The Fine Art of Succulents

I first spotted one of Carol Booth’s terrific succulent creations on Facebook a couple months ago. When I saw she also lived in Laguna Beach, I thought, “Hey, why don’t I know her?” Succulents are everywhere these days, but it was clear that Carol had an artist’s eye. I contacted her through her web site–Fundamento Designs–and she generously invited me to her home to check out her work.


Carol is a retired ceramics instructor who only recently started working with succulents. She credits Debra Lee Baldwin, the queen of succulent design, as her main inspiration. Carol said she was never a gardener, and learned the basics from reading Baldwin’s popular book, Succulent Container Gardens.



Carol also is an avid collector, and has a passion for “old rusty iron” pieces. She finds her one-of-a-kind containers at flea markets, garage sales, Ebay, estate sales, whereever she can. Not only are her containers unique, but her compositions are exquisite.



Carol said she learned all the botanical names for the succulents, and over time understood the idiosyncrasies of different varieties. Although succulents have a reputation for being indestructible,  some that are picky about how much shade or sun, or amount of water–and it shows. They also change over time, growing and shifting, and it takes work to keep them in line.



She has a number of old toy trucks filled with succulents and cacti. I love how she interplays the textures, colors and shapes. A lot of us enjoy cramming in a bunch of different succulents and marveling at how great they look. But Carol bumps it up to a fine art.



 This is an old, hand-painted, wooden basket.



 Carol said this blue-green pot clashed with most of her succulents, until she paired it with this cabbage variety.



 This old fire truck greets visitors at the front door of her home in North Laguna Beach.


 This is an old, iron seed dispenser.


 Inside Carol’s home in North Laguna is this open-air atrium, where she assembles her containers.




This lovely trio of succulents peers out her front window.



 This old hibachi is one of Carol’s favorites, especially when the sun illuminates the Sticks on Fire.




As you can see, I couldn’t get enough of her arrangements. This is a birds-eye view of one in a simple wood crate.




Although Carol sells some of her arrangements through her web site, she says this is mostly a hobby.



“It makes me happy,” she said, with a big smile.

Thanks Carol! Your work makes us happy, too!




5 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Succulents

  1. Oh, these are so creative, whimsical and beautiful! You are so right, though, that succulents are hard to keep “in line” — they’re always growing out of their perfect arrangements. You have to have a lot of patience and be willing to start fresh, I’ve decided, to work with them.

  2. I loved you sharing this! I just “really” got into succulents a couple of years ago making frames and now wreaths. I too have Debra Lee Baldwins book – great inspiration! I want to do this when I retire. Thank you!!!

  3. These are all absolutely stunning – you are right to say she is a true artist. I particularly love the display in the old fire truck – so unique.

    Simon @Ambius

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