Cover Hardy Succulents bookWhen Gwen Steege, my editor at Storey Books, asked if I would be interested in a succulent book, I could hardly believe my ears.  I live in California where succulents have become a staple of gardens.  Many a great fine art photographer has studied them.  Their shape, colors, and form offer never-ending variety.

Garden at Solana Succulents

I couldn’t wait to start.  Then I talked to the author.

The best assignments offer the opportunity to study a subject in depth, to learn and then communicate.  So I was delighted to find that Gwen Kelaidis, an experienced gardener in Colorado and long time editor of the Rock Garden Society was the writer.

Gwen lives in Denver, zone 5, and told me in no uncertain terms that no photos were to be taken in California.  What !?  Then she explained the book was “hardy” succulents, targeted for gardeners who dealt with real winters.

Agave parryi in Colorado garden
Hardy succulent, Agave parryi v. neomexicana, with sharp purple spines in drought tolerant Colorado garden

In California, succulents grow big because the climate is so mild.  The same succulent that might be hardy in a cold climate would grow much too large in California, so photos  could be misleading.  A wise woman that Gwen, acerbic, trenchant, and quite determined to make a book that would lead to success.

hardy succulents peckerwood garden
Agave and Nolina, drought tolerant succulents by blue garden wall at Peckerwood garden, Texas

 

Cactus in containers under scree in Connecticut patio garden

So, I got a travel budget and went to Colorado, to Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Texas.  I did sneak in a few California gardens such as Ruth Bancroft’s, and visited many I could not include.  For research purposes of course.

Drought tolerant hen and chicks hardy succulent Sempervivum 'Sir William Lawrence' with maroon tipped leaf
Drought tolerant hen and chicks hardy succulent Sempervivum ‘Sir William Lawrence’ with maroon tipped leaf

Many of the those California photos, while not part of Hardy Succulents become part of The Green Wall, an exhibition of large canvas prints.  More about these prints.

Order the book at Amazon.  Order autographed copy from me.

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