Old Newsletters 8

Succulent Extravaganza 2014
Friday, September 26, 8am-6pm & Saturday, September 27, 8am-4pm
FREE for everyone!
This year is our fourth Succulent Extravaganza. And YOU are invited!
Succulents, the Landscape Is Changing is, for me, a lifetime achievement. People have asked "What are you going to do after the Globe?" I do have a surprise planned for next year, but, really, this event is it!
I have been watching and participating in the nursery industry for well over 40 years and have been making friends in this business: landscape professionals, writers, plant enthusiasts, environmentalists and so on. This year's Extravaganza looks at a major shift in horticulture and how succulent plants fit into the shift. A diverse group of experts has been brought together for this year's event to help us understand this shift, so we can continue to have beautiful gardens while conserving valuable resources.
The plants continue to be the stars of this event, but added to that is the magnificent participation of landscape professionals and horticultural experts.

This is a great opportunity to learn so much about the changes taking place. Landscape professionals are making themselves available to share what they have learned. Many new gardens have been installed by these folks in order to provide different perspectives on succulent gardening. You will be able to see everything from different plant combinations, art in the garden, plant handling and placement and on and on and on. This is an opportunity for horticulturalists to network and share what they are learning about succulent plants and other water wise plants. We even have an opportunity to take what we are doing this year and, through collaboration with the Monterey Master Gardeners, monitor what happens to these gardens over time.
So many people, and plants, have come together to make this a valuable experience for anyone who is interested in thinking about the gardens of the future today.
Please come and participate in this very special event on September 26 and 27.
Extravaganza Schedule
We are thrilled that our keynote presentation will be delivered by Kathy Brenzel, Garden Editor for Sunset magazine. Her topic is timely and the presentation sure to give attendees hands-on takeaways for effecting change in their own gardens and landscapes.
Succulents: Driving Change in California Landscapes

Succulents first appeared on the cover of Sunset Magazine 1954, where they were touted as striking but curious eccentricities for collectors. Now, with our warming climate and serious droughts continuing to plague the West, these shapely, unthirsty beauties have risen to the realm of garden essentials. We'll discuss their journey to fame, and some easy ways to use them in the landscape and in containers.

Photo: Jim McCann for Sunset magazine
Succulent Extravaganza Schedule
Friday, September 26

8:00 a.m. Coffee, doughnuts, and local strawberries

8:00 a.m. Brian Kemble walk and talk. Tour around the new 2014 garden installations. (Tour)

9:30 a.m. Robin Stockwell, Welcome, Walk and talk visit with Organic Mechanics, Michael Romero and Hill and Dale. (Tour)

11:00 a.m. Kathy Brenzel, Garden Editor, Sunset magazine. Keynote (Speaker Pavilion)


12:00 p.m. Saxon Holt "Finding the Photo" (Tour)

Photo by Saxon Holt

1:00 p.m. Debra Lee Baldwin, Succulent Container Garden Demonstration (Speaker Pavilion)

2:15 p.m. Kathy Brenzel and Robin walk and talk. Visit John Greenlee, SSA (Steven Sutherland), Mandala, Julia Bell, and the triangle gardens and a visit with the OrganicMechanics (Tour)

3:30 p.m. Brian Kemble walk and talk. Visit Under Sea Garden, Prehistoric Chillin', Featuring Martiniasaurus and Ebony and Ivory Gardens. (Tour)

4:00 p.m. Bar-B-Q.


Saturday, September 27

8:00 a.m. Coffee, doughnuts, and local strawberries

8:00 a.m. Brian Kemble, A world tour of the Succulent Gardens (Tour)

9:15 a.m. John Greenlee talks with Robin about Grasses and Succulents. (Garden Talk)

9:45 a.m. The Organic Mechanics talk with Robin about sustainability and succulents. (Garden Talk)

10:15 a.m. Debra Lee Baldwin, Succulent Container Garden Demonstration (Speaker Pavilion)

11:15 a.m. Organic Mechanics - recycled, up cycled, repurposed etc etc materials for hardscape and sculpture. (Garden Talk)


11:30 a.m. Anita McCarty how to work with giant Agaves and other succulents. (Speaker Pavilion)


1:00 p.m. Steven Sutherland on WoW designs with succulent plants. (Garden Talk)

2:00 p.m. Rebecca Sweet, Creating Harmony in the Garden. (Garden Talk)

3:00 p.m. Robin visits with Julia Bell. (Garden Talk)


4:00 p.m. Robin Stockwell, closing remarks (Speaker Pavilion)


Read the full schedule online >>
Below: Tim and Christine Hill's garden takes shape.
Our Landscape IS Changing!
Top designers from the West Coast have been working diligently to install brand new landscapes and gardens in advance of the event.
Others will be installing during the event.
All designers will have representatives on hand to answer questions during the event!
Many of the "presentations" this year are actually walk and talks with the garden designers and invited speakers.
(We will email a link for you to download a flyer with the map below in larger detail the week before the event.)

Landscape Gardens


1. Bell & Flourish with Makers West 'Repurposed Riot'

2. Rebecca Sweet, 'Harmony in the Garden'

3. Bell & Flourish with Ross Landscape Construction 'Echeveria Extravaganza'

4. Simone Lajeunesse 'Prehistoric Chillin'

5. Dat Pham, 'Ebony and Ivory'

6. Michael Romero 'Under Sea Garden'

7. Senecio crassissimus

8. Organic Mechanics, 'Rustic Rampage'

9. Bell & Flourish with Ross Landscape Construction 'Aloe, Agave, Aeonium Landscape'


10. Desert Mandala, 'Living Mandala Garden'

11. John Greenlee, 'Grasses, Succulents and...'

12. Steven Sutherland and Associates (SSA), 'Succulent Sculpture'

13. Hill & Dale Landscape, 'Xeric - Mix: Plants, Patterns, and Sticks!'

Extravaganza FAQs
How much does the Succulent Extravaganza cost?

It's FREE!

How can I pay for all of the plants I plan to buy?

Cash or check only. No credit cards!

Do I have to pay for the Bar-B-Que?

Nope! That's free too! There will be a taco truck onsite for purchasing lunch.

Where do I park?

We will have parking attendents to direct you to parking across the street.

How should I dress?

Prepare for a rain-or-shine event that is largely outdoors. Wear good walking shoes and bring sunscreen and a hat!

What should I bring?

We suggest wearing layers and bringing your own shopping wagon. Carry water. Bring your camera, of course, with extra batteries.

Where can I eat while in town?

Good thing you asked! All Extravaganza attendees will be given a discount at the Haute Enchilada if they make a reservation and say that they are Extravaganza attendees while making the reservation.



Can I pick up wholesale orders during the Succulent Extravaganza?

Unfortunately, no. There will be no wholesale orders processed or picked during the event.

How to Get Here & Where to Stay
Succulent Gardens Nursery
2133 Elkhorn Road
Castroville, CA 95012
We are located south of Santa Cruz between Highway 1 and 101 on the edge of the Elkhorn Slough.

Holiday Inn Express Marina
This is a newer hotel, minutes from shops and restaurants and only 15 minutes away from our nursery!

Sanctuary Beach Resort
This one is for those of you looking to splurge on your weekend in town. Beautiful hotel, right on Marina State Beach, minutes from shops, restaurants and only 15 minutes away from our nursery!

Best Western Watsonville
This hotel is located in Watsonville and only 18 minutes from our nursery!

Captain's Inn Moss Landing
If you are looking for an older quaint place to stay this might be it! Only minutes from several of our favorite places to eat in Moss Landing. This is the closest to the nursery at a mere 3 miles!
Succulent Extravaganza 2014
One for the History Books!

This was a very special event this year, highlighted by collaboration and transition. I announced to the world, the day before Extravaganza, that I had sold my business. I re-announced the sale during the event, also taking advantage of the opportunity to introduce the Rodkin family, the new owners, to many of my customers. I wanted everyone to know how much I believe in the new owners' ability to continue to grow and develop Succulent Gardens.

As a business owner I have followed my passion spreading the word about succulent plants. I have also been fortunate enough to have a great crew to help me do this. I wanted a new owner who appreciated my passion and valued my crew. I wanted a new owner that would bring skills I lacked. I know, I know, how could I possibly lack any skills? Well, I've done pretty well with the skills I lack, but there are many ways to improve on the Succulent Gardens "brand" while carrying on the same message.

I will be at Succulent Gardens for at least the next twelve months, working to pass on much of what I know. Each of the family members has different responsibilities, so I will be working with each of them to make this happen. While we worked through the process of a business sale, I was focusing on a special project, to be unveiled at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this February, and this year's Succulent Extravaganza. The 2014 Extravaganza will be setting the stage for a portion of the 2015 Extravaganza.
The landscapes installed at SG over the past six weeks are being monitored, with the help of the Monterey Bay Master Gardener club, for the next twelve months. We will be reporting on some of this over the next year and will make our observations known at the 2015 Succulent Extravaganza event. This newsletter will feature a lot of what happened at the event, including photos of the gardens installed. I will be at the 2015 event, and encourage everyone to mark their calendar for September 25 and 26, 2015.

About this year's Extravaganza, how many people can I thank? The landscape professionals poured their hearts--and a few gallons of sweat--into each of the landscapes. Please come by and observe these landscapes through the year. If you are looking for someone to help you with your succulent landscape, these folks all love working with succulent plants.
A special thanks to Julia Bell who put so much into this event.
(Pictured above and below--a few of Julia's fascinatingly gorgeous and detailed landscapes installed for the event.)

Monterey Bay Master Gardeners have been involved from the first Extravaganza and have helped us emphasize the educational benefits of this event. They not only helped prepare and manage the event, but they are helping to raise the bar in understanding succulent plants in the landscape. Thank you. There were many other volunteers who helped make the bar- b-q a big success.

The speakers helped to interpret what was going on in special and unique ways. Thank you, Saxon Holt, for your perspective as seen through the lens of you camera.

Thank you, Debra Lee Baldwin, for all you have done to raise awareness of succulent plants and for helping add to this event each year; You are the queen!

Thank you, Anita McCarty, for making the handling of some of these succulent giants a little bit less intimidating. Your input on handling succulent plants has made the experience of moving these plants around something to look forward to. I'm sure there will be more than a few Agaves moving to new homes in the months to come. If any of you folks are still intimidated by these giants that bite, you know who to call to help!

Thank you, Brian Kemble, for all of the knowledge and experience you share throughout the Extravaganza event. Brian has been explaining what these plants are all about for many years. If you have not heard Brian speak, visit the Ruth Bancroft Garden, or come to Extravaganza next year.

A very special thank you to Kathy Brenzel, garden editor of Sunset magazine. Kathy has been such an important contributor to horticulture in the western US and early on recognized how very special succulent plants are.

And, of course, the Succulent Gardens staff, who maintained a high level of focus and commitment to making certain the nursery, the plants, and I were all prepared for a fabulous Extravaganza. Thank you Team Succulent Gardens!

Take a Walk through Succulent Gardens
We didn't want to let the cat out of the bag before the Extravaganza. Now that the event has come and gone we're happy to take you on a garden walk through all of the new landscapes installed before and during the event.
To see all of the amazing little details you really must come visit. In the meantime, hopefully this will tide you over.

Bell & Flourish with lille aeske 'Repurposed Riot'




Bell & Flourish with Ross Landscape Construction 'Echeveria Extravaganza'


Simone Lajeunesse 'Prehistoric Chillin'


Michael and Danielle Romero 'Under Sea Garden'

Organic Mechanics, 'Rustic Rampage'


Bell & Flourish with Ross Landscape Construction 'Aloe, Agave, Aeonium Landscape'


Desert Mandala, 'Living Mandala Garden'

Dat Pham 'Ebony and Ivory'

John Greenlee, 'Grasses, Succulents and...'

Steven Sutherland and Associates (SSA) with Coastal Evergreen 'Succulent Wave'

Hill & Dale Landscapes with Robert Armstrong, 'Xeric - Mix: Plants, Patterns, and Sticks'

Andrea Hurd 'Leaning Flagstone Succulent Bench'

Here's Who Bought The Nursery!

Robin Stockwell has sold Succulent Gardens to a family who plan to continue his vision while expanding the business's reach. On October 1, brothers John and Dennis Rodkin, and Megan Rodkin, John's wife, took over ownership of the place that Robin spent 11 years building into a widely respected horticultural resource for the Monterey and San Francisco bay areas

"I feel confident that John, Dennis and Megan will not only continue to manage Succulent Gardens in the ways that I have, but that they will improve everything across the board, for my plants, employees and customers, and for the world of horticulture."

Stockwell will remain at the nursery, mentoring the team. "Robin will be able to focus on the plants while we take over many of the headaches that affect small business owners," John said.

Dennis added that "Robin is the go-to person on succulents. We wouldn't do anything to squander that. He's created something terrific, and we want to roll forward on the rails he's laid."

The Rodkin brothers have a long relationship with horticulture. John grew up in the wholesale nursery hotspot Fallbrook, California. His older brother Dennis also grew up in San Diego, where he worked in a plant nursery and for landscape designers before becoming a journalist. A longtime Chicago reporter who is moving to the Castroville area to be at Succulent Gardens, Dennis was a garden columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Home and Garden magazine from 1994 through 2011, and wrote for several national gardening publications during those years. John, a technology entrepreneur, and Megan, an attorney, live and work in the Bay Area.

Stockwell, who started Succulent Gardens in 2003 and has been its grower and manager, said he is excited about the experience and ideas that the new team brings to the table. "They have skills and abilities to take the nursery to a new level and make it a major player in the horticulture industry," he said. At the same time, Robin will be able to shed the day-to-day management responsibilities and "play with a transition to retirement while focusing on mentoring, the vision, and the plants." He'll continue to speak at and attend garden shows and work with the Succulent Gardens staff.

Drop by the nursery to meet one or another of the Rodkins when you get a chance.
Plant of the Month:
Zygocactus, "Christmas Cactus"

Zygocactus are most commonly know as "Christmas Cactus." There have been many hybrids created through the years resulting in a vast array of flower choices. I chose this newsletter to feature this plant because now is the time to play around a bit with your older plants if you think they might need a bit of encouragement to produce flowers during the holidays. If your Christmas cactus plants naturally bloom during the holidays (without intervention) you will not need to follow the below method.
Over the years, there have been a number of "recipes" circulated intended to help people to force these plants to produce flower buds. The most common I have heard about is to place the plant in a cool, low light area (possibly a basement, or garage setting). Reduce watering and keep the plant dry, but not so dry the leaves shrivel. After about a month of this, if you are successful, flower buds will begin to develop. Once the flower buds begin to show, moving the plant into a well lit area, not hot sun, will allow the buds to develop toward the holiday period.
Production nurseries are able to produce a holiday crop in a similar manner by using shade cloth in greenhouses to reduce the daylight hours plants are exposed to, sending a signal to the plants to bloom.
I have seen beautifully sculptured Christmas cactus grown for many years indoors. They make great house plants. Older plants will often bloom twice a year, showing a light bloom in the spring and a more heavy bloom in the fall, around the holidays. The plant pictured above is grown outside on a porch under the California redwoods. In the canyons under the redwoods, the daylight hours are reduced enough that the plants come in to bloom earlier than they might with greater light exposure.
Good luck with you holiday blooms.
Retail Details: Fall in love with Succulents!
Hello all!

So much and catch you all up on! First of all let me say that the new owners John, Megan and Dennis are awesome! I know many of you have asked and have been curious about changes around the nursery since October 1. The enthusiasm they have for Succulent Gardens is palpable. As many of you know I have been part of the SG family for a little over 12 years. Having folks who love the nursery and care as much as I do is very special indeed. New and exciting changes are happening virtually daily, which will only serve to enhance your shopping experience and make Succulent Gardens a more dynamic nursery!


We have begun taking credit cards for retail customers for orders over $20. (It's not hard to get there; am I right?)


Nope. . .

Not difficult at all. . .