SG586: Designing with the Queen of Succulents – Debra Lee Baldwin

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If you are a fan of succulents - and it seems that they’ve justifiably charmed every living, breathing gardener on planet earth - then today’s show will be a total joy for you. I got the chance to talk succulents with the Queen of Succulents - Debra Lee Baldwin.  Debra has a new book out, it’s the 2nd edition of her book Designing with Succulents; which has so much new material it could well be considered an entirely new book altogether.

Debra is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the launch of her book, Designing with Succulents, which has been completely revised and updated. Her book launched a global interest in succulents and it’s also how Debra earned her moniker as the Queen of Succulents. The 2nd edition of Designing with Succulents has an additional 400 gorgeous and inspiring photos. It encapsulates the essentials of the original along with a decade’s worth of appealing and innovative ideas.

Debra considers this book to be the culmination of her career - that’s saying something. As Australian nurseryman and author Attila Kapitany, in his address to the biennial convention of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America said, “The growing interest in succulents on the part of the gardening public can be attributed primarily to one person: Debra Lee Baldwin.”

Debra is a journalist.  She researches her topics very thoroughly; getting first hand accounts from folks growing and working with succulents, corresponding with succulent experts from around the world. Incredibly, Debra personally photographed the work of great designers - world-class designers, the best of creative homeowners - showcasing the cleverness and creativity of these profoundly enthusiastic succulent gardeners; many of whom used the first edition as a starting point. Debra's book highlights the very best designs of everyday gardeners and professionals, sharing innovations, tips, and ideas - everything that’s new and exciting in the world of succulents. The book has a whole section in the back of plants that are perfect for your own succulent garden.

Chatting with Debra makes for a lovely interview because she is a conscious competent when it comes to succulents - she knows what she knows and she’s crystal clear when it comes to sharing her expertise and passion for succulents. 

Debra specializes in showing how top designers use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of creative applications .  Fleshy or spikey, minuet or ginormous, succulents come in all sorts of growth habits, colors, and shapes.  In Debra’s revised edition, you also get two super-useful supplements: one that lets you choose plants by specific characteristics (such as size, color, or texture), and one that profiles the best companion plants for succulents.

Whether you’re just discovering the wonderful world of succulents, or a succulent aficionado determined to collect as many species as you can, today’s show will fan the flames of your passion for succulents.

Let’s set the roses, hydrangea, and wildflowers aside today - and get down and dirty with the Queen of Succulents - here’s Debra Lee Baldwin and Designing with Succulents.


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Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
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  1. Hello Jennifer
    Thank you for sharing the world of gardening. Please contact me if I can be of help rounding up a panel of garden railroaders for an interview or panel discussion. I’ve done this a few times with success.

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