It’s a tradition now: The last Friday and Saturday of September are reserved in my calendar for the Succulent Extravaganza. Organized by Succulent Gardens, Northern California’s premier succulent grower, and held at their nursery in Castroville, the Succulent Extravaganza is a two-day affair jam packed with presentations, socializing and shopping. Over time, it’s also become a much anticipated reunion with friends and fellow succulent fanatics I only see once a year.
For last year’s Succulent Extravaganza, a select group of designers created a series of demonstration gardens to showcase how succulents can be used in residential landscaping. The same gardens were the focus of the 2015 Extravaganza as well. It was interesting to see how they have evolved. Read on to see photos.
Succulent Gardens at the intersection of Elkhorn and Amaral Road in Castroville, CA
Plantings along Amaral Road
Entrance to the handicap parking area
One of the new creations at this year’s Extravaganza was this succulent pyramid:
Entitled Voyage to Tikal, this installation was created by Julia Bell and Ross Landscape Construction. It’s made of sedum tiles, 10x20” coconut fiber (coir) mats planted with assorted sedums.
I loved the comic touches like this monkey:
Exquisite attention to detail:
The other new piece was this succulent heart. Entitled A Living Heart Through Succulent Art, it was created by Robin Stockwell, the former owner of Succulent Gardens, in cooperation with Gary Snyder of Gary Snyder Fabrication:
Below are some photos of the demonstration gardens I mentioned earlier. I described them in detail in last year’s Extravaganza wrap-up. I suggest you have that post open in a separate window so you can see how the gardens have changed.
Leaning Flagstone Succulent Bench by Andrea Hurd of Mariposa Gardening & Design:
Living Mandala by Kristen Scheidt of Succulent Gardens and Desert Mandala:
Xeric - Mix: Plants, Patterns, and Sticks by Christine Watten and Tim Hill of Hill & Dale Landscapes:
Succulent Wave by Steve Sutherland of Steven Sutherland and Associates (SSA) in collaboration with Coastal Evergreen Landscape & Maintenance Contractors:
Grasses, Succulents and … by John Greenlee of Greenlee & Associates:
Rustic Rampage by James Pettigrew & Sean Stout of Organic Mechanics. As you can see from the sheer number of photos below, this was my favorite of the demonstration gardens.
The three apple green agaves are Agave bovicornuta
The agaves clustered around the rusted pipe are Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’
String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
Blue chalk fingers (Senecio mandraliscae)
As part of a live demonstration, Robin Stockwell, the former owner of Succulent Gardens, installed a cacti garden on Friday. These boots are part of it:
As always, shopping is a big part of the Succulent Extravaganza. In addition to the retail greenhouse and the areas around it, the outside area behind the propagation greenhouses held a variety of treasures:
This is the area just outside the retail greenhouse:
Display of medicinal aloes inside the retail greenhouse:
Want a ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)? There are many to choose from!
The lines are the cash registers seemed shorter this year. But that impression could be deceiving. I do hope that this year’s Extravaganza was a financial success for the new owners, John and Megan Rodkin. They, and their employees, put a tremendous amount of effort into organizing this event.
Beer kegs left over from Friday’s BBQ. There were two kinds of tamales as well. All free!
One of the highlights of each Extravaganza is to meet up with friends from the Succulent Fanatics group on Facebook. This year, Succulent Gardens asked members to display their most interesting succulent container creations. Visitors could vote for their favorites.
Deana McMillion, Sarah Hanna, Catherine Scott, and Noreen Fenton
Deana McMillion with her intricate creation
Succulent cupcakes by Laura Balaoro
Repurposed tin cans by Noreen Fenton
Farm scene by Denise Dresbach
The winner of the competition was Catherine Scott’s face pot. It was one of my favorites as well. Outstanding job, Catherine!
Catherine Scott with her face pot (I want one!)
Click here to see the best “succulent porn” photos I took at the 2015 Succulent Extravaganza.