Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Succulent Extravaganza in Castroville, CA part 1

You know that feeling in your stomach when you are really excited to go somewhere or do something you've wanted to in a long time?  That is how I felt last week and Friday night (the worst) when I was anticipating my trip to Castroville, CA to attend the Succulent Extravaganza at Succulent Gardens!  I had butterflies in my tummy like crazy.  I couldn't wait to get there to see this wonderful nursery, hear the great speakers and drool over the luscious succulents.  I was not disappointed!

Entrance to Succulent Gardens

This is a partial view of the right side of the entrance.

Before we go any further I gotta tell ya that I took a gazillion photos.  I would like to share a bunch with you so we will have to do this in at least two different posts.
Ok, so with that out of the way.....we got there at about 9:40 on Saturday the 1st of October.  A bunch of guests were already taking a tour led by Brian Kemble, Ruth Bancroft Garden curator.  So we hurried out of the car after grabbing hat and camera.  What a great tour.  Holy cow that man knows soooo much about succulents.  We all got some great information besides seeing the beautiful grounds of this nursery.  Afterwards we started wandering before the first speaker (Debra Baldwin) and found big tubs of water, soda's and two kegs of beer.  They also had yummy fresh donuts and flats of beautiful red strawberries for all to enjoy absolutely free.  

Succulent muriel

Succulent Mural
This gorgeous succulent masterpiece was on a wall of a building near the refreshments.  I stared at it a long time till my husband looked at me and said, "Candy shut your mouth, your gonna let flies in!"  LOL!  We then headed into one of the greenhouses that was all set up for the lineup of fabulous spears.  First and most important to me was Debra Baldwin.   Author of  Succulent Container Gardens and Designing with Succulents.  She is my succulent guru.  Her speech and slide show was very inspirational.  I left with a  ton of information, signed book and picture of us together.  Yippee!
Another great blogger friend of mine Gerhard from Bamboo and More was there on the same day.  We didn't see each other but he did a couple of blog posts on the nursery also.  You can see part 1 and part 2 on his fabulous blog!

Debra Baldwin and me

Debra Baldwin and me
What a great lady.  She is about as tall as me 5'10" and she commented on that.  It was pretty funny.  

Debra's speach was from 11-12pm, followed by Landscaping with Succulents, Jarrod Bauman & Davis Dalbok.  They are Zeterre Landscape Architecture (Los Gatos) and Living Green (San Francisco).  From 2-3pm was Regionalism with an Emphasis on Succulents by Jeffrey Gordon Smith who is an author and award-winning landscape architect.  And last but not least from 3-4pm was Vertical Gardening with Succulents by Robin Stockwell.  After Debra's presentation I got the itch and had to look around the greenhouses and before I know it the time was gone.  Wish I had tried to make Robin's presentation because I am very interested in vertical gardening with succulents.  If I had more time I am sure I would have enjoyed them all.


Is this Heaven?

Succulent Gardens is built on 3 acres of  beautiful countryside in Monterey county, California.  They have three greenhouses built on the site along with one shade house.  This is what I encountered when I walked into one of the greenhouses. Ahhhhh!

Shades of Mexico

Shades of Mexico
I just loved this area of the nursery.  This adobe wall is the entrance to the courtyard between Greenhouse 1 and 2.  Check out these Golden Barrel cactus multiplying like crazy with beautiful Agave's in the back.  I love the color combinations.

Aeoniums everywhere

I could not believe the aeoniums around the greenhouses at the Succulent Gardens.  They were huge, some were bigger than dinner plates.  There were aeonium zwartkop, canariense, and others.  Breathtakingly beautiful!

Blooming hybrids

The embankment that borders the nursery was incredible.  The design changed as we walked along the road next to the nursery.  This shots shows the beautiful green sempervivums and echeveria's surrounding the circle of blooming echeveria hybrids.

Round them up

I am pretty sure those are blooming Echeveria 'Dondo', surrounding some beautiful very light echeveria's in this design down a little bit further from the previous photo.

Echeveria River

I think this was my favorite part of the continuing embankment.  The lazy echeveria river.

Just had to

I had to show you this panorama shot of the incredible aeoniums planted beside one of the greenhouses.

Aeonium collage

Had to do an Aeonium collage for you of the different varieties I saw.

Aeonium Zwartkof

Aeonium arboreum Zwartkof

Barrels of sunshine

Beautiful Golden Barrel cactus with tall agave's in the back.

Broken aeonium pot

If you have a large pot that broke do not despair.  Leave it lay with crumbled pieces, throw in some dirt and succulents and there you go.  I love the surprise and wonderful colors and textures.

Red blooms

This beautiful blooming cactus was at the entrance to the nursery.  I love the agave parryi, prickly pears and barrel cactus in this area.  The rock ground cover makes me think of Arizona.

Orange and red

I love the variation in color on this beautiful cactus bloom!

I have so many photos this could go on forever.  I'm going to stop for now and let you soak this in.  I wish you could all have been there with me but I can at least show you what I saw with photos.  It was such a wonderful day.  In my next post I will show you more of what I saw on the inside.  It was a whole other world.  Until next post remember...

It's Another Beautiful Day!


Gerhard Bock said...

Beautiful photos and excellent writeup. You really captured the excitement of this event and the uniqueness of the nursery. Can't wait for part 2!

:: Bamboo and More ::

Cindy said...

What a fabulous field trip! And here, I thought Castroville only had artichokes.

Joyful said...

What a lovely outing and great photos!

Debra Lee Baldwin said...

You got some great shots, Candy! It was fun to meet you. You're as brimming with enthusiasm in person as you are online. Looking forward to the next installment!

Spiky Obsession said...

Great photos, and wow what a place. Not a surprise you were excited to be heading there!

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Thank you so much everyone. It was a wonderful event and I look forward to it next year. Thanks for all the great comments you all are awesome!

Laura Schaub said...

Candy, what a great post! We're so glad you enjoyed yourself and were so excited to come, that means we did a good job!

We look forward to making this an annual event, and hope that enthusiastic bloggers like you and Gerhard will continue to help us get the word out!

I would encourage everyone to go to our website and sign up for our sassy monthly newsletters, which are mini-extravaganzas in themselves. Thanks again; looking forward to part II!

Laura Schaub
New Media Marketing for Succulent Gardens (aka the person photographing all the speakers!)

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Thanks Laura! I will let my local Cactus and Succulent Societies about it. No one came from there because they did not know and I haven't been to a meeting for a couple of months.

Darn should have told them. Next time for sure!

Mandy said...

Gorgeous!!! All of your pictures are incredible...I can't wait to see what you post next. I thought it was neat when I saw they posted the link to your blog on their Facebook page earlier today too. So, did you bring anything home?

Julie said...

Oh meet Debra Lee Baldwin!!!...what a great place and those aeoniums are just incredible! All your photos just show what a spectacular place this was...You and Debra are so cute together!!! Sure wish the sux could grow crazy like this in south Florida!

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Mandy thank you so much and yes I am so happy that you saw it on SG Facebook page. I definitely went home with some pretties. About 10 I think.

Debra is a very lovely woman Julie. I was really excited to meet her. I wish you could have heard her presentation. It was wonderful.

Evelyn said...

Wow, what an amazing day! I must say I am envious - not only did you go to an amazing place, you got to meet the star! :) Thanks for sharing, Candy!

thebluemuse said...


Matt and Bobbie said...

So nice!!! You did a great job of capturing this place and all the plants! It looks like they have a lot of really beautiful set-ups. I love Debra Baldwin's books--so cool you got to meet her!