design ramblings |episode 18 | succulents

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Design Ramblings22 Comments

I turned the camera on and pressed record before Kriste and I even knew what we were going to talk about.  Kriste suggested something spring-related.  Something about flowers…  I chimed in, “Let’s talk about succulents.” So, that’s what we rambled about this week…

(In case you haven’t been watching to the end of the videos, I’ve been putting the “bloopers” at the end instead of in a separate video.  Just an FYI for those who like that sort of thing.)

Anyway, I know in the video, I was scratching my head a bit at succulents in wedding bouquets, but then I did a search on Pinterest for some and saw beautiful examples and I can see why it’s a trend.  Here’s one I thought was especially striking…

succulent bouquet

photo source: Brandon Kidd Photography

I think I like them when they are paired with flowers that are more delicate and feminine.  I also liked this one in Kriste’s house…


I think the “flower petal” shape works for me more than some of the ones that look more “alien”, as I said!  Maybe I just need to plop a succulent in some ironstone and then it’ll work for me.  We’ll see.  As I shared in the video, I have a freelance project for HGTV coming up where I’ve been assigned to use succulents, so I’m going to get a chance to experiment with them in my style.

What do you think about succulents?  Am I the only one who sees them as modern?

PS – Do you recognize Kriste’s curtains?  Yep.  They are my old curtains.  They’ve been folded up in the studio for months, so when Kriste asked about them, I was more than happy to give them to her.  They look so different, more modern, in her space.  It’s fun to see them in a different environment!

design ramblings |episode 18 | succulents

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22 Comments on “design ramblings |episode 18 | succulents”

  1. San Diego is my hometown and we had all kinds of succulents in our yard. So, for me they are nothing new. I believe that one reason they have become popular is because of water conservation awareness. I am not fond of cactus with needles, but the succulents have interesting coloring and shapes, they are easy to grow, and they are drought tolerant. I currently live in a forested area and have an English cottage garden, but I always plant a few succulents for a different texture.

  2. I really think the type of container will make a difference on what style they take on. Ironstone is a great choice..

  3. Without meaning any offense…I just watched the succulents video…and have to say that the repetitiveness of hearing the younger generation overuse the word “like” makes me want to scream. Am I the only one who is bothered by this ??? There are so many other words to use and I was tempted to count the usage but didn’t. Not to pick on just Kriste…I hear this from teenagers and young people who just run it into the ground. If someone is going to be “public speaking” I think it is in order to get a command of the proper grammar and english usage. Other than that , I did enjoy the episode.

    1. OK, I haven’t wanted to be negative but I am going to chime in here also. I’m dismayed to see so many posts that are being presented as video ramblings instead of written. I love your written posts! I also find the video’s to be too casual for me. They take quite a bit more time to get through compared to reading and I find the “like”s and “um”s to be difficult to listen too. I’m sorry to say that, I just know I’m missing out on some great info because the format doesn’t appeal to me. 🙁

      1. Thanks for the feedback, ladies! Patti, don’t worry. I am always going to write posts, but there are things you can do in video that just don’t work in writing and I’m enjoying having another way to communicate with my readers. The opposite is true, though, so you’ll get your share of written posts. 🙂

        1. Thanks for the kind response Marian, I will definitely keep looking forward to all the great content here!

  4. Marian, I think you just need to explore succulents a little. I have a chicken feeder full of them and it is definitely not modern. Check out Simply Succulents out of Wisconsin. They have a website and a Facebook page. Great information and beautiful plants too.

  5. Love succulents. I was not always such a fan but a friend in my garden club urged me to take another look at them. Because of seeing her unique ways of planting, arranging, and displaying them, I now view them through different eyes, so to speak. They are so versatile that I have gone from considering them ho hum to thinking yowzie! Those guys are great!
    One of the best things about them is that they are adaptable to traditional, cottage, or modern styling, depending upon the cultivar and where and how they are planted.
    Take a stroll around a few internet sites and you may have a new appreciation for them. BTW, the wedding bouquet pictured on the blog is stunning.

  6. I have a fondness for succulents as they remind me of my grandmothers garden. My own mother took some from my grandmothers garden and I from my mother.
    17yrs since her passing, I love seeing them in my garden and in my home because it is a reminder of my grandmother.
    On my dining table, an old oak desk from my childhood, I have succulents in a ceramic planter and the overall design is french country with a shabby flair.
    In my garden I have them spilling over the edges of an old concrete bird bath, mixed in with some mosses.

  7. Well, Ms Marian, I can stop hoping (all this time) that I might be offered your blue & white curtains. You said you would think about it. Maybe you got too many requests. I would have borrowed the money to buy them. They are beautiful, and would have made my bedroom so fabulous. I hope Kriste enjoys them.

    p.s. Pls ask her to speak more loudly on the Design Ramblings, or closer to the mic, it would help a lot. I can hear you just fine and it’s perfect; her voice is just very soft.

    1. Yes, I had a lot of requests for them and I was overwhelmed at what to do with them! I don’t know why, but I was, so I just left them sitting there. I’ll let her know there are people who would be interested when she’s done with them. 🙂

  8. Keep up the design ramblings, I look forward to it every week. Those not interested can simply not watch. I love when you answer reader’s questions. I personally love succulents and I am 52 yrs old! They’ve been in my house for decades. I also love using them in my flower beds – there are many forms of sedums and sempervivum (hen & chicks) that are hardy and winter over. I’m in Ohio, zone 5. They spread and you can take cuttings and stick in the ground or pots and they easily root. I also make & sell container fairy & miniature gardens using them and they are very hardy – hardly ever need more than rain water and winter over. I’m a HUGE fan and I think you will be too once you handle them a little bit!

  9. I’ve always loved succulents. I don’t have any but I like to look at them. If you every visit Longwood Gardens in Kennett Sqaure, make sure you visit the Silver Garden in the Main Conservatory-all succulents, I think. Also you must use the pubic restrooms in the main conservatory-the hallway leading to it is called The Green Wall. A sight to see.
    I came across sheets of succulents at Home Depot-10 x 10 and 10 x 20 sheets densely planted with multiple types of succulent ground covers. I’d love to buy one but I have no idea what to do with them besides plant them in the ground. I think they beg to be used in a different manner. Think, think, think…

    1. Haven’t seen the sheets of succulents at our Home Depot this spring, but think they are intended for a vertical garden wall. Those are all the rage in small city gardens over the last few years. Some even have built-in watering systems (which I think would be necessary, since watering might be a real pain in the arse). Succulent wreaths also popular and ‘modern’.

  10. Hi, I think your video is so fun! I was laughing through most of it…….
    you are both hilarious! I am with Miss Mustard Seed as I am from New England…
    Rhode Island and Vermont…..I don’t care for succulents or cactus or palm tress.
    I wonder if there is something to that….being from New England and not caring
    for desert plants, trees, and succulents????

  11. All cactus are succulents, but not all succulents are cactus.
    Also, not all cactus have spines.
    Gets confusing, but basically succulent is a general term applied to plants with swollen leaves or stems that retain water for use during periods of drought.
    It’s a misconception that succulents are easy to grow: it’s just that when not given the right conditions – bright light, the right amount of water and good drainage – they take a relatively long time to die. Certainly not like a maidenhair fern that can go crisp in a few days.
    Some succulents can certainly appear alien, harsh and “modern”.
    But I think designers are intrigued by how their bold shapes and unusual colors contrast so beautifully with other, softer plant material….like this –

  12. Marian, I like both Design Ramblings & written posts. The Ramblings are sometimes hard to get through, due to sound issues or just too many disconnected words that don’t really form a sentence (I, too, sometimes have to strain to hear Kriste’s voice or a guest’s voice). However, the informality also gives me a chance to get to “know” you two a bit, and feel as if we are “hangin’ out” together. You are both lovely, inside & out!
    As a Pacific NW transplant raised in the desert SW, I have been familiar with succulents for years. As a “waterwise” gardener, I feel as if I am getting a lot of bang for my buck with succulents. I am with you, though…some of them are just too alien-looking. I stick with the more “flowery” ones, such a hens ‘n’ chicks. Succulents can be chartreuse, forest green, maroon, and many other colors. There are ones that grow quite large, and ones that stay small. They overwinter great! And, yes, they can be quite beautiful in any garden, if the right form and container are used. I have some in terra-cotta pots amongst my geraniums, lavender, stocks, and other “traditional” flowering plants, and they play nicely together. Have fun exploring!

  13. My niece is getting married in October and requested succulents in her wedding flowers. Her mother and I had no idea how popular they were until we also did a Pinterest search. My niece is using the soft greens and pale rose shades of plants. I think it will be gorgeous.

  14. I enjoy looking at Hens & Chicks, Aloe and the Sedums. My favorite… a jade plant. So far, I have kept it alive (3 years) and it looks great! I only water it twice a month so it is easy for me to remember.

    It reminds me of my grandfather, who had one on a table in the breakfast nook area. It is very slow growing (or at least mine is) but it looks great. Thinking of getting another one!

    The Aloe plants always remind me of my mom. She used them for burns! They are easy to grow and give a different demension and texture.

    Love your blog and the videos!

  15. Before stumbling across your blog, I had never before seen succulents used in a wedding bouquet! It’s stunning. I do agree with you about the modern feel this plant lets off, however I also think succulents can take on many different style variations. Thank you for giving me insight on this trend!

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