Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin

Laure Joliet
Apr 2, 2010

After posting about Susie's Backyard Retreat and her gorgeous tumbling succulents we were psyched to dig into our review copy of Succulent Container Gardens to see what we could learn about creating interesting and healthy container arrangements.

First off, I want to start by saying that I grew up in a plant-centric household. Gramma cultivated a huge garden and mom is a landscape designer. The Sunset Western Garden Guide was one of the first books I was given upon moving out of the house. And even with that being said, I got a lot out of Succulent Container Gardens.

The book is filled with tons and tons of stunning images of succulents and, though it skews to the more traditional side design-wise, there is a lot of useful information about how to care for and maintain succulents. The information is presented clearly and simply and would be great for a novice but still in depth enough for a semi-seasoned succulent-er.

The book covers topics like how to pair plants with pots (which, if you've ever roamed a nursery for 3 hours trying to figure out the best possible arrangement, is super useful) talking about compositional themes like contrast and repetition, scale and proportion, and how to make decisions while at the nursery. There are a bunch of examples (see picture 5) that show exactly why some pots look better than others with certain plants. It might seem obvious, but I always learn more when I have visual references and when things are broken down into simple examples; it just seems to stick with me better and that's exactly what this book offers.

And for anyone that's just been overwhelmed with the choices that abound in the succulent world, a big chunk of the book is dedicated to breaking down (kind of like an encyclopedia) and showing examples of the different kinds of succulents. Aloes, agaves, euphorbias, echeverias, sedums, etc. — each has a description, an image to show you what it looks like and directions for how to care for it. The book shows samples of how to combine the plants, how to use repetition and how to pair them for maximum visual impact. There's even a chapter for companion plants that work well in containers with succulents and cacti. And if you're shy about how to physically plant them, there's a visual guide for how to get them from their little container from the nursery into the pot you're creating.

Overall the book is great for anyone that wants a pretty comprehensive visual guide to succulents and some ideas for how to start pairing, propagating and displaying succulents in containers. If you have more experience and have done a fair amount on your own you can still learn a lot from the book (there's a whole breakdown for creating wreaths and more complicated structures, like something we'd never heard of — tube planters — see images 3 and 6). Plus the sheer amount of images and ideas are worth it just for the inspiration.

The book is Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants by Debra Lee Baldwin and is available through Amazon.

(Images: Supplied by Timber Press)

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us a copy of the book for review purposes.

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