Hidden Meadows author named Horticulturist of the Year

Honoree Debra Lee Baldwin (far left) with Hidden Meadows friends Summer Sports, Jody Granger, Amy Van Liew, Diane Beckel (holding a succulent-topped visitor gift), Marsha Rafter, and Lori Enfield. Also in attendance were Meadowites Rosemary Tullis, Linda and John Kennedy, Jerry Granger, Paul Enfield, and Bill and Lori Schnetz.

By Katlynn Nicolls, Timber Press

Garden photojournalist and author Debra Lee Baldwin, a 26-year Hidden Meadows resident, received a lifetime achievement award from the San Diego Horticultural Society (SDHS) at the organization’s annual “Night at the Fair,” held at the Del Mar Fair Flower & Garden Show. Among the 300+ attendees were a dozen of the honoree’s friends from Hidden Meadows.

SDHS president Jim Bishop told the assembly, “Every year the board selects an important member of the local horticultural community to honor as our Horticulturist of the Year. The award recognizes an individual for a lifetime of achievement and service. Multitalented Debra writes with an evocative and nuanced vocabulary, paints richly hued and lifelike watercolors, takes vibrant photographs, gardens with enthusiasm, and shares all her passions through books, lectures, videos, and social media.”

Baldwin, a SDHS life member, was introduced by past-president Susi Torre-Bueno, who gave an informed perspective on the popularity of succulent plants—Baldwin’s specialty. Baldwin authored three bestselling books about what she calls “plants that drink responsibly” and gardens with them extensively on her own half-acre. Baldwin is credited with launching the worldwide popularity of succulents via her books, magazine articles, website and 100+ YouTube videos (currently at 2.8 million views).

Torre-Bueno said of Baldwin, “Debra shines a spotlight on a fascinating group of plants that had mostly been relegated to the pots of passionate hobbyists. She has done a great service to the horticultural community by her years of work in promoting awareness of and appreciation for the use of succulents in the landscape. I’ve lived in San Diego for over 30 years, and until the last decade or so, the only place I saw them was in a few isolated gardens. These days, succulents seem to be on every garden tour and showcased in exciting new ways in public gardens.”

View both Torre-Bueno’s introduction and Baldwin’s acceptance speech, which received a standing ovation, on her YouTube channel @DebraLeeBaldwin.