Behind the Scenes with my Succulents 2014 Calendar

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While compiling photos for my Succulents 2014 calendar, I looked back through hundreds of photos I’d taken in 2013. I evaluated them in terms of composition and how they might illustrate a specific month. For January, I think of aloes in bloom. But these photos say more to me than that. When I look at it the photo at lower left, I remember the garden I visited and how lovely it looked that day. It’s in San Diego near the airport, and the designer is Randy Laurie.

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I spent a lot of time in 2013 in Jeanne Meadow’s garden in Fallbrook, CA, in fact, I wrote an article about it for the Early Spring 2014 issue of Country Gardens magazine, a Better Homes & Gardens publication. Jeanne grows Crassula perforata (above) better than anyone I know. The photo above is Miss February, 2014.

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I couldn’t decide on one photo of an echeveria, so I did a collage of several. These photos were taken at Oasis Water Efficient Gardens, a nursery near my home in Escondido, CA. Oasis has an outstanding selection of echeverias.

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Miss April is Agave victoriae-reginae, one of my favorite succulents. Like a beautiful woman, this agave—named after Queen Victoria—always photographs beautifully.

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I couldn’t decide on one aeonium for May, so I did an assortment. Most of those shown here were  in my own garden or at Oasis. The variegated ones are ‘Sunburst’.

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I photographed these aloes in bloom at the San Diego Botanic Garden. I was there with Candy Suter (Sweetstuff’s Sassy Succulents) who photographed the flowers from below. She had to crouch low to the ground. I followed suit and got this great shot.

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I love undersea-themed succulent gardens, don’t you? They seem appropriate for July. Top left: Fish wine charms from Pier One Imports swim amid Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’. Top right: A bottle fish in my garden, with Crassula tetragona. Lower right: Agave bovicornuta with a variegated furcraea. Bottom right: Haworthia attenuata.

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I saw this variegated Agave potatorum hybrid at the Intercity Cactus & Succulent Show at the Los Angeles Arboretum, held in August every year.  Its owner is Tony Krock of Terra Sol Garden Center in Santa Barbara, CA. It’s a good example of the highly desirable hybrid succulents we can look forward to, as they become more widely available.

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This lovely combo of orange Sedum nussbaumeranium and Sedum ‘Blue Spruce’ is in Jeanne Meadow’s garden. I thought the colors represented September well.

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For October, we need eerie stuff, right? The plants shown here are mutants—convoluted, crested cacti and succulents. They’re beautiful in a creepy kind of way.

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November is one of my favorite plants: Euphorbia resinifera in all its geometric beauty. I love how it forms colonies.

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And then there’s December, with a glittering ornament hanging from the prickly leaf of Agave marlothii in Patrick Anderson’s garden. The two photos on the right were taken in Susi Torre-Bueno’s garden, in Vista, CA. Do you see the hummingbird in the photo at top right, on the Aloe bainesii? I also used this photo for a holiday greeting card. The message is Happy Aloedays—which is my wish to you, dear GGW readers and fans!

My calendar, greeting cards and other succulent-themed gift items are available from my online Zazzle store.

About Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin gardens on "an inhospitable half acre" in Escondido, CA, near San Diego. She is an award-winning photojournalist and artist with hundreds of articles and columns to her credit. Debra's books are Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified. www.debraleebaldwin.com.

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8 Responses to Behind the Scenes with my Succulents 2014 Calendar

  1. Karen December 6, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Those are truly awesome photos. I don’t envy you having to choose which ones to use.

  2. karen December 6, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Such beautiful photos! I really LOVE your choice for September….Sedum nussbaumeranium is one of my faves!

  3. Patrick December 6, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Absolutely beautiful imagery and I enjoyed reading the thinking behind each monthly selection. I think Miss September is my favorite.

  4. Judy Tillson December 6, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Absolutely, positively, the most beautiful photographs of the succulents, all put together in one gorgeous calendar. Thanks for sharing your process!

  5. Andrea December 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Beautiful photos and great compositions! Congratulations!

  6. Candy Suter December 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Thank you sweetie for the shout out! And I can’t wait to get my calendar as all the photos are so beautiful! Good idea for a post and I love your thinking process. OX

  7. commonweeder December 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    What beautiful images. My new outdoor succulent troughs may have been planted with some tender items. I brought them inside to protect the troughs, but it looks like I was too late to save a couple of the succulents. From now on I will buy my succulents mail order and know exactly what I am getting. The local garden center had an array, but unnamed and with no info. Grrrrrr.

  8. Kiva December 18, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    Some really nice photos you have there! The aeoniums have really spectacular patterns!
    Kiva recently posted…Starting seeds in the greenhouse: Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, etc.)My Profile