Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Visit With Debra Lee Baldwin (and a giveaway!)

In March of 2012, I had the good fortune of being able to travel to the west coast to attend Spring Trials, courtesy of Proven Winners. It was my first trip to California and there were many things that made it memorable.

Debra and her sweet Lily in her garden in 2012.
One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to see Debra Lee Baldwin, whom I call "Queen of the Succulents."

Debra was one of our mentors when Jenny and I wrote our book, Indoor Plant Decor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants. As a veteran author, she provided all kinds of encouragement and challenged us with ideas, all of which proved valuable to us as first-time authors. (Thank you, Debra!)

While I was at the Proven Winners location near Bonsall, Debra stopped by to see their plants and extended an invitation to me to come and visit her garden on my way back to the airport to return home. The chance to see Debra in her garden was too good to pass up.

If you're a fan of succulents at all, I probably don't need to tell you who Debra is, but just in case you haven't heard of her, she's the author of three bestselling books on the subject: Designing With SucculentsSucculent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Even if you never grew a single succulent (unthinkable!), these books are full of beautiful images making them enjoyable just to look through, but they are also jam-packed with ideas and information on growing this unique group of plants.

Debra gardens on a rather steep hillside in her neighborhood in Escondido and because of the way she has paths crisscrossing in tiers, you can almost imagine that you're exploring a trail far away from the city. As with most gardens, Debra's is in a constant state of change and she's told me that hers doesn't look like this anymore, but I can bet that it's just as beautiful now as it was in 2012.

I pretty much drool over agaves, large and small, but this one was really LARGE.
It was taller than me.

Imagine stepping out your front door and having to look at this. Such a travesty.

Doesn't this just make you want to hop, skip and jump to see what's at the other end?

I love the pottery and the aloes.

I'll take my morning tea right here, please.

Debra has this rainbow of succulents potted up on her balcony. Yummy!

Not only does Debra walk the walk as a succulent expert, she's an artist too. She creates beautiful watercolors of the succulents she grows. She sent me a calendar for 2015 that features a dozen gorgeous images of her paintings.

Image from Debra Lee Baldwin

I've done one watercolor in my life and that was several years ago. I found it to be a daunting task, but when Debra did a blog post explaining her process of painting watercolors of her succulents, she made it sound much easier than I remembered. I might just try again, this time painting some of the flowers from my garden.

Debra has offered to send one of her 2015 Succulent Watercolors Calendars to one lucky reader! Just imagine getting to display this artwork on your wall all year long. All you need to do is this:

1. Leave a comment to this blog post, telling me which month's painting from the calendar is your favorite (mine's November - I think)


2. Fill out the Rafflecopter form with your contact information. I will be using Rafflecopter to pick a random winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will end at midnight EST on Friday night, January 9, 2015, and all entries must be received by that time. A random winner will be chosen and the winner will be notified by email.

If you can't wait to see if you're the winner, you can purchase one of Debra's calendars here. Debra blogs at Gardening Gone Wild and on her own website, which has a wealth of information for succulent lovers.

From Debra Lee Baldwin's garden, 2012

I was given a complimentary calendar from Debra as well as being able to offer one for a giveaway. All thoughts expressed here are my own.


Anonymous said...

Love them all, but October is my favorite. Love the colors.

Sunwriter7 said...

Hi, Kylee -- Wow, you were here at exactly the right time of year. You are an amazing photographer---these are the best photos I've yet to see of my garden. Most of the areas you shot still are the same, but the Bailey's acacia is now much bigger, and the wood deck---which rotted because someone put potted plants on it (!)---has been replaced. The main difference is a lot of masonry work (flagstone patios and rock terraces). So, you must come back!

Marissa said...

They are all beautiful, but I really love the colors for March.

LindaCTG said...

Wow, lucky you! I would love to meet Debra. Her garden is beautiful and so are her books and watercolors. Hard to say which is my favorite picture but I'll go for April.

Pam/Digging said...

Oh, I'm so envious of your visit to Debra's garden! She is one talented woman, isn't she? I don't need the calendar because my office wall space is full, but just for fun my favorite month's watercolor is August's.

Regina said...

So beautiful and peaceful.

Unknown said...

When looking at nature, I see the complexity and the beauty of it and can't help but think to myself, of how great of a loving Heavenly Father we have to create this world and to manifest himself through nature.

Why do you think we are able to relate nature to The Gospel of Jesus Christ so well?

Diane d said...

My favorite is April. I love the featured plant and the red tones really make it special.

Unknown said...

Hmmm. I tried really hard to leave a comment that my favorite month is August, but I could not make the comment form work. Nonetheless, I LOVE August, not only because I'm a Leo, but also because I love the sharp contrast in colors of the plant.

Anonymous said...

They are all so beautiful but my fav is March.

Josh said...

I think June is my favorite...if I must choose!

Anonymous said...

Very hard to pick, July

Colleen said...

They are All gorgeous but being my birthday is in October I will go with that but then again I also love April.
Thank you for this wonderful giveaway opportunity

Louise Hartwig said...

I love October. It is very hard to decide. Debra is one talented lady.

Unknown said...

I really love April's photo. Very lovely!

Bev said...

Hard to decide on just one but I would say February. Beautiful photography : D

Unknown said...

April definitely,no wait! October, I LOVE October...but then there IS July, I do adore it!
Darn, how about all of them, YES I love all of them! ��

Think Floral LLC said...

Debra Baldwin is a treasure and her calendar is beautiful. While I loathe to choose a favorite, if I must, I will select October. The colors sing to my soul this winter's day. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love October. That's the month my Sis was born. She passed away this past November. Missing her terribly. Would love a calendar and also to meet Debra. She's an inspiration for sure. I live about an hour away.

Susan Battersby said...

The colors of April are just stunning.

Anonymous said...

All months are beautiful! Right now I am collecting Agaves
So my favorite is August. Fingers crossed! Kathy Madren

JACLYN said...

July is just beautiful!

Julie said...

march is pretty!

Unknown said...

All lovely, hard to choose one, but I like december most.

Manda said...

I like april

Dorothy Whelchel said...

January really jumps out at me. I love the colors and feel of the picture.

Colleen said...

Congratulations to Lucky Deborah L on the win

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