Showing posts from August, 2022

My succulent potting soil mix: 2022 update

In October 2011, I described a simple recipe for a fast-draining succulent soil mix ( here ). It remains one my most frequently viewed posts of all times. After almost 11 years, I think it’s time to revisit this topic. Based on the number of questions I get, it’s as relevant now as it was then. Go to any garden center or nursery, and the selection of bagged soil mixes is staggering. They range from general-purpose formulations to mixes for flowering plants and vegetables to blends for acid soil-loving plants—and everything in between. Typically, you’ll also find at least one mix specifically for cacti and succulents. Sometimes the product has a more fanciful name, like “Palm, Cactus & Citrus” (Kellogg Garden), “Cactus, Palm & Citrus Soil” (Miracle-Gro), or similar. Dudleyas in my custom succulent soil, planted in Susan Aach pots In my experience, most commercial succulent mixes contain too much organic material, which keeps the soil too wet for too long. That could lead to rot

Sherman Gardens, a small botanical paradise a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean

Sherman Library & Gardens may be on the small side, at least as far as public gardens go. But its location —right on the Pacific Coast Highway, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean—and the Goldilocks climate that comes with it cannot be beat. Sherman Library & Gardens is the brainchild of businessman Arnold Haskell (1895-1977). Auspiciously enough, when Haskell bought the core property in 1955, it was a plant nursery. The old adobe house at the corner of Dahlia Ave and Coast Highway, now part of the Library, was built in the late 1930s by the Lushbaughs, a young couple who hand-fired all the adobe bricks. They had bought the land from the City of Newport Beach for $600—less than the price of a square foot of an average property today! It’s hard to imagine now, but before World War II, few people wanted to buy land in Corona del Mar. Why? Initially, the railroad ended at the Balboa Peninsula, a mile to the north (see map at the bottom of this post), making access inconvenie