Thanks to Sweetstuff and a few other readers, my little crassula ovata gollum, which I started from a wee cutting, is making a comeback! I repotted it into a bigger container with more drainage, new soil, and a nice long drink of water. I also pinched off one or two of the leaves at the bottom that were the most shriveled. On the left is a picture of what it looked like on 10/7, when I asked for your help. On the right is a picture of it yesterday:
Can you believe the difference? It went from being a shriveled little plantlet to plumping up and being well on its way to a happy, well-adjusted little plant in less than a week! Thanks for your help, fellow succ-ers!
Here's a picture of a project I made over a five-month period, using small succulents and an old letterpress box! I love how it turned out, and it was a lot of fun to make. I drilled holes in the back of the box to allow drainage, and everything is thriving! Yay!
It was, however, outside during the recent rains, so I'm really hoping that it isn't going to be too waterlogged. Debra Lee Baldwin is giving away copies of her soon-to-be-released third book for people who make projects she likes. Think this one could be a contender?
Doesn't it look like these succulents are on parade?
Last night, I started a Tumblr page to capture some incredibly beautiful pictures of succulents that I found online. Actually, I wanted to start a Pinterest page, but truth be told, I found the layout insufficiently straightforward for my insufficiently caffeinated brain. Please let me know if you think I should be using Pinterest instead!
Last night was a first: I actually dreamed about succulents. Specifically, I was visiting my girlfriend's dad in a nursing home that doubled as, um, a succulent store (what??). This may have stemmed from my visit to Paxton Gate on Valencia in SF yesterday, followed by my discussion with my girlfriend about visiting her father. But nonetheless... weird.
I didn't buy anything at Paxton Gate--too expensive. But they had, as always, a cool selection of interesting things, including a bunch of succulents. I was tempted by a tiny variegated haworthia, but since I already have one, it seemed a little silly. BTW, it looks like Paxton Gate gets most of their succs from Succulent Gardens in Castroville and Lone Pine Gardens in Sebastopol. I really want to visit Lone Pine Gardens... Anyone been there?
The Succulent Extravaganza is an annual event at Succulent Gardens in Castroville, CA (the artichoke capital of the country--w00t!). I'd never been to the event before--though I'd been to the Gardens once--and it was awesome. So many people obsessed with succs all in one place. Plus, the selection was incredible, the speakers were great, and the gardens were extra-beautiful. I'll share some highlights.
This may look a lot to you like a huge, entire bed of agave "blue glow" and "blue flame..." and OMG, you're RIGHT! Is that color awesome or what? It's no wonder these little suckers have been getting so popular with succ-ers in recent years.
Fun fact: Both these kinds of agave produce few offshoots and are grown in a lab using tissue cultures (as opposed to offshoots or seeds). They're two of the very few kinds not grown on-site at Succulent Gardens. I happen to have a lovely blue glow agave at home, and very nearly acquired a blue flame on Friday, but they were a little picked over, plus I'd agreed ahead of time to a $50 spending limit, and I actually stuck to it!
Here's a close-up of one of the blue glow agaves in the bed depicted above. Sooo beautiful, right? And in this pic, it's not even back-lit. The back-lit ones are even cooler, as Candy of Sweetstuff's Sassy Succulents shows here. (I really like her blog--you should subscribe to it, which if you're reading this, you probably already do.)
It was a tad weird at the event, because I was one of the youngest people by a lot. I also felt practically giddy with energy and couldn't stop jumping around, which may or may not have frightened the other attendees. (A short aside: the Succulent Extravaganza also felt very female and very white. Debra Lee Baldwin says more men are into cacti, which certainly appeared to be the case two days later at the Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose's show, which we visited on Sunday--it was also very white, and almost entirely male-dominated!)
One of the plants with which my girlfriend permitted me to leave was a small, beautiful Agave Attenuata. Not the one pictured, which I believe is called Kara's Stripe, but a little teensy one that cost a mere $5! I took it home and planted it in an unusual pot that's kind of a dull brown color, being sure to leave plenty of room for the roots to grow. As you might know, agave are notorious for growing such big roots that they bust open their pots! I'm not sure the color contrast of the pot and the agave would inspire anyone, but it looks better than it sounds. Maybe I'll post a picture sometime.
In addition to the succulents I picked up for myself, which I'll describe in more detail in a future post, a friend gave me a $20 limit to pick up three succulents for her. I chose this gorgeous array of soft green tones with dark rose highlights, and she loved them! I'm told that they are now living happily on her windowsill.
Here's a closer-up pic of an agave blue flame at Succulent Gardens. You can see how it got its name. This picture doesn't even do it justice.
The speakers were pretty good, too. I was only there on Friday, so I didn't get to hear as many as I would have liked, but I'll talk about two. First, Debra Lee Baldwin. You can't be into succulents for two minutes without hearing her name. Her Friday talk was about different projects you can do with succulents, and included lots of great photo inspiration. My girlfriend and I both got a little weak in the knees seeing her in person, and we may or may not have gasped aloud a few times during her presentation. Whatever. Don't judge me.
Some aeoniums. Because why not?
The other talk I loved was by Flora Grubb. She owns the mind-blowingly cool nursery of the same name in San Francisco, which I've had the privilege of visiting twice. Flora was uber-charming, and her subject was "What's Next for Succulents?" What, you ask, is next for succulents? I'll try to summarize her points:
Every friend to whom I've related my Succulent Extravaganza experience has laughed heartily at me and asked things like, "Did you bring your knitting?" But you know what? I don't care. Because the Succulent Extravaganza was a chance to see beautiful succulents and learn about them, plus a chance to hang out with other people who share my passion. In many cases, maybe all we had in common was our passion for succulents. But isn't it so cool that a hobby like this would bring me in contact with so many great people that I wouldn't otherwise encounter? I can't wait for next year's event! I feel like I became a real succ-er last weekend!