Old Newsletters

Sneak Peeks at Area Greenhouses

June 16 is the date for an event that I am proud to be a part of. The Greenhouse Growers tour is a combined fundraiser for a variety of non profit organizations and an attempt by Santa Cruz and Monterey County growers to bond with their communities.

Succulent Gardens donates a portion of sales for that day to the State Lifeguard program in California. I was a State Guard in the 1960's and my 17 year old son just picked up his uniform to begin his first summer as a State Guard. The past two years we raised over $1,600.00 for the program and hope to do even better this year.


Other members of the growers group will be donating portions of their sales to charities of their choice. Many of the nurseries are not open to the public, so this is a unique opportunity to see their operations. Visit the Greenhouse Growers website at http://www.montereybayfarmtours.org

High Design with Succulents
Davis Dalbok, Designer & Owner of Living Green

If you're looking for inspiration for your next succulent project, look no further than these beautiful wonders from Davis Dalbok of Living Green.

Dalbok's designs have been featured in Garden Design, Sunset, and Architectural Digest. He has participated in numerous garden shows, and created fantastical displays indoors and out. Recently, he built and planted a tremendous living wall for the San Francisco Decorator's Showcase.

To see more of his amazing work, visit his website here.

Get the "Behind the Scenes" scoop on his Facebook page.

Davis 3
Photo courtesy of Davis Dalbok

Davis 4
Photo courtesy of Davis Dalbok

Davis 1
Photo courtesy of Davis Dalbok

Photo courtesy of Davis Dalbok
Photo courtesy of Davis Dalbok

Thank you, Davis, for sharing your talents and tastes with us. Very inspiring!

Visit Davis Dalbok's Living Green Website


Plant of the Month: Senecio

For plant of the month I want to mention several members of the Senecio family. While the flowers are generally not interesting, the foliage is often uniquely colorful.

Senecio madralisae is probably the most well known of the Senecios and is commonly referred to as Blue Chalksticks or Blue Pickle. The blue color of the foliage makes for spectacular contrast in the landscape. When grown in shade, the color of this plant becomes electric.
Senecio madralisae

Senecio vitalis is commonly known as Green Fingers and makes a very handsome upright plant in the landscape and in containers. It will grow to about 24" to 30" tall and responds well to hard pruning.
Senecio vitalis
Senecio jaconsenii is an excellent trailing succulent that will grow and trail to about 8 feet. The foliage starts out light green. As the plant matures, the foliage takes on beautiful pinky-bronze colors.
Senecio jacobsenii
Senecio jaconsenii
Senecio crassissimus, sometimes referred to as Lavender Steps, is a very striking upright plant. It will grow to about 3' and the stems and leaves have unique mesmerizing coloration. The leaf shapes help make this plant very sculptural. Of all the varieties mentioned in this feature, crassissimus is the most sensitive about the environment it will perform best in. It prefers a warm sunny location for best performance.
Senecio crassissimus

Retail Details: New Plants from San Marcos

Spring is almost over and Summer is here! Sunset Celebration was a blast! It was good to see some of our tif-robin-sunsetFacebook friends in the flesh and some of our repeat customers who got the heads up last minute with our last newsletter blast. I hope you all had as much fun as I did. This is truly a great show and I love being there as much as you all do!

With that said we just got a delivery from San Marcos Growers !! May I just say they are amazing plants! I am a Dyckia and Beaucarnea fan (well all around succulent fan but...) and did we ever score this time!! I see several beauties that are just ready to come home with me. . . so come visit and beat me to the punch!

We don't ship these beauties, so you must come see us in person! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

San Marcos Plants 1

Visit the Nursery!

Stop by the Nursery to check out our new plants, containers, and other goodies.

Tuesday - Saturday 9-4

Wholesale: Monday - Saturday 8-4

We always look forward to seeing you, so come when you can! Feel free to check in with us before your visit, by calling or dropping us a line! info@sgplants.com

What's "Growing On" at the Growing Grounds

New Articles on SGPlants.com
We're right in the middle of updating our website. We're making it easier to navigate and adding some cool new features. Don't forget to check the Articles tab. I have started a new series about Succulent Care.


Read Articles Now

Esteemed Visitor
Rudolf Schulz, author of numerous books on succulent plants and world traveler, joined me for breakfast and a stimulating discussion last week. He also visited the nursery and helped hold up the gazebo. Rudolf has traveled the world, visiting wild habitat in which different succulent plants originate. His books on Succulent Care and Health and Propagation are must have books for anyone with an interest in growing succulents.


Agaves Putting on a Show
These are Agave vilmoriana covered in flowers and bees in one of my Agave beds on Amaral road at the nursery. Flower stalks are about 15 tall. Pretty spectacular.

Agave vilmoriana

Agave flower

Make Plans to Attend the Sunset Celebration!
June 2&3 2012 * Sunset HQ

Sunset Prep

If you have not been to Sunset's Celebration Weekend think about visiting this year if you are anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area. This is what I characterize as a Sunset style craft fair, featuring food, music, wine and beer tasting, vendors, tourist booths for each county in the state, garden talks and so much more.

The event is held over 2 days, the first weekend in June, June 2 and 3, 2012, at the Sunset headquarters in Menlo Park.

Sunset Celebration 2

We have participated for quite a number of years and each year we have featured certain aspects of what we grow. In 2011 we introduced the Succulent Gardens gazebo, which we set up among the many other vendors. This year we will be bringing our latest vertical creation, a Seahorse mural about 5 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Our gazebo will be located on the lawn area behind the Sunset headquarters building.

We will have some vertical gardening supplies and plants for sale, but due to space constraints, our selection will be limited.


We'll see you there!

Learn more about the Sunset Celebration at the Sunset Website.


Retail Details: Can I get a "K"?

K Picture

Well yes, you can get a K! Or any other letter you'd like.

Introducing new vertical gardening panels featuring your favorite letters, A-z!

These fun planting panels would make great decorations for a wedding reception, bridal shower, baby shower, or as a housewarming gift.

Each panel is 18"x24". Please allow at least 12 weeks from order to pick up. Call or email for more information about a custom alphabet garden for your next event.
(831) 632-0482 or info@sgplants.com
dish garden
We have also planted a new wreath crop, living picture crop and scatter pattern 20" x 20" Modular Wall Panels. All of these items have been flying out of the nursery so you also want to call and reserve yours now!

Don't Forget to Bring an (uncovered) Dish
The next time you're headed to a party and in need of a hostess gift, stop by for one of our beautiful dish gardens. You can also choose from our wide variety of containers and we'll help you plant.

It's been a busy spring, and I've enjoyed seeing all of you. If you haven't been able to make it to the nursery, please come on out to the Sunset Celebration June 2&3. See you there!

Barrel garden

Visit the Nursery!

Stop by the Nursery to check out our new plants, containers, and other goodies.

Tuesday - Saturday 9-4

Wholesale: Monday - Saturday 8-4

We always look forward to seeing you, so come when you can! Feel free to check in with us before your visit, by calling or dropping us a line! info@sgplants.com

Travels with Robin:
Santa Barbara in 3 Days

Last week I headed to Santa Barbara for my talk at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden where I was hosted by the Garden Club of Santa Barbara. What an enthusiastic and engaged group!

After my talk and a tasty lunch, I was given the VIP tour of Lotusland. A few photos and lots of words can do Lotusland some justice, but really, just go see it. There is no way you will be disappointed.

Below: The column cactus garden at Lotusland. Cephalocereus senilis, Old Man of Mexico in the foreground.

Cacti at Lotusland

Below: Sedum morganianum with protection from squirrels at Lotusland.
Squirrel protection

After my visit to Lotusland, I made my way to Terra Sol Garden Center, which is open to the public, for a quick check in with one of our customers.That same evening I met Tony Krock from Terra Sol for some of the local brew. We of course talked succulents. Terra Sol has a great collection of succulents. Visit their website here.

Below: A visit to Terra Sol nursery in Santa Barbara. A must see when in the area.
Terra Sol
The next morning, early, Randy Baldwin, the General Manager of San Marcos Growers, a wholesale nursery, picked me up and we began a whirlwind driving tour of public and private gardens around Santa Barbara.

Below: Aloe hercules as it looks when it has had about 25 years to grow in the sub tropical Santa Barbara climate.
 Aloe hercules

Randy is an incredibly knowledgeable horticulturalist whose plant interests span populations way beyond my narrow focus on succulent plants. I met new hybrids and old specimens. I visited collections that were as extensive as any in the world.

Below: Sedum nussbaunianum in a private garden. So stunning!

Saedum nussbaunianum
Santa Barbara is an amazing place to visit for many reasons. Visiting Casa de Herrero and Lotusland could fill a couple of days for any plant nut. Driving around and just taking in the landscaping is a feast for the eyes.

See the rest of Robin's travel pictures with captions in our Facebook Album.


What's "Growing On" at the Growing Grounds

Photo Shoot for Plant Encyclopedia
Sara Shoemaker-Lind (left) works through several hundred varieties as we photograph individual species. She is assisted by visiting sister Alexa (looking at camera). Wait until you see the results. Wow!

Sara Photo Shoot

It wasn't all work and no play, though!

Robin with Wreath

New Custom Panel Design
You never know what will be hanging around Succulent Gardens--and that goes for new vertical gardens, too! Here's one of our new 12-panel custom vertical garden designs ready to go to its new home.

Panel design garden

New Crops in Production
As I was walking the nursery to check the plants, I came across this new succulent variety:
Killdeer eggs

Here's a closeup:
eggs closeup

Mother Kildeer was screeching at me the entire time!