Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Fabulous Garden of Laura Balaoro part 1

You are in for a treat!  This last year on my way to the Succulent Extravaganza in Castroville, CA I made a stop in San Jose, CA to visit a special friend.  Prior to my visit to Laura Balaoro's home she had warned me not to expect too much of her garden.  She sooo underestimates herself it's not funny!  Her home and garden was a visual gift.

Laura was raised by her Grandmother who totally lived off the land.  She learned everything about gardening from her.  Once she got married and had children she spent most of her time on them and left her gardening behind.  It wasn't until her children  went to college that her passion returned.  She started a garden club in the area and joined other garden associations.  In 2005, she became a certified Master Gardener in Santa Clara county.  While she volunteered for the Master Gardeners program, she went back to school and got her degree in Environmental Horticulture and Landscape Design.  She still volunteers for the Master gardeners program and she helps educate the public about gardening.  She now specializes in growing succulents and their companion plants.  And this is so evident when you see her garden.

She also started the Facebook group called Succulent Fanatics!  It is a great group with a super bunch of succulent lovers!  If you love to grow succulents I would encourage you to check out the group and ask to join.  It's a lot of fun!

Let's look around her garden!

Front door

Before I even knocked on the door I couldn't help but start taking shots.  She had posted some photos of her beautiful succulent pumpkins on Facebook but this was the first time I could see them in person.  Everywhere I looked I saw something beautiful or interesting.

Succulent pumpkin of Laura Balaoro

Here is a close up of that beautiful succulent pumpkin.  Moss is glued on top of a Cinderella pumpkin then succulent cuttings are glued in place until it is as full as you want.

Kalanchoe luciae 'Fantastic'

A beautiful Kalanchoe luciae 'Fantastic'

Pony tail palm in clear marbles

I love how she used these clear marbles as top dressing in this planting of a Pony Tail Palm.  She loves to experiment with different looks and textures.

Zig zag plant and friends

 Another great pot in the front of her house.  So far I haven't even entered her home yet!  Lol

Succulent wall planter

Before I went inside a member of the Succulent Fanatics Jeanne Eige show'd up with Debra Lee Baldwin.  Jeanne had picked her up from the airport and I was going to drive Debra the rest of the way to the Succulent Extravaganza in my car.  It was great to see her again and she started taking photos right away also.

After we went inside her gorgeous home we headed outside through her back sliding glass door.  When I looked to the left this is the first thing that I saw.  Wow, look at that succulent tapestry!

Vertical planter

Here is a close up for you!  So stuffed full you can hardly see the frame behind.

Ribbet collage

The man and woman on the left are so cool!  And she planted them so perfect.  Laura has a great imagination and knows just what to plant in each pot she finds.

View of back right with patio

Standing from the top of her back porch I got a good look at her beautiful back patio and two Koi ponds.  Yes I said two of them.  She has a little stream that runs between them.  All around the ponds is a path that runs throughout the gardens.  We had the most wonderful lunch under the umbrella at the back right.  Full of fresh vegetables from her garden.  Her home grown tomatoes were the best I've ever eaten.

BBQ pit turned into table

This is an outdoor BBQ pit that Laura turned into a table.  Wasn't that a great idea!  And it is just perfect for setting a few pots of succulents with a succulent pumpkin.  The colors go so well together.

Succulent pumpkins in waiting

This wagon stuffed with different varieties of pumpkins and was just sitting on her patio looking pretty!  And she got the great idea of spray painting orange pumpkins gold and silver then topping with succulents for the Christmas season.  Isn't that brilliant!?

Beautiful Pallett planter

This is a cool tiered planter made of pallet's.  I don't know how she did it but the results are great on her patio.  It doesn't take up too much space and it's perfect for smaller succulents and their companion plants.  Check out the sempervivum coming out of the knot holes and the cute talavera lizard accent.

Hanging planter

I don't know if she made this hanging planter but it was really interesting.  I love the succulents hanging over the edge.  And can you see the lime up at the top on the left?

Beautiful sitting area

If I hadn't been so busy taking tons of photos I would have loved to just sit and relax in this pretty little sitting area.  So many succulents all around and see the path in the upper left hand corner.  I think it is lined with echeveria's.

Tiered succulent planter

This tiered planter was just bursting with succulent goodness!

Isn't this cute

Laura has a great imagination.  This looks like a table with tea and pretty little cakes for an afternoon get together with the girls!

Variegated Agave Attenuata

Who wouldn't love to grow this beautiful variegated Agave Attenuata.  I have tried to grow the non variegated form but it gets too cold here.

Urn of succulent loveliness

Planted in this fabulous urn planter is Sedum album 'Coral carpet'.  I love how she mimics the grapes on the side of the urn.  Laura is brilliant!

Sedum sieboldii

Laura had a few of these outstanding Sedum Sieboldii plants hanging in just the right place to give you that Wow factor!  All of them were in full bloom.

Sedum sieboldii blooms

I wanted to show you a close up of the beautiful pink on the Sedum sieboldii blooms.  Aaaah my favorite color!

This will have to be the last photo for this posting.   I am already working on the second post for Laura's beautiful garden.  The photos in the next post will just about knock your socks off.  I can't wait to show you what we saw.  So stay tuned I will publish it in a few days.

Until then remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day


Sheila Zanella said...

Thanks for sharing pics of this amazing garden..


Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful, Laura! Thank You for the tour, Candy! Can hardly wait for part 2!
~Cindy Davison

Laura Balaoro said...

You are a great photographer and writer Candy. You made the garden so much better than it is. Even I was impressed. Thank you.

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

I am so glad you like it Laura! I had such a wonderful time at your home. You are very talented.

Thank you all so much!

Debra Lee Baldwin said...

That was such a special afternoon in Laura's garden. She's so modest and self-effacing, I didn't expect much, so I was blown away by all her creative pot combos and the overall garden. Laura's a Master Gardener in every sense of the word, and of course I'm delighted she's hooked on succulents! Your photos are the next best thing to being there. Great job, sweet one!

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

Thank you so much Debra. Your words encourage me even more. I had a great time with you wonderful ladies in such a beautiful garden.

Katie said...

stunning! I loe the heads and the pumpkins!

Laura Balaoro said...

It was a real pleasure having the Queens of Succulents (Debra Lee Baldwin and Candice Suter) as my guest. I truly enjoyed your visit. Thanks for your kind words Debra.

Michael Hamilton said...

I can't thank you enough for sharing these photo's with us! Because of this, I now have a definite answer of my personal decision to include succulents into my garden in a much larger array this year. Your descriptions are flawless, as this truly a visual FEAST! What a creative lady! I'm jealous that I didn't get to see it myself!

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

Wow, Michael! I can't thank you enough for the kind words and can't wait to see what you do! Wait till you see part 2

Rohrerbot said...

I love the tours from around the gardens in and around your area. Beautiful shots! Hope you had a wonderful holiday with your friends and family. Happy gardening and may this new year fill us with exciting plants!

Norma G said...

Hi Candice:) thank you so much for your tip on drilling a hole on ceramic pots, would it be the same technic on decoritive plates? I have lots of china and ceramic plates that I want to hang and tried lots of glues but they come unglued and broken...can you do a how to on ceramic & porcelain plates please? Thsnks again:)

daiseedeb said...

What beautiful succulents. I just love your passion for these lovely plants. Love your pictures too!

katiesp said...

I was blown away by all the fabulous photos of the awesome plantings...what a totally beautiful garden.Laura is so very creative and talented. I shared this as I want all my friends to see the works of a truly wonderful plant artist,