I’m becoming a little obsessed with succulents! They offer texture and colors and variety, they’re easy to grow and lend themselves well to arrangements and decor both inside the house and outside in the garden!
Though we just visited Succulent Gardens in Castroville, Ca. a few weeks ago, I learned about their “Extravaganza” event happening this past weekend and just had to go back. Up at 5:00 AM, a friend and I drove the three hours (fueled by Starbucks of course) and I’m so glad we did!
This event happens once a year and includes guided garden tours and workshops that really show how to work with these fascinating plants! It was fun to meet Debra Lee Baldwin, author of “Succulents Simplified” (an awesome book you definitely want if you’re interested in growing succulents ) and Candice Suter of Sweet Stuff’s Sassy Succulents (a fun blog…check it out!) The owner, Robin Stockwell, is a wealth of succulent knowledge and so friendly he makes you feel right at home in his enormous and beautiful greenhouses.
We attended a workshop on planting succulents in containers taught by Debra and I’ve spent this week practicing what she taught us…next week’s post will show the results! But for now, join me for a walk around the Succulent Extravaganza!
Debra’s class was informative and fun. She had some great tips to share: You can be fairly brutal with the roots but be gentle with the leaves…ignore the green of the pot your plant comes in when selecting a new container and pay attention to both texture and color…don’t forget the rule about how to select plants for your composition – select a “thriller,” a “filler,” and a “spiller” to fill out your design! The spiller you use to “break” the edge of the pot, I think, really finishes the container planting.
Brian Kemble, curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, gave a very informative tour of the succulents around the nursery. Have you heard that century plants, (Agave) are so called because they take 100 years to bloom? Me too! Guess what – totally untrue! These plants were extremely expensive many years ago in Europe and grown by the wealthy in containers inside greenhouses. Growing in containers they took forever to bloom…hence the name. Actually they take only 10-35 years to blossom! They do die after blooming but they put out small plants along the stem that can be cut off and rooted for new plants…good to know!
Another class was taught by a mother/daughter team, Kim and Kristin Scheidt. They showed how to spray Flex Seal rubber to coat the inside of containers to seal and protect them. They had a planted leather purse and an antique fishing tackle box, both beautiful! They also use rubber mulch in the bottom of drain-less pots and seal the outside of many containers with a clear sealant. They explained all such container plantings are meant to be somewhat temporary but the plants can be re-potted when they outgrow the decorative container or planted in the garden.
After the classes we shopped for succulents and shared ideas with other succulent lovers for quite a while!
I’ll leave you with some photos for inspiration. If you get a chance next year it’s worth the drive and opens up a whole new world of plants! For more info on the Extravaganza at Succulent Gardens you can go to www.sgplants.com
All photos courtesy of Donna Jones Photography. To learn more about Donna’s work please visit www.donnajonesphotography.com