Striking Succulent Gardens By Gabriel

Mangave and Kalanchoe orgyalis April 30, 2012

It’s hard to believe we first moved back to Wisconsin over nine years ago and are doing it again pretty soon. One of the stops we made on our trip back to Madison was Cambria and Morro Bay on California’s central coast where we met up with Gabriel Frank and Kaveh McGuire of Gardens By Gabriel. They took us on a fabulous tour of crazy succulent gardens on the coast that I think we had an old blog post about, but I didn’t include Nick Wilkinson owner of Botanica Nova and Grow Nursery. It’s a super double succulent post about both succulent garden masters day!

Agaves and Dudleya

Man, my memory is not great. I think this was in Cambria, but I’m not sure and it was taken with an old school camera with no GPS. For some reason the baby Agaves in this picture look sweet and innocent, I think this may have been Nick’s garden, but I don’t remember.

Aeonium nobile and friends

The final stop on the tour was a relatively new garden designed by Kaveh and installed by Gabriel in Morro Bay that was already looking pretty amazing despite its youth. You gotta love the non-spikey clumpers that are always easy to move around or split up for more plants down the road if needed. Keep in mind they’re gardening in sand next to the Pacific Ocean and not some concrete, trowel breaking, clay hell that many plants hate. Especially the really cool ones.

Grevillea something or other

Some of the most successful succulent gardens have a nice balance of non-succulents as well. Let’s face it all succulents all the time can get boring and it’s fun to mix it up with one of those plants I mentioned that likes perfect drainage. Not all Grevilleas are fussy, but many of the cool Australian and South African natives like really good drainage. The perfect, mild, year-round temperatures help to make the central coast pretty much a plant heaven on earth.

Dudleya, Agave and Aeonium trio

This giant clump of Dudleya is so damn happy. Only a select group of folks living really close to the Pacific Ocean in California can grow these native succulents. We had giant, happy ones when we lived by the beach. Sadly people are terrible and have been poaching them from nature by the truck load. If you ever see any shady plant gathering activity on the coast report it. Seriously, watch the video below, it’s messed up.

Senecio serpens and Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’ (I think)
Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ and Graptoveria friends

How can you not love all the great colors and textures happening, so many good things are going on here. If you are fortunate enough to live in coastal California where the succulents grow like weeds and you want to learn how to create your own crazy succulent garden you are in luck!

Striking Succulent Gardens

Order up the book Striking Succulent Gardens directly from Gabriel and while you’re there click over to his portfolio for even more drool inducing garden pictures. Here are some more gorgeous book preview pics I stole from Amazon:

Look at all those sexy Aloe flowers! It really is one of the best succulents there is.

Me, Kaveh, Gabriel & Matti April 30, 2012

Look at how young we all were here!

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