If there’s a good thing about our too-hot Southern California summers, it’s that heat makes certain succulents turn color. A case in point is Aloe nobilis, which in my garden grows in nutrient-poor decomposed granite with minimal water.
Chris and John Gleason of San Diego did a brave thing: They tore out a perfectly fine front yard. Most people who want to save water merely let their lawns die and replace them with less thirsty plants. The Gleasons went several steps further. They got rid of a healthy ornamental plum tree and a privacy hedge that[...]
When young succulent horticulturist Matthew Wong, 11, visited, we cut down the bloom spike of my octopus agave and harvested bulbils. Octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana) grows to about 4 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall. A “soft” agave, its leaves lack teeth and its tips come to a point but are not sharp. In[...]
I was pairing some newly acquired succulents with containers I had kicking around, and discovered that one plant in particular, Euphorbia meloformis, looks great in just about anything. It’s symmetry, ridges, stripes and red-green-brown hues make it the Naomi Campbell of succulents. Similar to spherical Euphorbia obesa (baseball plant), Euphorbia meloformis is whimsical, visually appealing, easy to grow,[...]
When Designing with Succulents became a bestseller in 2007, few people knew what was really going on with me. I’m sharing it now because it might encourage others to persevere through difficult times. A bit of backstory: For half my life, I didn’t live up to my potential due to fear of failure. A highly accomplished writer whom I liked, admired and envied[...]