Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Succulent Extravaganza recap

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.

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Succulent Gardens at the intersection of Elkhorn and Amaral Road in Castroville, CA

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Agaves galore!

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Plantings along Amaral Road

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Entrance to the handicap parking area

One of the new creations at this year’s Extravaganza was this succulent pyramid:

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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.

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I loved the comic touches like this monkey:

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Exquisite attention to detail:

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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:

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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:

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Repurposed Riot by Julia Bell, Creative Director of Succulent Gardens, in collaboration with James & Sarah Mackessy of lille aeske:

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Echeveria Extravaganza by Julia Bell, Creative Director of Succulent Gardens, in collaboration with Ross Landscape Construction:

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Living Mandala by Kristen Scheidt of Succulent Gardens and Desert Mandala:

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Xeric - Mix: Plants, Patterns, and Sticks by Christine Watten and Tim Hill of Hill & Dale Landscapes:

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Succulent Wave by Steve Sutherland of Steven Sutherland and Associates (SSA) in collaboration with Coastal Evergreen Landscape & Maintenance Contractors:

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Grasses, Succulents and … by John Greenlee of Greenlee & Associates:

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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.

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The three apple green agaves are Agave bovicornuta

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The agaves clustered around the rusted pipe are Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’

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String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

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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:

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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:

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This is the area just outside the retail greenhouse:

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Display of medicinal aloes inside the retail greenhouse:

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Want a ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)? There are many to choose from!

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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.

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Beer kegs left over from Friday’s BBQ. There were two kinds of tamales as well. All free!

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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.

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Deana McMillion, Sarah Hanna, Catherine Scott, and Noreen Fenton

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Deana McMillion with her intricate creation

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Succulent cupcakes by Laura Balaoro

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Repurposed tin cans by Noreen Fenton

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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!

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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.

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10 comments:

  1. Can't say I really like any of the gardens except the Greenlee one. It looks unforced, natural, and to use a current buzzword, sustainable. I like the face pot the best, too.

    It looked like a fun event, and if the weather was cool and comfortable, I'm sorry I missed it (again).

    Awaiting the succulent porn. Yee haw!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The weather was a little warmer than I would have liked for the coast, but still quite nice.

      The Greenlee garden needs more succulents. It looks a little lost right now. But the grasses are beautiful when backlit.

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  2. It's a long drive but I may have to make it one year.

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  3. Succulent porn AND what you bought, hopefully...

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    Replies
    1. I only bought two things. I don't want to make big purchases until I know what will happen with our front lawn, and when.

      Delete
  4. Those gorgeous bovicornutas...! This is so on my calendar for next year. Has the place changed much under new management? Like Hoov B and Loree, I'm eager for more...

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    1. Those Agave bovicornuta were perfection, both in form and color.

      From what I understand, the new owners are making a push to capture more of the wholesale/landscape design market. It seems there are more large specimens for sale (including 24" boxes and even field-grown specimens). Not cheap, but perfect for instant impact.

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  5. I have to say I didn't realize that Robin Stockwell sold the nursery. I fear I will never get a chance t attend this as it always coincides with an annual business trip /trade show that I must attend. Some day !

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Robin sold the nursery last year.

      I wish you could go to an Extravaganza. They're a ton of fun.

      Delete