Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ruth Bancroft Garden

Last Saturday the 12th I was invited by my friend and fellow blogger Gerhard Bock to attend Ruth Bancroft Garden spring opening and plant sale.  Gerhard is author of the popular blog Succulents & More and already has a couple of posts on our visit.  I jumped at the chance even though I had to get up early and meet him at 8 a.m. in Davis!

We met for breakfast then headed to RBG in Gerhard's van but ran into a problem when we encountered traffic from an accident.  The sale was from 9 to 11 for members of which Gerhard is one.  I was really honored that he would ask me to go.  But because of the delay we didn't arrive until 9:30 and we had to park pretty far away in a residential section.  I brought a garden wagon with hard plastic wheels.  You could hear me coming from a mile away!  It was pretty funny!

When we first entered there was a couple of tables set up with the most incredible succulents.  This is Opuntia sulphurea.  A clipboard was next to each plant so you could place a bid.  It was a silent auction.

Here is a closer view.  Aren't those spines crazy?!

Hmmmm, which one will she choose?

There were rows and rows and tables and tables of plants to choose from!  It was awesome!

Ruth Bancroft is 105 years old and is still going strong.  She made up some special pottings decorated with shells she has collected from all over the world.  What a special lady.  I would love to meet her.  She still has classes of about 6 people.  She started this beautiful garden in the 1950's when her husband gave her 2 1/2 acres of land to do what she wanted.

While we shopped I took a bunch of photos of the garden.

Opuntia Robusta

Agave 'Mr. Ripple'

Large unknown Gasteria!

This is Aloe striata.  Gerhard was lucky enough to find one.  I hope it makes babies and I can get one from him because they didn't any more.  Waah!

This was a huge clump of Euphorbia resinifera.  It was so pretty!

I love the color of this Agave attenuata 'Boutin Blue'.

Ruth Bancroft is a visionary and I love how she planted such a variety of contrasting shapes and colors.

I loved the shape and colors on this Agave Cornelius.

Outstanding red blooms on this unknown cactus has me almost sitting in the dirt to take photos!

This clumping patch of Notocactus magnificus was tucked under a large tree.

I so loooove this Agave Colorata!  Had to show you a close up too!

Isn't this cool!

Shot of the day!  Don't the just love the colors, shapes and lines in this photo!  The light was magnificent.

There were many columnar cactus of many kinds next to the spear like Agaves.  I love this contrast in a cactus garden.

My favorite succulent of the day.  It is a type of Euphorbia called Euphorbia inermis var. huttonae.  And it was blooming!  So that called for another close up!

Isn't this scrumptious!  I bought a Euphorbia that is listed as ssp. which I hope means this one.  Brian Kemble who is extremely knowledgeable on succulents says that when the seeds are ready on these succulents they actually pop and spread all over the garden where they take root.  They then dig some of them up and sell them.  How awesome is that!

This spiraling blooming cactus is Astrophytum ornatum!

Look how huge those Golden Barrel Cactus are!

I love the blue chairs in the shade of these Yucca carnerosana!

This is Agave paryyi but not sure which one.

I have one of these Agave lophantha v. quadricolor.  Can't wait for babies like this!

In the back near the propagation area they had vertical plantings like this for sale.  They were beautiful!

Echeveria Malaco in a perfectly matched pot.

As you can see this was a sample and not for sale because it was not rooted.  But they would have rooted easy enough and I loved the staging!

Another incredible vertical planting!

This metal spider gave me the creeps!  But it was really quite a show stopper.

So if you have a chance place make your way to Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA.  You will love the garden and may go home with some succulent goodies!

Till next time remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!


Monday, March 31, 2014

San Francisco Flower & Garden Show 2014 retail area

It's been over a week since the show and it is really great looking over the photos and remembering the great time I had.  The San Francisco Flower & Garden Show was from March 19-23rd at the San Mateo Event Center.  There was so much for us to see and do.  They had over 200,000 sq feet of just about everything related to Gardening, flowers, floral design and outdoor living.  With over 20 spectacular display gardens and over 250 exhibitors there was just no way to cover it all in two days.  Maybe next year I will be able to stay for the whole event.

I had a great time with Debra Lee Baldwin and helped with her presentations.  I also got to meet up with Tiffany Polli at Succulent Gardens and Larrisa Haney of Succulent Bliss.  We have been trying to meet up for some time and had a wonderful time together with her Mom.

Since my favorite part of the show was the retail area I will cover it first.  They were actually in both buildings (the Expo Hall and Fiesta Hall) but I only made my rounds in the Fiesta Hall the first day.  That's where all the live plant vendors displayed everything from vegetables to exotic orchids of every type and color.  This building had a nice air flow and the smell of all the beautiful plants was intoxicating.

There were quite a few Orchid vendors at the show.  Now I normally don't take notice of them for some reason but this year I paid more attention and took quite a few photos.  I even bought an orchid where the flower smells exactly like coconut.  It is wonderful and is attached to a board so I can hang it to the wall.  I smell it every day.  Now I only hope I can keep it alive.  LOL

Looking at them this close really makes me appreciate their beauty.

And I really got to play with depth of field on my new camera.

Of course Succulent Gardens was there with rows and rows of never ending beautiful succulents.  This is my favorite place and I spent a lot of time (and money) here.  Tiffany and the other SG peeps were always restocking and you barely ever saw a blank spot with no succulent.

More succulent beauty and yes I came home with some!

Sticky Situation

Sticky Situation came all the way from Tuscon, AZ.  And they had quite a great selection of 'sticky' succulents!

So many beautiful succulents.  And as you can see lots of blooming cactus.

This is Tephrocatus articulatus var. papyracanthus.  Such a cool cactus.  I have one but not as far along as this one.

I wish I had spent more time with the owners but just not enough time.  Alas nothing came from from this vendor like last year.

Air Plants from Owens Gardens always has the most fantastic selection of Tillansia.  Every kind you could want.  I love these and they are so easy to take care of.  He had so many varieties and I took some home to live with some others I already have!

These were really kind of neat.  They were tiny colored beads (very tiny) until you added water.  Once you did they swell up and stay wet.  You can add cut flower in a vase and many other uses and the flower will stay watered with these beads.  Not for succulents of course.

These planters hanging from this rack were so cool!  I wish I had gotten one.  See the one on the bottom left?  I wanted to get that beautiful dykia but by the time I went back they were gone.  Sometimes you just have to get something right away and not wait.  And I don't know the vendor.  I even got a press packet with floor diagram by number but it did not have corresponding names.  Very frustrating.

Another vendor I don't know the name of!  Arg!!  But Sue who was working it was so sweet.  I bought a beautiful hanging orchid and some Tillandsia in shells like these!  I already have them hanging!

Meadowland nursery and Urban Farmgirls had a huge area full of fun orbs for the garden, hypertufa pots and great plants! Such great ideas and wonderful displays.

Don't they have some wonderful ideas?  They are located in San Francisco so I may have to take a road trip.

More Urban Farmgirls love.  This cotyledon is so happy with these echeverias in this pot.  Wish I knew what the pink think was but it is cute isn't it.

Anne of Green Gardens is the cutest young enthusiastic plant lover I think I have ever meet.  She lives and runs her wonderful business from her home in Davis, CA.  She had the cutest and most delightful terrariums for you to pick up at a fraction of normal costs.  She even had kits so you could put one together yourself.  I got one of these and will be making an indoor terrarium for the first time.  Can't wait to meet her for lunch.

Just an example of one of her fairy pots.  So darling.

There was just so much in the Fiesta Hall.  Vendors selling booths and other's selling vegetables.  So much to see and do.  So this post is just on the Fiesta Hall.  Next we will go into the Expo Hall and see the craziness in there!

Hope you are staying dry and well.  Until next time remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Can She Save the Ferox?

We have had the weirdest weather here lately.  And I am going to say that this is the main reason why I may lose my large Aloe Ferox.  I did make a pretty big mistake when I tried to save it but I don't think it is the main reason for it's problem.  Let me explain.

We had that long period of dry weather and most of the succulents basically shut down their drinking process.  Then it rained and they started drinking in the water.  It stopped for awhile then it started dumping rain again!  So the other day (about 2 weeks ago) I went outside and was looking around and my Aloe ferox had actually fallen over with the root ball popping out of the soil.  Yikes!  I called for my husband to come and help and we grabbed a bucket and filled it with soil and put it around the base of the Aloe after we put it in an upright position.  I wish I had taken a photo at this point but I was panic stricken.  To make sure it stayed upright we put red lava rocks all around it.  Whew!  I thought I had saved it.  Then it rained again!   

A couple of days later I went outside and OMG!  I saw the ferox absolutely limp and flopped over on the ground.  I put on my gloves (because it scratches) and grabbed a couple of leaves.  The whole plant pulled right out!!!  It had rotted.  Oh no Mr. Bill!!!  I am not sure if it was the water or my extra soil that did it.  So now I am trying to save it!


This is the empty hole and the scene of the crime!!!  See the aloe on the bottom right is happy as a clam!


Here is the stem and the rotten roots!  I cut it off!


Complete mush!  I have had this planted since about 2007.  Makes me sad!


This is the end attached to the root ball.  You can see the rot all around the edges.


As you can see if I am going to save it I need to cut more to get past the rot.


Here is another cut and you can see I am getting close.  I have to cut off all the rot or it will continue.


Here we go no more rot.  And it continued to secrete this yellow liquid.  Yellow blood, how strange.  I had to lose quite a few leaves to get to this point.


This is all that is left and you can see that it was already damaged by the cold in December.  I had to cut off the tips of many leaves.


Witness the carnage!  LOL


I put it like this in an empty strawberry pot so the end will callus over.  I hope in a few weeks time I can plant it in the cactus bed and I will cross my fingers that it develops roots!

Think good thoughts and have a great weekend!

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Little Greenhouse Love

So I am sure by now that everyone that follows along with me on my succulent journey knows that I overwinter a bunch of succulents in my gazebo turned greenhouse.  But I don't know if I have chronicled their emergence in the spring.  So since I am about to take stuff out let's take a peek!


So Bob Marley is doing pretty good.  Lot's of new growth from the top happening!  If you remember he had a terrible accident at the end of 2012 and just wasn't recovering well.  A Christmas tree box was dropped on him.  So before I put him in the greenhouse I chopped his hair off, gave him some fertilizer and hoped for the best.  Yahoo!


I re-potted this little galvanized pot before Fall with this beautiful Aloe as the focal point.  Looks like all have survived!


Don't these succulents kind of look like Octopus tentacles?   They went crazy over the winter in the greenhouse.  And the Echeveria gibbiflora in the back (with babies) is doing great!


I pulled this pot out so it could get a little more sun and saw the back light highlight the red edges on this beautiful aloe.  And don't you just love the caruncles on that echeveria hybrid in the back!


This is a little gross but a rat got in my greenhouse.  So far all I can tell is that he munched on are the stems of these pretty Aloe variegata Partridge breast bloom stalks.  It munched two of the three right off and just started on the third.  Makes me so mad cause it would have been so pretty!


It has a couple of babies peeking out.  I'm so glad the rat decided to leave these alone.  This is the littlest one.


I think this is a shot of a couple of pots.  That Echeveria agavoides lipstick is blooming.  The bloom stalks are pretty thin on this succulent.


My large Euphorbia milii 'Crown of Thorns' (salmon colored) is doing well and blooming in the greenhouse.


Here is another pot of Euphorbia milii.  I combined the white and yellow variety.  They are much smaller but still so pretty.  To the right is my Totem pole cactus doing well.


My string of pearls have gotten so long in this pot I gave them their own roller so they would drag on the ground.  LOL  This year it gets a new hanging pot!


I found these cute little hanging succulent planters at a Bel Air store near my home last fall.  Each one is painted a little different!


The BBQ is growing like crazy!


Echeveria Coral glow bloom stalk is trailing over the succulents and little prickly pear cactus.  It's making the rounds checking everyone out.


I planted many different varieties of small aloe in this pot in the hopes they will make lots of babies.  These look so great in pottings with others succulents.  Check out the pretty little bloom on the aloe in the foreground.

So when the rain is about done I will be taking the plastic off of the greenhouse and slowly bringing all these plants out into the sun.  When succulents are waking up after their winter slumber they need to be watered a little at a time and slowly brought into the light.  I don't want them to suck up water too fast and get mushy or get burned from the sun.  So be careful!

Have a fantastic week and remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Month Two of 2014

As we enter the second month of 2014 I find that I am already getting excited for the coming Spring.  It probably doesn't help that our weather has been so sunny and rain free.  Granted the nights have been chilly and my sweet succulents are still in hibernation.  And now as I type this we are having a ton of rain!  Wheeee!  That is great news but still not a drought buster.

In this post I just wanted to let you know a bit of what has been going on here at Sweetstuff's.  My more sensitive plants are still in the garage, gazebo/greenhouse and upper bedroom.  Some of the outside plants are still under wraps when it is cold.  So imagine me in the morning taking off the frost cloths and at night putting them back on.   But on the sunny days I have to give my babies some light.

Porch pots doing well

I made this pot for the Succulent Extravaganza last year and it was mostly cuttings.  It's on my front porch and they are growing nicely,  You almost can't see the pumpkin inside anymore.  I used auburn cut glass for top covering.

Upstairs bedroom nursery

In stark contrast to what is going on outside the upstairs bedroom is crispy warm.  Hot sometimes!  So much so that I have to constantly check to make sure they are getting enough water and they are not getting burned.

Baby Pachyphytum oviferum 'Moonstone' flower

Right before fall I divided a Pachyphytum oviferum 'Moonstone' plant that was hanging precariously from a hanging planter.  I was very afraid that the plant would break off and hit the ground and get destroyed.  So I chopped off the plants about an inch from the soil and then cut the tops off.  I was left with a long stem and many leaves.  So I took the leaves upstairs to the warm bedroom, laid them among the plants on the plastic and before I knew it they sprouted babies!

Garage succulents

The plants in the garage are doing smashing!  Thanks to my hubby Stan for remembering to open the garage door to get some light in!

Haworthia 'Toad's Toes'

Here is a close up of the front plant in the previous photo.  It's Haworthia 'Toads Toes'!  I love the name.  It bloomed in the garage and I tried to get a good photo but it was tough with background being stuff in the garage.  And look at the babies on this one too.

Sedum adolphii with pouring pot in back

In the planter on the gate side of the house things are growing a tiny bit.  Must be the warm days we have been having.  Remember the Echeveria river I planted last year? peeking until later in the spring.  What a tease I am.

Kalanchoe synsepala 'Walking Cup'

This pot with Kalanchoe synsepala 'Walking Cup' thinks it's spring already.  It's blooming already.  Some of the larger leaves got a bit of cold damage but all in all I think it will be ok.

Kalanchoe synsepala 'Walking Cup' flower

Here is a close up of the Walking Cup flowers.  Aren't they beautiful!

Aloe blue elf

This big patch of Aloe 'Blue elf' has some crusty tips but I love the pink color from the cold nights.

My Big Blue Pot

The Aeoniums newly planted in my Big Blue Pot are growing like gang busters.  And making things look extra pretty the Crassula arborescens undulitifolia in front is blooming like crazy.


Here is a close up of that beautiful Crassula.

Agave 'Blue glow'

The other day the sun was shining and I went out experimenting with my new camera.  This is the Agave blue glow back lit by the sun.

Agave celsii

I got this Agave celsii last year and planted it in the hottest place in my yard!  But I think I made a mistake.  It has already grown to be 3X it's original size.  Time to move in the spring!

Ruffled hybrid Echeveria

I love this hybrid Echeveria and it is just so photogenic!

Crassula ovata Hummel's sunset jade

Scout is a great succulent watchdog!  Here she is posing in front of my Crassula ovata Hummel's Sunset Jade.

Kalanchoe blosfeldiana

I love how the colder temps have made this Kalanchoe blosfeldiana so pretty and red.

I made these pots!!!!

For the last photo I wanted to show you the pots I made throughout last year at the Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society meetings.  It is a three step process for us.  First we make the pot, then we paint and last we plant.  So these were finished up the end of January.  I like how they turned out.

I hope everyone is getting much needed rain this February.  We got dumped on with more to come.  Bring it on!


It's Another Beautiful Day!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pot Making With Friends

Isn't it interesting how great adventures can start with a single thought.  Or in this case a picture.  A few weeks ago Donna Taylor from Melted posted a photo of a leaf with a tiny face on it.  I think it was made of polymer clay but she said we could probably make it with clay.  Her husband Keith Taylor makes the most incredible pots and they own a kiln.  So before I knew it Donna had invited a few people over for an experimental pot making workshop.  It was so fun and a great success!

Keith's photo of workshop group

Photo by Keith Taylor
So last Saturday Anna Zakaria, Gerhard Bock and I headed to Keith and Donna's home in Fairfield, CA.  They had the whole living room set up and ready to go.  Two different colors of clay, white and red.  We just dove right in and started to get creative.

Mine (looks like a purse)

I decided to make a bunch of wall pockets.  So the texture on this one was made by laying a doily on the wet clay and rolling over it with a rolling pin.  Donna & Keith had some great suggestions to help us with our creations.

Ann Zakaria 1

This is a photo and creation by Anna Zakaria who has a great Facebook page called 4 Surya Garden.  She made some fantastic wall pockets.  That cool slumped pot on the left was made by Gerhard Bock.  Keith show'd him a technique where you make a pot then kind of slam it on the table to slump it.  It's going to be really cool when done.

My leaf face wall pocket

This is my interpretation of the face in the leaf that was on Facebook.  It will look a lot better when painted I think.  I hope it doesn't look too creepy.  Just experimenting!

Gerhard photo 2

Here is a shot taken by Gerhard Bock of the great blog Bamboo, Succulents and More.  He has also done a great post of our wonderful day.  You can see it here and with more photos of his great pots from different angles.

Love the imprint on this wall pocket

Donna had this really cool wall hanging (I think that's what it was) that we used to make texture and pattern.  I love this wall pocket.

My 1st and favorite wall pocket

I think this is my favorite.  It was the first one I made.  I can't wait to paint it and plan on making some more.

Wall pocket....hmmm

This one is pretty cool too!  I used stamps to make the impressions in the clay.

Gerhard photo 1

Here are a bunch of our creations drying outside.  They need to dry for a couple of weeks before they can be fired the first time.  We will go back and paint them with glaze and then they will be fired again in the kiln.

Keith's photo 2
Photo by Keith Taylor
Donna was busy creating also!  Isn't this fish awesome!  I can't wait to see it painted.  Wouldn't this just be so cute in an ocean scene of succulents?

Keith's photo

Photo by Keith Taylor
So here I was concentrating hard on my creation!  LOL  What a fantastic time everyone had.  So much so that now lot's of people want to have a workshop with Donna and Keith.  If you live anywhere near Fairfield, CA and would like to take a roadtrip to do a great workshop like this please contact Donna Taylor at  You will have a fantastic time.

So remember great adventures can begin with one little idea.  Let it blossom!

And remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!