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The theme of Extravaganza 2013 is PASSION. Everyone speaking, volunteering, attending, and participating has a passion for succulents. While passion is the theme, creativity is the focus. All of the speakers and volunteers are creative, driven individuals with new ideas for incorporating succulents into, not just gardens, but daily life. From accessorizing with succulents to making more succulents to photographing succulents for lasting memories, everyone on the schedule has amazing ideas for ways that all of the attendees can go home and continue to cover the world with succulents.

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An amazing set of speakers lined up for Succulent Extravaganza 2013!!

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Many people ask me, what is the difference between a cactus and a succulent? All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti are new world plants, meaning they all originated in the Americas. I know there are some beautiful cactus gardens in North Africa and around the Mediterranean, but the fact is all of the cacti originated in the Americas. To keep this simple, let's just say that most cacti have spines and there are 1,000's of varieties. When working with cacti as opposed to most other succulents, know that cacti use less water than other succulents and require better drainage and aeration in the soil they are grown in. to accomplish this, double the amount of amendment added to the soil compared to what you would do with other succulents. If you're landscaping in the ground, in areas where there is 20 or more inches of rain per year, you will be more successful by creating a raised bed in which to plant the cacti.

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Deanna Foster Design 2

This project was a response to some very specific needs.  My clients had lost their house and most of their landscaping in the Jesusitas Fire in Santa Barbara in May 2009. They were able to rebuild using many new fire resistant features in their replacement house.  I was called in to design the landscaping around the house which also required fire resistant features.  I decided to use succulents even though I was just learning about them.  I thought they were beautiful and could make a spectacular, fire-resistant design.  Succulents also go very well with the gravel mulch required in the high fire zones in Santa Barbara and with the boulders on the property.  My clients fell in love with succulents and once we discovered a good source for cactus they kept asking for more!  The most exciting part of this project for me was the growing interest my clients took in the project.  When I started they were exhausted from the rebuild of their house and told me to just do whatever I thought would look nice, but as the project progressed they became more and more interested and involved.  Who could resist those succulents and Cacti?! 

www.deannafostergardendesign.com

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The Succulent Globe My production crew spent a week planting the globe. The cuttings were prepared the previous week. I used the small blow up globe, shown in the background, to mark which varieties I wanted used to represent the different oceans and land masses.  There were about 30,000 cuttings. We used Echeveria secunda, Echeveria pulidonis-derenbergii hybrid, Echeveria subsessilis, Echeveria secunda 'Blue Mist' and Sedum dasyphyllum for the oceans. For the land masses we used Sedum nussbaunianum in the drier regions of the world. For the frozen areas we used Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' and Echeveria elegans. For other areas of the land masses, I used a combination of Sempervivums, Crassulas, and Sedums.

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Seed Grown Aloe ProphyllaSucculent propagation isn't all about cuttings! We actually grow several varieties of succulents from seed collected from our plants here at the nursery. Here's a peek behind the production at Succulent Gardens for two popular plants.

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Succulent Extravaganza is almost here and we have a fantastic schedule of events lined up for you! From nursery tours to stellar seminars to demonstration tables and the fabulous free Friday evening Bar-B-Q, you're sure to have an excellent time and learn a lot at this second annual event. For more detailed information, including seminar descriptions, menus, and more, please scroll down to the details section.

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While incorporating succulents into bouquets might be trendy now, this tradition has a long history. I was recently invited to participate in a jointly sponsored program of the Garden Conservancy and the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Debra Prinzing, co-author of the book The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local, Sustainable Flowers, invited me to participate alongside her to add what I could about using succulents in bouquets.

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Setting Up Sunset

June 24, 2012

Seahorse Mural Setting up for the Sunset Celebration Weekend  begins many months before the event. For this year, we created the Seahorse mural specifically for the event during the winter before the event. On Thursday before the event, we load the truck so that at 6 a.m. on Friday the crew can leave the nursery for Sunset headquarters to set up the display. When we arrive at about 7:30 a.m. we look over the area we have been assigned to and begin the set up process. The crew does most of the work while I say "Move this to the left, move that to the right. A little up, a little down." Within about four hours the gazebo is up and ready.

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Talking with people about succulent care or observing succulent care "in the wild" has clearly demonstrated to me some of the confusion that exists throughout the world of horticulture with regard to succulent plants. Just take a walk through garden centers where highly trained nursery people are on staff. Beautifully maintained bedding plants, fruit trees, and a wide variety of ornamental plants abound, perfectly watered, fertilized, and maintained. Then seek out the succulent section. What you'll see are mislabeled, over watered, under watered and in general poorly maintained plants. I puzzled over this for many years as I was asked to help landscape professionals and retailers.

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