Succulents take center stage
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.