ground covers to trees.
...many have geometric shapes.
...they add interest to gardens large and small.
...leaves and stems come in every color including blue.
...they're intriguing year-round.
...most produce long-lasting, vivid flowers.
...new cultivars are being introduced all the time.
...they're more readily available than ever before.
...they're highly collectible.
I have a passion for plants that drink responsibly. Not only are succulents beautiful
to look at, they're a great option for lazy gardeners (like me).
I garden on a half acre in the foothills of Southern CA, where temps range from below
freezing to 100+ degrees F. As a garden photojournalist, author, speaker and consultant, I am keenly aware of smart and aesthetically pleasing ways to use plants in landscapes and containers.
I grew up with succulents in dry gardens in Southern CA and didn't think of the plants as special. They were what people grew if they couldn’t afford automatic irrigation. If you forgot to hose-water, succulent plants usually survived, at least the big, mature ones did---agaves, jade and prickly pear were bulletproof. Later, I planted cuttings from my parents’ garden in my own, and succulents proved to be the least trouble.
As a journalist specializing in homes, gardens, architecture and interior design, I got my start writing for the San Diego Union-Tribune and San Diego Home/Garden magazine. I went on to scout, write and shoot for national publications.
Then several things coalesced: the seemingly endless CA drought; more varieties of succulent plants than ever before; and a realization on the part of the gardening public that lawns and flower gardens may be unwise in terms of time, water and aesthetics over the long run. Rosette and sculptural succulents were what forward-thinking designers were installing. After seeing my scouting shots of many such gardens, my Sunset editor suggested I write a book. That changed my life!
Designing with Succulents came out in 2007 and spent 19 weeks on Amazon's list of the
Top Ten Bestselling Gardening Books. The emphasis is mainly on in-ground gardens, and is primarily applicable to Southern and coastal CA from the Bay Area south.
The sequel, Succulent Container Gardens (2010), makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to grow succulen plants, because containers are portable and can be overwintered indoors. It shows the best succulents for containers and effective ways to use them in everything from large urns to topiaries.
My latest release, Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties (2013) offers cut-to-the chase info in bullet-point lists, sidebars, boxes, captions and text. Its purpose is to reassure even rank newbies that they, too, can achieve wonderful results despite minimal know-how and experience.
All are from Timber Press.
"The growing interest in succulents on the part of the gardening public can be attributed primarily to one person: Debra Lee Baldwin." -- Australian nurseryman Attila Kapitany, author of 14 books about succulents, in his address to the biennial convention of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America.
2014: SAVE THE DATES ~
If you've attended one of my presentations and enjoyed it, I'd be grateful if you'd leave a comment on the Great Garden Speakers website (click on "Rate This Speaker" at the lower right of the green area). Thanks!
My goal is to share the beauty of waterwise, easy-care succulent plants in gardens, containers and landscapes via blog posts, newsletters, public speaking and workshops, photos, videos, merchandise, and social media (Facebook and Pinterest). My books: Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. ~ Debra Lee Baldwin