Back in October, when a friend and I made a mad dash through 6 nurseries in San Diego County, I picked up a copy of Jeff Moore's new book, "Under the Spell of Succulents," while visiting his nursery, Solana Succulents. I was impressed as soon as I opened the book but I remained mum about the book because I decided to buy 3 more copies as Christmas gifts for friends. I didn't want to ruin the surprise.
The subtitle on the book's cover describes it: it's an introduction to the wide variety of succulents available in cultivation. It's loaded with beautiful photos - there are few pages without one or more and, unlike the succulents you find in most nurseries, the featured plants are labeled. The book contains chapters on a variety of subjects from common topics, such as container and vertical gardens, to the special qualities of selected succulents, such as crests and caudiciforms ("fat plants"). Interspersed between the chapters are sections the author refers to as "interludes" which describe different genera. Among other topics, Moore describes succulent theme gardens, including the use of succulents to create undersea style landscapes. In fact, Moore gained a reputation for these landscapes when he designed an exhibit for the Del Mar Fair in 2002 and a permanent display for the San Diego Botanical Garden. You can find photos on his website. Coincidentally, when I visited his nursery, I picked up an octopus-like succulent, Dyckia marnier-lapostollii.
This is not a how-to book, although the author does offer advice based on his experience. Its clearer purpose is to share the enthusiasm the author clearly feels for these plants. The tone throughout is casual, akin to a discussion one might have with a garden club speaker. There are no pretensions or heavy-handed lectures, just obvious enjoyment in these plants and a desire to share them.
If you're interested in the book, you may face a challenge getting hold of a copy. It's not available from Amazon or another large book retailer. The softcover book is self-published. You can contact the author directly through his nursery to purchase a copy or pick one up by attending events at which he is scheduled to speak, including one on January 12th sponsored by the San Diego Horticultural Society. I bought the copies purchased as gifts for my friends on-line through a San Diego area bookstore.
Note: This review wasn't requested by the author or any representative of the author and I wasn't compensated in any way for offering an opinion. My purpose is solely to share a resource other succulent enthusiasts may appreciate.
All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party