Suc­cu­lents take cen­ter stage

San Francisco Chronicle - - FOOD+HOME - By Pam Peirce

BOOK RE­VIEW New edi­tion brings new ideas and de­signs to the land­scape

Al­though some Bay Area gar­den­ers loved cactus and other suc­cu­lents, a decade ago it was rare to see a land­scape that used these drought-tol­er­ant plants ex­ten­sively. More likely they’d be used as an ac­cent or in a con­tainer or a small bed of spec­i­men plants. Then two things hap­pened. One is the pro­longed drought, with wa­ter re­stric­tions that sent many gar­den­ers scram­bling to plant a water­wise gar­den. The other is that De­bra Lee Bald­win pub­lished the first edi­tion of “De­sign­ing With Suc­cu­lents.” That 2007 edi­tion was a rev­e­la­tion that in­spired many a de­signer.

Now there is a new edi­tion that has been in­formed by the changes wrought, in part, by the first. “De­sign­ing With Suc­cu­lents: Com­pletely Re­vised Sec­ond Edi­tion” (Tim­ber Press, 2017) in­cludes 100 new pho­tos. Many of the new pho­tos were taken in re­cently planted gar­dens that il­lus­trate new de­sign ideas and bold new themes. The text, which is 85 per­cent newly writ­ten, pro­vides a clear and help­ful guide to us­ing suc­cu­lents to cre­ate drought-tol­er­ant, fire re­sis­tant and hand­some land­scapes.

In ad­di­tion to de­sign ex­am­ples and tips, the book in­cludes a chap­ter de­scrib­ing in­di­vid­ual suc­cu­lents from A to Z; a sec­tion on plant­ing and care; and an­other on the top water­wise com­pan­ion plants to grow with suc­cu­lents in a gar­den. To help for­mu­late a gar­den plan, there are lists of species by height or fo­liage color, and a list of suc­cu­lents with dra­matic blooms. I look for­ward to the drama of more in­ven­tive suc­cu­lent gar­dens in­spired by Bald­win’s new edi­tion.

Re­becca Sweet / “De­sign­ing With Suc­cu­lents”

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