Succulent Container Gardens: a must-have book

Debra Lee Baldwin’s book, [amazon_link id=”088192959X” target=”_blank” ]Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants[/amazon_link], was named one of Amazon’s best ten books of 2010 in the Home and Garden category. After avidly reading the book, I understood why.

[amazon_link id=”088192959X” target=”_blank” ]Succulent Container Gardens[/amazon_link] is a fantastic book. Debra Lee combines superb writing, with glorious photographs (she shot most of the photos), and raises it all to perfection by organizing the information and photos into well thought-out sections. It’s not surprising that this book has received rave reviews from many garden bloggers. It’s a book worth gushing about…

Debra Lee’s advice on pairing plants with pots, as well as how to display them, is both practical and inspired. She manages to put into words what makes a container combination fabulous, and how you too can do it.

While I was reading the book at a local Starbucks, I noticed a young mentally challenged woman and her support worker glancing over at the book. I took pity on them and lent them the book for a couple of minutes. The creative design and displays section enthralled the young woman to no end. The support worker thanked me. She now knew what activities to plan for her young charge: planting up a creative fun succulent container!

Imagine images of 350 types of succulents displayed in eye-catching displays. There’s bound to be a succulent to suit most people’s budget, taste and yes, even climate.

However, most of the succulents in this book wouldn’t survive a Canadian winter. But many of us in northern climes grow succulents indoors and trundle them out in late spring. There’s something compelling about growing a striking architectural plant that’s not only unique but also needs a gardener’s care.

I’m not one of those gardeners. I only grow hardy, tough plants. Fortunately, the book does have a small section on hardy succulents, the hardiest succulent, Opuntia humifusa is hardy to -45 degree Fahrenheit (-43 degree Celsius, if you were wondering).

Because the selection of cold-hardy succulents is small in this book (13 named plants for Zone 5 (-20 degree Fahrenheit)), I would also recommend getting Gwen Kelaidis’s [amazon_link id=”158017700X” target=”_blank” ]Tough Plants for Every Climate[/amazon_link] (Storey Publishing, 2008). Gwen lives in Denver, Zone 5b. All the succulents she mentions in her book are hardy to at least Zone 5 (Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Omaha), with many of the succulents also hardy to Zone 3 (Edmonton and Calgary).

What makes [amazon_link id=”088192959X” target=”_blank” ]Succulent Container Gardens[/amazon_link] a must-have for succulent-lovers everywhere? It’s the thoughtful, creative and innovative ways of showing off succulents. Debra Lee makes the art of displaying succulents accessible to everyone. After finishing Debra Lee’s book, I wanted to go out and get some succulents and plant them everywhere. No, wait. It’s winter. I will have to wait until spring. Watch out world!

BIG thanks to Debra Lee Baldwin for asking the publishers to send me a complimentary copy. It was one of the best Christmas presents I received this year.

Written by Cristina da Silva
Friday, January 7, 2011 in Book & Product Reviews

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  1. Christina, thank you! What a wonderful story about the young woman in Starbucks. You’ve hit the essence of why I wrote this sequel to “Designing with Succulents” (which was primarily about in-ground gardens)—to make it possible for anyone, anywhere, to grow and enjoy these marvelous plants. True, most are frost-tender, but as you pointed out, containers are portable. In some climates, all that’s needed is to move them beneath eves. Btw, one of the largest Cactus & Succulent Society shows in the US takes place in Missouri (St. Louis, Zone 6)! P.S. I’ve sent this along to Timber Press. Very kind of you to thank them.

  2. Cristina da Silva says:

    Thanks, Debra!

    I wish you continued success with this fabulous book.

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