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Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties Paperback – May 21, 2013

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  • Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties
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Editorial Reviews


"In her new book, Succulents Simplified:Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties, Baldwin even tells of a Jade plant that has lasted for more than two decades in her garden with various stages of neglect! Besides needing low-water, most succulents need minimal maintenance. We are so done with whiners and prima donnas! (Sorry, Roses.)" 

-- Annie Speigelman, Huffington Post

"Anyone who knows Debra Lee Baldwin is aware of her extraordinary prowess as an author, writer, photographer, and artist...her book, Succulents Simplified, is a work of art." --- Fran Sorin, Gardening Contributor, CBS Radio News

"As with all of her previous books, I'm a huge fan. However I was particularly excited to read about the crafty succulent projects shown in the book. From quick and easy succulent rosettes for bouquets, to teeny tiny mint-tin gardens, to succulent-topped pumpkins there's a project in this book for even the most craft-challenged." -- Author/designer Rebecca Sweet in her blog, Gossip in the Garden

"Ms. Baldwin's step-by-step projects for crafters as well as numerous container and dish gardens give Succulents Simplified a wider appeal than a straight gardening book. It's the perfect starter volume for those new to succulents, while satisfying and delighting veterans with the variation and solid growing tips based on the author's evident joy in succulents and cacti." -- Geri Laufer, New York Journal of Books

"Debra is nothing if not passionate about succulents...In Succulents Simplified (Timber Press) she demystifies these popular low-water beauties." -- James Baggett, editor, Country Gardens Magazine

"This fresh and entertaining volume certainly deserves a green thumbs up."

From the Author

When people ask me how I became interested in succulents, I tell them I toured an amazing succulent garden on assignment for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Horticulturist Patrick Anderson and his aloe garden opened my eyes to the beauty of succulents and their potential in garden design.
            Yet even as I say this, around the edges of my awareness floats a much earlier memory. I was eight or nine years old when I went with my mother to a home in a wealthy community for an occasion I don't remember. When we returned home, my mother described the house to my father: "Big picture windows, but imagine having to clean them. Views of the golf course, but the property is too steep. Surrounded by trees, but they shed leaves and bark. Big deck off the living room, but no garden."
            No garden? There had been an astonishing one, in pots on the deck, with plants unlike any I'd seen before. They looked like eels, starfish, and coral. One was a perfect little sphere with a green-and-maroon herringbone pattern. Others were necklaces of blue-gray buttons, rubbery silver-blue roses, and sticks of green chalk with windowed tips.
            My mother concluded wistfully, "Maybe someday Debbie will have a house like that."
            Why would I want it, I wondered, if it came with dirty windows, messy trees, and near-vertical land? On the other hand, who wouldn't want that deck garden? It became something I longed for, along with a saltwater aquarium, a hot air balloon, and an unlimited supply of chocolate marshmallows.
            I no longer want any of those, but succulents continue to seduce me. I'm that little girl again when I see a succulent I haven't seen before, or even a well-grown one I may have seen dozens of times. You might assume I have a vast collection, and although I do own dozens of varieties, I don't consider myself a collector. Fascination need not be possession. I'm equally happy looking at succulents in a nursery, at a show, or in someone else's garden. In particular, I enjoy capturing and recording succulents' myriad shapes and textures with my camera.
            For most of my career, I've written about all sorts of plants. Words are still my first love, but nothing describes a plant or a garden as well as a photo. As I practice this art form, I often think of how "photography" means "writing with light." Camera in hand, I circle a succulent, looking for the best light. In slanted early morning or late afternoon sun, red margins burn neon bright, spines incandesce, fuzzy filaments shimmer, and leaves reveal glowing hues of rose, orange, purple, and blue. As you might imagine, it was difficult to winnow the selection of photos for my books. So many have merit, or illustrate an important point, and I was continually thinking, "But I have to show them this one!"
            Succulents Simplified, my third book about succulents, is a kind of prequel to the previous two. It's a guide for novice enthusiasts, a quick reference for anyone seeking an overview, and a vehicle for presenting design ideas I'm excited about. Throughout, I share my perspective on a subject that has become my passion.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; 5.5.2013 edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604693932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604693935
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Debra Lee Baldwin specializes in showing how top floral and garden designers use dynamic, sculptural succulents in a wide variety of eye-catching applications.

Her own garden, which has been in Sunset and Better Homes & Gardens, is in the foothills northeast of San Diego, where temps range from below freezing to upwards of 100 degrees.

Succulents, Debra explains, "are plants that drink responsibly. They store water in fleshy leaves and stems to survive dry spells, like when you forget to water them. They're a terrific option for good-looking, low-maintenance landscapes and containers."

Debra, a garden photojournalist, got her start writing about homes, gardens, architecture and interior design for the San Diego Union-Tribune, then went on to scout, write and shoot for major magazines. In 2005, her editor at Sunset suggested she do a book on succulents. "That changed my life," Debra says.

Debra's latest book, Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties, introduces the best succulents for gardens and containers, explains how to grow and use them, and gives step-by-step methods for design-oriented projects.

"Succulents Simplified is a guide for novice enthusiasts, a quick reference for anyone seeking a good overview, and a vehicle for design ideas I'm excited about," Debra says. "Throughout the book, I give my perspective on a subject that has become my passion."

Her first gardening book, Designing with Succulents, came out in 2007 and spent 19 weeks on Amazon's list of the Top Ten Bestselling Gardening Books. The sequel, Succulent Container Gardens (2010), topped the charts as well. Like Succulents Simplified, both are from Timber Press, the nation's leading publisher of gardening books.

Additionally, Debra shares her photos and expertise via articles, blog posts, newsletters, workshops, YouTube videos and on her website, She is an in-demand speaker on the horticultural circuit, and she keeps in daily contact with succulent enthusiasts worldwide via email and Facebook.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've been around the world of horticulture for any time, you're probably familiar with Debra Lee Baldwin's work with succulents. Her first two books, Designing with Succulents and Succulent Container Gardens, are still the most thoughtful, in-depth guides to those topics available. However, both of those books have so much information that you could say they are aimed more towards a deeply passionate hobbyist or a professional like myself, rather than the casual gardener.

In certain situations, I think it can be even more helpful to have a simpler reference which condenses the most actionable information available into one easy-to-use guide. That's where Debra's new book, Succulents Simplified, comes in.

Succulents Simplified has three sections:
· How to grow and design with succulents successfully
· How-to projects that showcase succulents
· Debra's top 100 easy-care succulents

Even though I'm a landscaping professional, I'm definitely no succulent expert, so having Debra's keep-it-simple tips for how to succeed with them are incredibly useful to me. She goes over everything from creating designs using the varied shapes, colors and textures of succulents, choosing the right location so they'll succeed, and the right way of maintaining these plants so they continue looking fresh. The information is presented in a clean, easy-to-peruse format with a lot of bullet points and lists making it easy to find the information you're looking for.

Then, the second section has eight gorgeous DIY projects to get you more enthused and involved in the succulent world, with each section having multiple pages of detailed how-to photos and instructions. Want to grow succulents in a low light situation?
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By garden chick on May 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Succulents Simplified covers all aspects of succulent gardening, whether you grow them outdoors, in containers or use them for crafting projects. Despite the fact that I have been doing all of these things with succulents for the last four years, I often feel like I'm just winging it. This book is now my go-to source for caring for my existing collection as well as for choosing new varieties. The book goes well beyond listing solid, easy-care succulents choices (although it does that as well), and includes a range of essential information, such as how to refresh succulents in containers, companion plants, and a terrific "what's wrong with my succulent" Q and A. The format features breakout boxes, checklists, and detailed how-to photographs, making it easy for me to find answers to specific questions, or page through for design inspiration or a craft project to try. The format is particularly user-friendly. Any succulent lover will appreciate the wealth of information provided, but beginner and intermediate succulent gardeners will find it particularly helpful.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Patty - USA Scots Lass on May 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Debra Lee Baldwin has hit a homerun again for succulent gardening. This time, Debra is targeting those really new to succulents and this book helps take the mystery out of learning how to garden successfully with succulents. Gorgeous photos, excellent descriptions and instructions. This is a wonderful complement to Debra's other two succulent books, "Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants" and "Designing with Succulents", both previous books considered the top succulent gardening resource books on the market today. My books from Debra Lee Baldwin have earned a spot next to the "Sunset Western Garden Book" as my top 10 most valuable gardening resource books in my gardening library. This book will be one of my "go to" succulent books. Well done, Debra, another fantastic book. Will be on my holiday gift list to my fellow gardening friends and family!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Garden Guru on June 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
Succulent gardening and landscaping author Debra Lee Baldwin provides a vast amount of up-to-date information on the the subject of succulents in her latest book, "Succulents Simplifeid".

Baldwin's insight into the growth, maintenace and selection of succulent plants for gardening and landscaping is explained in simple terms to help demistify the subject of succulents.

I was impressed by how thoroughly and personally the author explains the original content of each chapter in her book.

As a landscape designer, I was especially gratifed to read the authors section entitled, "Good riddance to your lawn". My recent clients for the past several years have been "trending" toward wanting to remove their water thirsty front lawns and replace the grass areas with drought tolerant plants, consisting mostly of succulents.

Baldwin expounds the benefits of this trend and then elaborates on the topic of "Low-Water, Not No-Water, Plants", explaining that indeed most hot climates require succulents to be watered during dry spells, then goes into detail why overwatering is ususally more a problem for succulents than under-watering.

The photographs in the book (the majority taken by the author) are exceptional, each one helping to provide clarity to the accompanying text.

Whether you are a seasoned expert gardener, or just starting to discover the magic of what succulents have to offer, you'll be delighted with the wide ranging subject matter of this must have gardening book.

Garden Guru
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