Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties

Image of Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties
Release Date: 
May 21, 2013
Timber Press
Reviewed by: 

“. . . the perfect starter volume for those new to succulents.”

Delving into Debra Lee Baldwin’s latest book Succulents Simplified is like bursting into a specialty ice cream shop.

A vast array of delicious succulents awaits, a rainbow of color with so many flavors and such enthusiasm that one (or several) is sure to entice every reader to try growing them.

After scanning the rather severely designed typography of the Table of Contents, the first flavor tried was the Special Occasion Succulent Bouquet. Imagine—Ms. Baldwin actually wires succulent rosettes into corsages, boutonnieres, or bridal bouquets combined with roses! Brilliant. Have a second bouquet to toss, she counsels, and save and root the succulents in the original for use 25 years hence in your children’s weddings.

Next sampled the eye-popping, encyclopedic 100 Easy-Care Succulents with clear photos, Latin names with pronunciations, cultural advice, hardiness limits, suggestions for combinations, and even pot colors that contrast or blend well.

A few pages along came a highlighted box “Best succulents for encouraging a child’s interest in gardening.” Those listed would be a good place for succulent newbies to start.

After the always revealing Acknowledgements and Preface, surrender to the extraordinary assemblage of marvelous photographs displaying these succulent plants, the majority photographed by the author.

As Ms. Baldwin notes, in many ways the bright colors, shapes and textures resemble underwater sea creatures.

Succulents Simplified is L-O-A-D-E-D with information and intriguing call-out boxes that enrich the knowledgeable text, for example:

• Checklist for a gorgeous succulent garden (in ground)
• Ten steps for a lush and lovely container garden
• Succulents for low-light situations
• Top 35 companion plants for succulents (familiar to regular gardeners)
• Mint-tin minigardens (adapted from a fellow garden writer)
• Not your grandmother’s topiary
• The Succulent Color Wheel

Ms. Baldwin’s step-by-step projects for crafters as well as numerous container and dish gardens give Succulents Simplified a wider appeal than a straight gardening book. It’s the perfect starter volume for those new to succulents, while satisfying and delighting veterans with the variation and solid growing tips based on the author’s evident joy in succulents and cacti.