Behind the Scenes with my Succulents 2014 Calendar

– Posted in: Succulents

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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.

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications. www.debraleebaldwin.com.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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Karen December 6, 2013, 8:12 am

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

karen December 6, 2013, 9:34 am

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

Patrick December 6, 2013, 10:24 am

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

Judy Tillson December 6, 2013, 10:33 am

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

Andrea December 6, 2013, 3:05 pm

Beautiful photos and great compositions! Congratulations!

Candy Suter December 7, 2013, 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

commonweeder December 9, 2013, 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.

Kiva December 18, 2013, 6:25 am

Some really nice photos you have there! The aeoniums have really spectacular patterns!
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