Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Sweetstuff

I was goofing around with Christmas decorations the other day and decided to cover the tips of my Agave augustifolia variegata 'Striped Caribbean Agave' with colored balls!  It turned out so neat I just have to share it with you.

Another Merry Xmas

It was a break in a mean storm we were having and we got some beautiful sunshine!  So I ran out with my camera and had fun being silly!

Christmas balls on my Agave augustifolia variegata 'Striped Caribbean Agave'

 I love the contrast in color and shapes!


Trying to be artsy and being poked many times by the leaf tips that weren't covered.  Then I realized I could see myself and our newly painted house in the gold glass ball!

Merry Christmas

Ta da!!!  Merry Christmas to all my Sweet friends!

Here is my message to you this Christmas.  Please enjoy each day as if it is your last.  Because you just never know.  But don't worry about that.  Enjoy your life and hug your kids as much as possible.  They will be grown and leave the nest before you know it.  Love your significant other and enjoy their company.  Keep those conversation lines open.  Be kind to other people.  If they are grumpy, it could be that something bad is happening in their life.   Look people in the eye when you talk with them.  Don't play with your phone during a conversation.  It can wait.  The person you are talking to is more important.  Family is very important.  Do whatever you can to stay in touch.  And last but not least, go outside and enjoy the day!  Breath in the air and let the sun shine on your face!  And dig in the dirt if you can!

And always remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Succulents Love the Rain

We have had a series of storms called the Pineapple Express raging through the Sacramento Valley.  Lots and lots of rain and wind.  One good thing is that it has kept the night time temperatures fairly warm.  This is the first year I can remember when I still have all of my succulents outside at this time.  Usually by now I have lots of succulents in my garage and the rest tucked up nice and warm in my make shift Gazebo greenhouse.  

Just about every day I check the ten day weather forecast and see what is coming.  So far so good but I told my husband today that we better get set up so we are ready to make the move at the last minute if we have to.  We need to set our tables up in the garage and get the plastic to wrap up the gazebo.   Making my shopping list right now!

So a couple of days ago we had a break in between storms and the sun came out.  So I ran outside with my camera and took some photos of the succulents after the rain.  Lots of leaves had fallen off the trees and it was actually really pretty.

This is Echeveria 'Lotus' covered in leaves!  This is in my front succulent bed where I have a whole section dedicated to Echeveria's and the grapto's!  In the fall I let the leaves from the neighbors trees cover this area.  It actually helps to keep them warm.  When it gets really cold I put frost cloth on top.


The succulents are all nestled in nice and warm for the winter.

Echeveria bed covered in leaves

Here is a better look at the front bed partially covered in leaves!


This is how I am keeping the rain out of my succulent bird bath.  Pretty simply really.  I just took the largest trash bag I could find and laid it over the top.  Then I took packing tape and attached it underneath from corner to corner.  The bird bath has no hole in bottom so I have to do this so I don't drown my succulents.


This is what I see when I look out the front door and look to the left.

Echeveria imbricata and Sedum Rubrotinctum nestled in the leaves!

My favorite photo of Echeveria imbricata and Sedum rubrotinctum.  Just had to add it!


Agave augustifolia variegata 'Striped Caribbean Agave'


Opuntia Macbridei 'Red Button Cactus'
This cactus has little tiny red flowers but as you can see the fruit are almost as big as large lemons!

My gazebo with succulents hiding underneath!

This is my gazebo with some of my succulents hiding underneath.  I put some of the cactus and other delicate succulents under here to protect them from the rain for now.


And to think I don't have one tree of my own.  That branch up at the top is from the neighbors tree.  This is my back yard in a corner I seldom photograph.  The bed on the right hand side is in shade a lot and has not grown very big.


Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'


Aloe variegata Partridge Breast 
This aloe resides in a bird bath with a lot of other succulents.  I really like this shot.  You can see the big Madagascar Palm in the back.

Ok I tickled your fancy enough for today!  Have a terrific weekend!  And remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day

Monday, November 26, 2012

I am a lazy Blogger!

It's been forever since I posted!  What a bad girl I am.  Sure hope Santa is not watching!  LOL  I really have no excuses except for procrastination.  I am quite a procrastinator.  But once I get started on a project I will go crazy until it is finished.   And it's not like I don't have ideas to post about.  I have many and quite a few photos to go along with them.  I think part of my problem is that I am a perfectionist.  I want the photos on my blog to be big so I just can't add them to blogger, I upload them to Flickr then copy and paste the html in as large a size as I want.  That takes a little extra time.  Then I worry about not having the correct names (or any) of the succulents in the photo.  Holy cow I just need to get over it and hope that no matter what I post you all will like it and not worry about that crazy stuff.  It's not like I can't edit.  And in between larger subjects I should put some teaser posts just to keep you looking.  Ok so there you go.  These are my excuses and now that I have basically said them out loud I am going to work on it.  Hope you are listening Santa!

So for now lets just see what going on in the garden!

Stressed flap jacks

My Kalanchoe 'Flap Jack' is looking all colorful with the cooler weather!

Euphorbia enopla

My Euphorbia Enopla is just getting bigger and bigger!  This is one of my favorite plants because of the red spines.  If you look at the top left you can see part of one of my horse troughs.  This one is 2X2X4.  I will be using it for vegetables next summer.  Yum!

Kalanchoe orgyalis 'Copper Spoons', crassula commutata and friends

Someone on facebook indicated that they were having trouble planting Kalanchoe orgyalis 'Copper Spoons'.  I couldn't understand the trouble because it has such a beautiful color!  So I found this reddish brick colored pot and paired it with Crassula commutata that has some red edges, an Echeveria (can't find name) and  Crassula streyii I got from Succulent Gardens!  I tried to carry a little bit of the same color throughout the potting.

Crassula perforata

Crassula commutata

Graptosedum 'California Sunset'

And isn't Graptosedum 'California sunset' looking pretty after the rain?

Unknown succulent cutting from Debra Lee Baldwin

Thank you so much for the name Laura Balaro!  It's called Crassula multicava.  I got a cutting from Debra Lee Baldwin and it is growing quite nicely.  It was growing in her backyard and I had a couple of brown paper bags that she was putting all kinds of great cuttings.

Ok that is a quickie one for ya!  I am working on a bigger one for next time!  So be safe out there with all the Christmas shoppers and until next time remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Succulent Extravaganza 2012 - Speakers and Retail area

 Castroville, CA is a sleepy little coastal town.  It is located 9 miles nortwest of Salinas at an elevation of  23 feet.  They claim to be the Artichoke Center of the World.  We stayed in Marina, CA and drove down the beautiful coastal Hwy 1 to the gardens.  The cool ocean air comes down and blankets the area and Succulent Gardens with it's cooling mist. The temperatures don't go above 85F very often and it rarely freezes.  Sounds like and is the perfect growing grounds for Succulents.

Both days of the Extravaganza were filled with great speakers, wonderful food and beautiful succulents.  Not to mention meeting new friends and people I had spoke with on Facebook but never meet.  I belong to a great group called The Succulent Fanatics and we got together for lunch each day and drinks Friday night.  What a great bunch of people.  We had a fantastic time!

The Succulent Girls

The Succulent girls!  Back left is Debra Lee Baldwin to her right is Rebecca Sweet.  Front left is Noreen Fenton, Laura Livengood Schaub, myself in yellow, Laura Balaro and Jeanne Eige.  So many more gals should have been in the photo but we got seperated at different times during the two days.

The speakers were absolutely amazing.   I wish I could have seen them all but I just couldn't stay away from the succulents themselves.  Debra Lee Baldwin author of Succulent Container Gardens, Designing with Succulents and the upcoming Succulents Simplified spoke both days.  Saturday she spoke about "Companion Plants for Succulents".  It was fantastic and really makes me want to add some wonderful companion plants to my garden.  After Debra on Saturday was Rebecca Sweet co-author of Garden Up.  She gave a wonderful presentation on solving different gardening problems.  Very educational.

Debra presentation on companion plants

Debra Lee Baldwin during her presentation!  It was really eye opening for me.

Now lets check out the retail sales area!


They had lots of pots for sale.  Some full of succulents and some empty ready for you to create.  You can see the little otters and quail in the above photo.  I just had to get an otter and a fish not pictured here.  I loved this little area in the corner of this painted wall.  Loved this Euphorbia tirucalli, beautiful but they don't do well in my area.  They don't like the cold. 


Don't you love this Mexican Fire Pit or Chimenea surrounded by succulents!


They had really cool little vignettes set up in the retail area.  Each had there own special something to grab your attention (like this metal succulent sculpture) surrounded by pots of succulents or other treasures.  The next few photos shows a few of these great areas.





Had to show you the other side of my favorite!


Check out the crowd shopping!  And this isn't even as busy as I saw it at times.  I was trying to walk around saying excuse me, pardon me!  It got really crazy.


This is Laura Balaro.   She runs the Facebook page Succulent Fanatics and is a Master Gardner.  I went to visit her home and garden with Debra in San Jose, CA and was blown away.  A post will follow on her amazing garden.  But this hat got her so much attention at the Estravaganza.  She made it herself by gluing sphagnum moss on the hat then adding succulents.  All she has to do is spritz with water and they grow.  Amazing isn't it.


 So now let's check out some cool pottings I saw.  There was someone (I am sorry I didn't get his/her card for the name) that made hypertufa pots.  They were for sale and some were planted.  This was my favorite.


Here's another one I liked.  Wonder how they added the color?


This pot looked like hollowed out rock.  Then driftwood is added.  I like this idea.  They had pots full of driftwood you could buy to get this look also.


Loved this beautiful hanging pot of  Senecio rowleyanus 'String of Pearls' and Donkey tail sedum.  I wonder if anyone bought it?  Check out those pots!


Cute little potting but check out the color on these strawberry pots!


Love the succulent wreaths for sale.  You could also buy a kit and make it yourself.


How about a heart shaped succulent arrangement?


Ready to hang!


Look what I had to choose from!

Robin Stockwell and Flora Grubb

I have so many photos to show you but this post is so long I am going to stop.  You can see more photos on my Facebook page.  I love this photo of Robin Stockwell who is the owner/manager of Succulent Gardens and Flora Grubb.  Flora is the owner of a fabulous shop called Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco, CA.  She is such a wonderful girl and has a great personality.  Her presentation entitled "What is next for Succulents" was really eye opening.  And she is a really funny girl.  I only live 2 hours from San Francisco and believe it or not I have not been to Flora Grubb yet.  Guess where my next road trip will be.

Can't wait for next year because what a great event.  So anyone who hasn't gone and can should put it on your calendar for next year.

So until next time:

It's Another Beautiful Day

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Succulent Extravaganza 2012 The Grounds

If you weren't at the Succulent Extravaganza this year you sure did miss a great succulent event.  The event of the year in my book.  It took place at  Succulent Gardens located in Castroville, CA.   Succulent Gardens is a wholesale/retail nursery that grows over 400 varieties of succulents.  Being just a few miles from the coast it is a beautiful place to grow succulents, the air is fresh and cooler than here in Sacramento.  At Succulent Gardens the succulents can grow to there fullest maximum growth.  Robin Stockwell, owner/grower/manager of  Succulent Gardens and his crew have organized this second annual event and people like myself come from miles away!  There was food, plants and speakers galore.  So let me show you around the growing grounds in this first post!

Aeonium decorum ‘Sunburst’, Agave attenuata ‘Variegata’, Aeonium canariense hybrid

Aeonium decorum ‘Sunburst’, Agave attenuata ‘Kara's Stripe’and  Aeonium canariense 'Garnet'

This is in the front of the nursery.  My photo does not do it justice.  You can see Brian Kemble, curator of the Ruth Bancroft garden giving his garden tour.  That man is a wealth of information.

Calandrinia spectabilis

This is looking to the left at the entrance.  In the foreground is one of my new favorites
Calandrinia spectabilis
It flowers all year on these long stems.  The flowers are this beautiful pink color.  It also loves full sun and is great in rock gardens.

Aeonium mosaic

There were so many beautiful Aeoniums at Succulent Gardens.  This is just 4 of the many varieties.

Echeveria imbricata in rock wall

All of the succulent beds were surrounded by these beautiful rock walls.  Succulent like this Echeveria Secunda love to live in the nooks and cranny's!

Agave Attentuata and aeonium arboreum

Agave attentuata 'Kara's stripe' and aeonium arboreum

Echinocactus grusonii

I love this Echinocactus grusonii, it's very photogenic!  LOL

Love this area of Succulent Gardens

I love this beautiful wall, it's one of the entry ways into the retail area of the nursery.  The Agave 'Blue Glow' is such a beautiful color contrast with the Aloe ferox (in the back) and Barrel Cactus.

Agave ‘Blue Flame’ and Agave ‘Blue Glow’

Behind the area where we heard the speakers there was this incredible huge bed of Agave 'Blue Flame' and Agave 'Blue Glow!  When the sun came out I went out and got some back lit shots.  You can sure see why they call Agave 'Blue Glow' by it's name.

Agave 'Blue glow'

Here is a row shot.  They don't look real do they?

Agave 'Blue glow' back lit

A close up of the edges of Agave 'Blue Glow'.  I was facing the sun and it was shining through the edges.

Aloe polyphylla all in a row

These Aloe polyphylla were all so perfect!

Aloe polyphylla

Here you can see the beautiful spiral on this amazing aloe!

Agave americana ‘Striata’

Here are a couple of  Agave Americana 'Striata'. 


I'm pretty sure this is Agave Mr. Ripple

Aeonium's forever

I just couldn't get over the Aeonium beds.  I took so many photos of them!  This bed had been replanted fairly recently.  Last year most of the plants were over my head.

Monstrose cereus with golden barrel cactus

This cactus bed was super!  In the back we have tall Trichocereus Pachonoi 'San Pedro', Golden Barrel Cactus and in the foreground is a beautiful Cereus Monstrose.

Cereus monstrose close up

Here is a close up for you!  To understand how monstrose happens click here!

I will have another post soon about the speakers, retail area, food and fun!  I had two days of incredible fun. And I can't wait to share it with you!

Until then remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!