Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book: Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin

The full title of this book is “Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants.” Debra Lee Baldwin is the author. This book has some great eye-candy for succulent-lovers.

It is broken down into four parts. Part One is “Pairing Plants with Pots,” which demonstrates how plant and pot relate to each other and how important your pot choice can be. The design and color of the pot should echo or contrast your plant, yet not overpower it. It also talks about top-dressing, such as using crushed stone or blue glass to enhance your potted plant.

Part Two is about “Plant Palette.” This section is about color and form and about what types of succulents are good for containers. From Aeoniums and Agaves to Euphorbias, Sedums and Synadeniums, it’s a good introduction to succulents for beginners. This section also goes over what make good companion plants to succulents, such as Bromeliads and Oxalis.

Part Three is “Creative Designs and Displays.” Grouping pots, planting succulents in unusual containers like a bird bath, bathtub or fountain, hanging baskets, miniature landscapes, living wreaths, topiary, and vertical gardening are covered in this chapter. Definitely a fun chapter, just for the pictures alone.

Part Four is “Planting, Care, and Propagation.” I have to admit that I skipped to this chapter first because I really was winging it on the succulents I already had and didn’t know much about them. Plus, I wanted to know how to take cuttings, which is super-easy. Sun exposure, potting and repotting, soil and fertilizer, watering, grooming, overwintering, pests and diseases, and creating new plants from old are all topics covered here – very useful to those of us who are relatively new to the world of succulents.

At the end of the book you’ll find plant lists sectioned off by height, texure, color, etc.

This book helped fuel the succulent fire that began last year. It’s a great reference for inspiration and good for gaining a basic understanding of succulents and how to use them in containers. I would recommend it to anyone who has discovered an interest in succulents and wants to learn more.

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