Friday, March 8, 2013

Succulent Gardens Makes the World Go Round

I am a lucky girl!  And to think this all came about because I like to take photographs and grow succulents.  I got an email from Robin Stockwell owner of Succulent Gardens.  He said that he enjoyed my photos and invited me to go to Succulent Gardens and photograph a project that has been in the works for about two years.  So of course I jumped at the opportunity.

A 10 foot diameter succulent globe has been designed, crafted and planted by Robin and the Succulent Gardens Crew.  Little did I know that it had been planted two weeks before the Succulent Extravaganza in August of 2012.  Now fully grown it will take a ride to San Mateo on March 12th and be assembled at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show.  The show opens on March 20th to the 24th.

Sweetstuff has a special invitation

Let's take an exclusive peak at this Sweet Succulent marvel!

Frame on truck

This all-steel frame was constructed by Bohl Ironworks with design input from Robin Stockwell.  It was then delivered to Succulent Gardens in eight pieces and taken into a greenhouse.

Spaghnum moss on frame

It took about 72 hours for Robin and his crew to pack the eight bales of sphagnum moss onto the sections. Hardware mesh was used to hold the sphagnum against the outer expanded metal skin of the Globe.  And the hard part had only begun!

Close up under blooms on Globe

I wanted to show you a photo of some of the succulents blooming on a section!  The sections are still laying on the floor of the greenhouse because they are still rooting into the moss.  And just like a vertical planting they had to be rooted laying horizontal.

Blooming sections

Aren't all those blooms amazing!   Let me tell you all the different kinds of plants used. Robin's nursery crew spent a week planting the globe. The cuttings were prepared a week before the planting.  There were about 30,000 cuttings. They used Echeveria secunda, Echeveria pulidonis-derenbergii hybrid, Echeveria subsessilis, Echeveria secunda 'Blue Mist' and Sedum dasyphyllum for the oceans. For the land masses they used Sedum nussbaunianum in the drier regions of the world.  Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' and Echeveria elegans for the frozen areas. For other areas of the land masses, they used a combination of Sempervivums, Crassulas, and Sedums.

Adding map to globe

A custom map was made by Joe Roubal (he makes custom globes) in order for it to be to scale with the size of the globe. Robin's son in law Steve laid out the template on the frame using screws to hold it in place temporarily.

Robin marked this globe as guide

Robin used this small blow up globe as a guide.  He marked which plant varieties to use to represent the land masses and oceans.

Pink string used as a guide

This is one of the ends.  If you look close you can see pink string laced throughout the plantings.  This was to help guide in the planting when the template was removed.  This also gives you a better look at the frame.

Succulent globe love

Four of the frames growing and waiting for the big day!

Eight sections of Succulent Globe

These eight sections will be connected at the show and mounted on an armature and will stand about 15' high. It will be powered by a motor and spin on an axis tilted at the same angle as the earth. Maximum speed will be two revolutions per minute.  It will be quite a sight as you can imagine!

Close up of planted succulents

Here is a close up of the rooted succulents.

What part of earth is this?

The sections are numbered to make them easier to put together.

The left will go under the right

I love this shot.  As you can tell North America is on the panel to the right.  The panel to the left will fit underneath this panel to complete South America.

United States

We raised one section up for you to see.  It is pretty heavy.  When fully completed Robin estimates that it will weigh a ton!

Robin with South America

Robin is holding up the tip of South America.

Eight sections

Thank you again Robin for allowing me to photograph this incredible work of art.  I am truly honored.  I can't wait to see it assembled and rotating at the San Francisco Flower & Garden show.  It may be hard to get close to it because it will draw such a crowd.  I would encourage everyone to attend.  You just can't miss this
To see more photos of the Succulent Globe and Succulent Gardens check out my facebook page.

Don't forget that there will be lots of incredible speakers at the show.  Robin will be speaking on the 20th all about the making of the globe.  My friend and  photojournalist/author Debra Lee Baldwin will be speaking also as will many other wonderful gardeners, landscapers and authors. So I hope to see you there.  Until then remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!