Succulents Simplified Leads me to Temptation

Who doesn't love succulents? Perky, colorful, cute and compact--most make me want to just pick them up and hug them. Which I often do, after I get them home at least. But eventually, due to light limitations during the winter, they turn into sad and spindly shadows of their former selves.

But now I have a plant light, so once again I'll be putting together a succulent dish. The hardest part will be deciding which ones to gather out of the hundreds of varieties available. I'm already planning a trip to Ted's Greenhouse, which houses Ted's wonderful cacti and succulent selection, where you can find all sorts of treasures.

And I now have a wonderful guide to the selection, design and care of succulent/cacti planters in Debra Lee Baldwin's Succulents Simplified.

I love the look of mixed containers of succulents, and few people do it better than Baldwin. She is the author of two other titles on the subject: Designing with Succulents and Succulent Container Gardens.

What Baldwin does in her latest book is to showcase many possibilities along with suggestions for the easiest plants to grow. Succulents are increasingly easy to find, as many growers are capitalizing on their popularity. From adorably chubby Sedums to spiky Haworthias and elegant Echeverias, you're bound to find a batch at your local garden center.

It's hard not to page through the whole book, going from one gorgeous photo to the next. I'd definitely rate Succulents Simplified as eye candy, but of a type that's good for you as well. So let's see... Should I create a hanging basket of succulents like the one in Baldwin's book?  The gorgeous grouping of plants with names like paddle plant, kitten paws and burro tail make it sound as colorful as it looks. In addition to the ingredient list of plants with their botanical names, supplies like an artist's brush to sweep away debris from the plants after finishing to chopsticks and plastic spoons, this book makes it look easy.

After looking through the book and reading Baldwin's tips, I see that I haven't been packing the plants together tightly enough to create the look I'd like. 

I found some gorgeous bowls of succulents last summer at C. Raker & Sons, a leading wholesaler of plants in North America. 

Anyway, I fell in love with these colorful mixtures of simple succulents--easily found Sedum, Echeveria and Crassula.
Although the ingredients in these succulent dishes weren't listed, a quick look through Baldwin's book made it easy to glean an approximation of their identities.

Succulents Simplified brings together a primer on the most common but not less colorful varieties, their habits, and how to mix them with others of similar cultural requirements.

Baldwin has broken it down to ten steps to a lush and lovely container garden. And then she shows you how to take the steps. I can't wait to get started.

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