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Book Review and Giveaway: Succulent Container Gardens

comments (76) April 19th, 2010 in blogs
BillyGoodnick Billy Goodnick, contributor
25 users recommend

Post a comment to this story by May 17, 2010, for a chance to win a copy of Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin.
Post a comment to this story by May 17, 2010, for a chance to win a copy of Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin. Click the image to enlarge.

Post a comment to this story by May 17, 2010, for a chance to win a copy of Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin.


Is there someone in your life you would just love to entice into the world of gardening? Let’s call her Michele. How much would it be worth in cold hard cash to bring Michele over to the light side?

I think $50 would be a bargain for a goodie bag jammed with special treats. Think of the payoff: a delighted lunch partner eager to join you in a just-off-the-vine heirloom snap bean, an understanding ear for your earwig-induced ennui, an accomplice for your next impulsive begonia buying blitz.
 

  Post a comment for a chance to win a copy of Succulent Container Gardens

To enter the drawing, register for this site (or log in, if you are already a member) and post a comment about this review.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of Succulent Container Gardens.

To be eligible for the drawing, comments must be posted by noon on May 17.
   
My suggestion for Michele includes a perky yard-sale flower pot, a few chubby succulents, one generous handful of potting soil, a pinch of tumbled glass and Debra Lee Baldwin’s Succulent Container Gardens book. (Timber Press, 2010, $29.95).

We need Michele to spring from the starting gate and gallop into the race. Nothing gives a newbie a better chance at success than succulents. They are amazingly simple to grow, thrive on benign neglect, come in intriguing shapes and patterns, display every color of the rainbow, and can be grown indoors.
  
As you might expect, Succulent Container Gardens is chock full of practical how-to information. The book is logically organized beginning with ideas for matching the right plant with the right pot, offers a generous list of 350 plants that do well in containers, then wows you with images and descriptions of creative designs and displays. Every aspect of cultivation from sun exposure to watering, repotting, soil choices, feeding and selecting containers is presented in a writing style that is not only informative, but bubbles up from the page.

Sample photos from the book
(courtesy Timber Press)
   Faucaria in bloom.
   
   Miniature bucket.
   
   Shell pot with burro cactus.
   
   Sherman pot.
   
   A trio of pots.
An equally compelling reason to put this beautifully photographed and playfully designed book in Michele’s hands is the rock-solid, mini-design curriculum that Debra generously infuses into the first chapters. It’s one thing to fill a book with photographs of beautiful plants imaginatively arranged in a wild array of containers. But Debra helps readers understand why the image on the page is so alluring, stating:

“Whenever you see a pleasing succulent container garden, ask yourself what about it appeals to you. Go beyond viewing it as a whole and pay attention to its parts–how they illustrate one or more aspects of good design.”

Debra then launches into her version of Visual Design 101, showing how the interplay of contrast and repetition, color, line, texture, scale and proportion are the foundation of what we see and enjoy in the designed, as well as the natural, environment. These are concepts that apply to all garden compositions and styles, indoors or out, in the ground or cascading from a claw-foot bathtub.

Debra offers advice that applies equally to a grand estate garden, an intimate courtyard, or a three-container vignette on a porch: “Color contrast happens when complementary hues—those from opposite sides of the color wheel—are juxtaposed: red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.”

Most of the photographs in the book are Debra’s, each a frameable work of art. She travels extensively and has brought together a collection of images that will start your creative juices flowing.

Debra’s love of succulent plants is logical, given her San Diego county roots and experiences gardening on the West Coast. But don’t assume that living outside the banana belt prevents you from collecting succulents. Debra was inspired to write this book as the follow-up to her earlier bestseller: Designing With Succulents (2007).

“People everywhere are interested in succulents, but they can be challenging to cultivate in cold, wet climates” Debra says. “Growing succulents in containers was my way of letting frustrated gardeners in on the fun.”

Asked about the rapidly growing allure of succulents, Debra notes that they have sculptural, architectural, geometric forms not found in other plants. “As a gardening enthusiast becomes more sophisticated, he or she realizes that flowers are short-lived, but foliage can create beautiful effects throughout the year."

I’m not suggesting that Michele be molded into your identical twin–what fun would that be? I’m sure there’ll still be a few differences to distinguish the two of you, like her inexplicable taste for chocolate chip bagels, or her inability to parallel park. But having a bestest buddy to share your gardening exploits with sure seems like a big plus.

1 plant + 1 pot + 1 Succulent Container Gardens book = Lifelong Garden Pal. I strongly suggest that you add a copy to the shopping list for yourself. You’ll be reading it for years. Or post a comment to this story for a chance to win a free copy (see details above).

For more about Debra Lee Baldwin, her books, and public appearances visit http://www.debraleebaldwin.com/

 



posted in: cool green gardens, billy goodnick, succulents, containers, cacti, book review

Comments (76)

outdoorgardener writes: I get the point....lol Posted: 5:18 pm on June 7th
tambo313 writes: I just bought 6 different varities of succulents a couple of weeks ago. I'm still looking for the perfect container for them. I'm thinking of making my own, a hyertufa container. Would love to win this book!! Posted: 9:07 am on May 20th
zone3hardy writes: I hope I'm not too late.....
I bought a huge hens and chicks this weekend and I am now IN LOVE with succulents. I would absolutely adore a copy of this book - and would put it to great use. Posted: 1:02 pm on May 17th
SueHabib writes: Great to see a new way to look at succulents. I didn't think I liked them until seeing some of the beautiful pictures. Thanks for the review. Posted: 11:14 am on May 17th
gardenerCathy writes: What a great idea! I bought some succulents last year at the farmers market, but when I asked about their habits the seller said his wife grew them and not himself. I never met his wife and have been looking for information ever since. I would love to win this book, because our new porches have an overhang that would be a great place to grow succulents. Cheers, Cathy (with a c). Posted: 10:38 am on May 17th
Jenn87 writes: I've only started growing succulents & sedums about a year or so ago & I love them. I really like how this book explains what to look for in arranging containers & what's missing. That's something I really need to work on. Posted: 6:50 pm on May 16th
thepotlady writes: I do alot of container gradening, but I want to get into succulents. I live in south central Texas, about 3 miles from the border. Hot, Hot, Hot, here, so I need this book to help me pick out the right plants for this area. I am retired, so I have lots of time to try my hand at succulents container gardening. Posted: 2:51 pm on May 16th
NicolR writes: As a novice gardener, I tend to lean towards traditional container gardens. This is beautiful! I would love to try my hand at this kind of container gardening. Posted: 12:06 am on May 16th
greenworm writes: What a beautiful cover on this book and what beautiful pics. Totally inspiring. I have just started some Mexican herb pots, planted with succulents and they make me so happy when I look at them. My neighbor and I split up our nursery purchase, as each pot came with more than one in it, so now we have double the variety! Posted: 2:50 am on May 14th
2BALIVE writes: This sounds like an excited book although I live on the east coast I have raised a few succlents both inside and outside. The more I see them and play with them the more I see the uniqueness of these plants. The book seems to have a plethora of information for a beginner or someone advanced gardener. Posted: 10:03 pm on May 13th
Stimpy3 writes: I have been thinking about planting an unusual container filled with succulents for my back patio. It would be a conversation piece for when I have company over. This book looks like it could give me some great ideas & inspiration for just the right container. As a bonus it will tell me exactly how to plant it. Thanks! Posted: 9:11 am on May 13th
Stimpy3 writes: I have been thinking about planting an unusual container filled with succulents for my back patio. It would be a conversation piece for when I have company over. This book looks like it could give me some great ideas & inspiration for just the right container. As a bonus it will tell me exactly how to plant it. Thanks! Posted: 9:11 am on May 13th
Stimpy3 writes: I have been thinking about planting an unusual container filled with succulents for my back patio. It would be a conversation piece for when I have company over. This book looks like it could give me some great ideas & inspiration for just the right container. As a bonus it will tell me exactly how to plant it. Thanks! Posted: 9:11 am on May 13th
tinao writes: Well, I tried to start a succulent garden in a spot in my garden but didn't have much luck. The book looks wonderful. I just love succulents - the forms and colors are so beautiful - and maybe the book would help me be successful. Posted: 4:34 pm on May 12th
DeannaL writes: I am just getting into succulents, and this book looks like the perfect all-in-one reference, with amazing photos too. Posted: 4:05 pm on May 12th
fireman809 writes: fireman809:Yes i would like to win this book. I,am retired now an would love to read about succulents, Billy. The colors looks pretty. Posted 9:00am on May 12th Posted: 8:51 am on May 12th
jennahw writes: As I was plucking out some crowded hens and chicks over the weekend, I set aside a bunch of succulents to make some sort of container out of. Possibly a wreath even? But I could really use some ideas, so I'd love to win this! In the meantime, it's going on my wishlist! :) Posted: 10:02 am on May 11th
red_aeroplane writes: I have been looking for a book just like this one for some time, looks very promising.

Posted: 11:35 pm on May 10th
TerdalFarm writes: I am starting a succulent garden in an area of clay soil left over from swimming pool excavation. Not possible? It is. I put down landscape cloth, covered it with decorative rock ("rock garden" to my kids) and plan to set out potted succulents. Only have two so far. This book might give me ideas on how to make this otherwise difficult part of my poolscape cool--even in the heat. Hope I win it! --Erik Posted: 9:43 am on May 9th
Flagtruck writes: What a wonderful story, makes me want to jump right into this book. I have a lot of succulents but they dwindle every year as it is hard to know which ones to get that are hardy to my zone 7b-8a. I would love to be able tohave the large agave types. How yummy! Posted: 6:12 pm on May 5th
Beezos writes: I live in Oklahoma but have been into succulents for several years now. They give you the WOW factor in spades, the variety is simply amazing and they are so low maintenance, I just love them. They really make people stop and want to take a closer look. The photography in this book looks pretty incredible and really entices me to experiment with more combinations of my own. So glad to see gardening trends like succulents that don't require tons of water/fertilizer or fussy maintenance either! Stunning and very eco friendly which is the direction we should all be heading. Great book! Posted: 1:34 pm on May 5th
cib5 writes: I haven't read the book and the comments make me even more eager to do so.
My interest in succulents began in 1948 when my grandfather took my mother, her friend and me to Twenty-nine Palms in California. Twenty-nine Palms is located north east of Palm Springs. It is the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park. Since I was only 5 just about to have my 6th birthday, I didn't remember much about the succulents.
This January I returned to Twenty-nine Palms for a short holiday: my husband had died in the fall and I wanted to be somewhere interesting during the time of our anniversary. A friend joined me and we explored Joshua Tree National Park over two days. I took pictures of many succulents and was fascinated to see the variety of succulents.
I took the pictures not only for a memory-aide. I am legally blind with residual vision. Looking at the pictures of succulents protected my nose from getting pricked.
Since I've been home I have bought two classes of succulents: those that like direct sun and those that tolerate only filtered sun. I would like to transplant those that love direct sun into a sunny place in my garden. I have a planter that I think will be ok and I know that the succulents want to be closely planted. I would also like to plant or organize the filtered sun succulents in some type of planting.
The book would be a great help and delight for me to read and use in guiding my new interest in succulents.
I'm sorry that this post reads more like a plea to win the book than as a book review. Posted: 1:24 pm on May 3rd
punkin47 writes: I really like succulents. They make your garden very pretty as long as they are positioned correctly. The photos are wonderful. I very new to this and that is why I need to win this book. Posted: 9:23 am on May 1st
punkin47 writes: I really like succulents. They make your garden very pretty as long as they are positioned correctly. The photos are wonderful. I very new to this and that is why I need to win this book. Posted: 9:23 am on May 1st
morganP writes: Nice book. Have you ever read an example of book talking about crime or anything political? Laura Bush has printed a "tell all" type of book that is due to be introduced in May. There's much criticism as there always is with anything any political person does, nevertheless the Laura Bush Book hasn't even been released yet. You will find stories about a automobile accident she got in when she was only 17, where she killed another person, and about quite a few her political beliefs. While I hope this is a good book worth studying, there is much criticism that this book is more of a defense of her and her husband's existence and past than a biography about her life. Posted: 4:29 am on May 1st
crosbytrio writes: Succulents are my addiction in gardening! And being from San Diego know just how perfect the climate is there. Now in Denver area and missing some of my favorite plants. This book puts great combos together for the containers we need to use here in Colorado. Thank you Billy for the review and Debra for the inspiration.
I'll look for the book, etc. in the mail!;)
Posted: 6:09 pm on April 30th
SeasonalWisdom writes: Hi Billy: I'll be honest with you. Ive been lusted after this book for months... ever since I saw the cover.

It would be a delight to win a copy, especially after reading your excellent review. Meanwhile, hope all is well in your neck of the woods and look forward to seeing you again soon. Best regards, Teresa Posted: 1:23 pm on April 29th
Linda_Blaksley writes: I love this review about succulents. I have found a couple of succulents in my garden that just appeared years after I had thought they were gone. I also have a beautiful Jade that I bought because it reminded me of the first plant I ever had that did not die in the first couple of months. My favorite part about them is that if a piece breaks off you can stick it in water or dirt and soon you will have another plant. It makes for a nice gift idea, just as Billy says. Posted: 12:53 pm on April 28th
MNGarden writes: I'm just getting into succulents; last couple of summers I have had the 'ol faithfuls, hen and chicks and have enjoyed them. I look forward to learning much more from this book, with its beautiful pictures! Posted: 10:13 pm on April 27th
PlantDr writes: Hi I'm kinda new at this but I was so excited about the book I had to give it a try. They used to call me the Plant Dr. when in my 20's I would try to save everyones dying plants at the Naval Dental Clinic I worked at. One time I even spent an entire paycheck on plants from a nursery that was closing. My apartment smelled like chlorophyll! Anyway since then I've gotten a BA in fine arts and I absolutely love the photos...very good. Now I'm helping a friend in desparate need of a focal point for the front of his house. He wants to sell it this summer. When I thought of containers in this book I realized he could take them with him when he moves! I had a few succulents in my apartment back then. I particularly remember a beautiful jade plant that got lots of comments. I kinda got away from live plants having moved alot in the past. But this book has re-inspired me to rejuvinate my green thumb as my next move will be my last. Posted: 7:58 pm on April 27th
kathygardener writes: Can't wait to work with the succulents in my greenhouse! I eventually want to add them into a living wreath. Sure wished I could find them wholesale in my area! Posted: 5:50 pm on April 27th
Amelda77 writes: I love to garden, but living in an apartment has put a damper on that. This is a great way to spruce up my front stoop. I have always been curious about succulents but have never ventured that direction. I'm excited to try something new! Posted: 1:27 pm on April 27th
RitaM writes: I use succulents in pots but mine do not look as good. My ploants have even survived frost (but not my pots). I am looking forwards to reading this book so my pots can look as good. Posted: 10:01 am on April 27th
aspringer writes: I love succulents and have been wanting to learn more about them. Thanks for the wonderful article and I look forward to seeing the book. Maybe I will even try a succulent garden for my sister who is definitely not a green thumb! Posted: 8:31 am on April 27th
aztcqn writes: Of course, I need a new gardening obsession. Just barely over my drought tolerant cistus, lavatera shrub and sage craze.
About to get my fix for planting veronica as a lawn cover. Now, the timimg is perfect for container succulents. I always need a new reason to collect more neat plants
Posted: 1:49 am on April 27th
pmprescott writes: Succulents are a great way to add something quirky to a container garden setting. I have about 10 succulents that are thriving,,,,while the rest of my plants are struggling. I can't wait to see the fabulous design ideas in this book. Posted: 11:42 pm on April 26th
flowersinapot writes: This book has been #1 on my needs list for my garden library - succulents are a way to make most new gardeners feel successful! Posted: 10:52 pm on April 26th
relaxationworks writes: As a massage therapist I am always looking for unique and creative ways to say thank you to my clients!! Posted: 10:27 pm on April 26th
cricket101 writes: This looks like a wonderful book! I would love to add this one to my gardening collection.........full of inspiration. Definitely a must have! Posted: 10:07 pm on April 26th
Avronelle writes: This book would be a great kick start to my new endeavor of designing with succulents. As a child I would spend hours marveling at the different succulents my Grandmother had all over the inside of the house and in multiple garden spaces outside. The pictures are great and from the article it seems this book would be my 'bible' for succulents. Posted: 9:15 pm on April 26th
lnewcomer writes: Adding new succulents to my containers and gardens was already on my to do list for this year. This book looks like it is full of beautiful ideas. I am inspired by the sampling of pictures on the website, I can't wait to see the whole book. Posted: 6:54 pm on April 26th
BobbiePCB writes: What a wonderful book! My daughter left her book for me to browse. Page after page draws me back for more, and every sitting brings me another beautiful picture to enjoy. Posted: 6:31 pm on April 26th
omakaren writes: This certainly looks like an addition to my gardening library! This year I have already done several presentations dealing with container gardening- a new favorite with folks in Huntsville Alabama. Succulents in a container can be used in so many situations without a lot of care- and they look the same all the time- except for growing. Great textural contrasts possible. Easy plants.
Posted: 6:08 pm on April 26th
eripoppel writes: My Dad used to grow succulents all over our garden and every year they would come back. I am a great fan of container garden already (lived in AK and had to with the short growing season). Have lots of ideas but really am scarred with succulents since I never tried them in containers. My daughter said already, that should I win, she would have to borrow it from me to get her own ideas! Posted: 3:01 pm on April 26th
madsp writes: I generally have fantastic luck with houseplants, but succulents are a different story. Mine tend to not live very long, and if they do I often don't like the look of them once they grow out a bit. However, I love the look of succulents together in arrangements. I wonder if the book talks at all about how to prune succulents. The arrangements look fantastic. Posted: 2:47 pm on April 26th
LynninCA writes: The photos of the containers look so cool! Would love the full book. Posted: 1:59 pm on April 26th
NoreenL writes: I have always loved succulents but I use them mostly outdoors. After looking at some of the containers I will definitely start putting them in containers. Thanks for the inspiration! Posted: 1:46 pm on April 26th
katklaw777 writes: I tend to kill my succulents with too much love(water).
This book looks like it has great helpful suggestions. Beautiful pictures too. Thanks. Posted: 1:16 pm on April 26th
lseddins writes: This sounds like a good book for both information and pictures; kudos for putting some pictures in the review. I have very little experience with succulents, the pictures make them seem attractive and doable. Posted: 1:05 pm on April 26th
abcflower writes: I fell in love with succulents after planting only one! Now I have many and keep adding more. This book is perfect for me! Can't wait to read it-the pictures look fabulous! Posted: 12:21 pm on April 26th
hummergirl writes: A succulent garden might be perfect for my deck because I cannot keep things watered enough for them to survive! Maybe succulents would! I would love to win this book and learn how to create one or more to put by my front door on the deck.
Thank you for the chance to win and learn more about how to grow succulents.
Posted: 11:29 am on April 26th
aliciajordan writes: I've never planted with succulents. I would love to try them. The pictures and story make it look so easy and they are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for your consideration. Posted: 10:33 am on April 26th
KVgarden writes: What a great book to add to my collection! Thanks for doing this. Posted: 9:50 am on April 26th
Grace443 writes: I love gardening with succulents since they add color and dash without the constant dropping of flowers that other plants on my porch used to do. They are more resilient and bring more pleasure than other types of plants that I've grown over the years. I'd love to see ALL the wonderful ideas that this book porvides! Posted: 9:46 am on April 26th
shamrockmom writes: I would LOVE to win a copy of this book. I am presently recovering from major abdominal surgery where I am housebound and unable to drive. It will be a very long recovery. While I am recovering, I am trying think of ways to transform my backyard into a tropical paradise. This book seems like it would be very beneficial in allowing me to grow succulents in containers without feeling frustrated. Posted: 9:46 am on April 26th
cinntinaw writes: Someone recently gave me an old coal bucket with a hole in the bottom. I can't think of better plants to add to this than a variety of succulents. Great inspiration! I loved the mini planter. There are so many cute little succulents available. I may have to pot up some tiny treasures for our garden club plant sale just to hear customers ooooh and ahhhh over them! Posted: 9:35 am on April 26th
rcd823 writes: Beautiful photos--would love to win the book. Posted: 9:18 am on April 26th
Ladybug820 writes: I would love to win this book to learn how to bring some beauty into my home... Posted: 7:30 am on April 26th
cactusmama writes: AWESOME BOOK!!
WOULD LOVE TO HAVE IT IN MY GARDEN LIBRARY.
I HAVE GROWN SUCCULENTS FOR YEARS BUT THIS BOOK GIVES ME NEW IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR CONTAINER GARDENING.
LOVE THE PHOTOS!! Posted: 2:25 am on April 26th
weeder1 writes: Ohhh! I need this book in my library! Such inspiration!!
I love succulents.. so do the deer and the squirrels but that's not going to stop me. Beautiful book. I want one! Posted: 11:00 pm on April 25th
Deziner writes: Put me in the running for the book.
Though I have been growing succulents in pots for several years now, my sisters would sure appreciate having an expert book to turn to for their questions.
Nothing like sending them a box of succulent cuttings from my garden to theirs and having a great book along side to help them with designing their compositions. Posted: 4:16 pm on April 23rd
DaffodilPlanter writes: The book is GORGEOUS and inspiring--converted me to succulents. Great gift book. Visitors to my house can't keep their hands off it. Posted: 10:29 am on April 23rd
GurunGiri writes: I would love to get this book and get started on succulent gardening Posted: 3:11 pm on April 22nd
KerryAnn writes: It's sitting on my desk... LOVE this book! Posted: 3:07 pm on April 22nd
Whitty001 writes: I have heard good things about this author. I have put this particular book on my TBR and Wish List. Posted: 11:40 am on April 20th
succulentlover writes: I have both of Debra's books and her cd. I am on a mission to convince all my garden friends that succulents can be a great addition to their landscape. I just gave one of Debra's container gardening book to a friend who does the English Style gardening and she loves it. It's a great start. Posted: 11:30 am on April 20th
Arbutus79 writes: Fantastic pictures on this post! Those beautiful pictures are my favorite part of a good gardening book. Posted: 11:23 am on April 20th
katie74 writes: I have seen her last book and it was remarkable to say the least, however, I'm even more interested in seeing photos of MattM's Redneck Garden (comedy in the garden makes it grow better :) Posted: 6:46 am on April 20th
AngelaDavis writes: I have Deborah's other book on Succulent Gardening and love it! I can only imagine this one is just as fabulous! Posted: 2:07 am on April 20th
Artbykace writes: Debra Lee Baldwin's photos are always incredible, and the information she puts together empowers gardeners everywhere to create beautiful gardens. I have her first book, but can't afford to buy the new one right now, I hope to win a copy. Posted: 10:22 pm on April 19th
AnaOrange writes: I love that her book focuses on some of the most exquisite water-wise plant material available and that she shows their application in gardens large and small. Thanks for featuring it, Billy! Posted: 10:16 pm on April 19th
techista writes: Very nice pics! Posted: 9:38 pm on April 19th
Methyl writes: Oooh! I just want to win any book by Saxon Holt! Posted: 6:32 pm on April 19th
andinsky writes: Looking forward to the book - the cover and pages available on this blog are excellent. It's always great to explore new ideas for creating eye-catching succulent pots and displays. Thank you. Posted: 4:40 pm on April 19th
reggieee writes: Really love the photos in this article...so I'm sure the book will be great. Can't wait to see it. Hope I win! :-) Posted: 3:25 pm on April 19th
Matt_M writes: Nice review with good suggestions, Billy. Seems to me that succulents would be a perfect addition to the Redneck Garden and possibly even within my skill set. Posted: 3:16 pm on April 19th
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