Debra Lee Baldwin

The Naomi Campbell of Succulents

– Posted in: Succulents
Euphorbia meloformis

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, [...]

Succulents That Like Stress

– Posted in: Garden Adventures
Stress, Aloe dorothaea (sc)

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. In winter, the same plant reverts to green. Such "stressed" succulents---which seal moisture in their leaves as [...]

Barbra Streisand’s Secluded ’70s Retreat

– Posted in: Garden Visits
Art Deco gate

  For nearly a decade, I covered homes, gardens, architecture and design for the San Diego Union-Tribune, visiting the city's (and sometimes Southern CA's) most gorgeous homes. One of the most memorable was Barbra Streisand's multi-house compound in Malibu (she has since moved, and no, I didn't meet her). I own the article's copyright, so for your [...]

Garden Psalm

– Posted in: Garden Musings
P1050928a

I seldom reveal my spiritual side, even to those whose conversations are full of  "blessings." Much has happened since I wrote this, but I wouldn't change a word. People said my recent post "My Circuitous Route to Writing Success" took courage. My honest response: Not as much as this one! Garden Psalm                                                                       April, 2000 The Creator of the Universe awaited my [...]

My Circuitous Route to Writing Success

– Posted in: Succulents
Screen shot 2015-04-19 at 3.18.23 PM

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 [...]