The Nursery

About 400 succulents harvested as babies from around Northern California for the wedding: bouquets, centerpieces, a rock garden, a 20-foot long cinder block planter and more. We grew them in as ideal conditions as we could muster for a full year. Along the way, many friends gifted us big, beautiful succulents to join the nursery. When we were confident in their survival for the wedding, with about six weeks left to go, we transported them all at once. Much of the last week was spent gingerly fulfilling their purposes. It was a labor of love and obsession. Most have lived on as either permanent additions to the landscape or as gifts to friends in the neighborhood.

Part of our very first harvest. We retrieved a mix of cuttings and buds from gardens whose permission we sought, and standalone babies from public fields where they were plentiful.

A month or two in, we started to settle into our pattern: greener succulents get more direct sunlight, everyone gets enough water to drain through the soil every 2-3 days, everyone gets cycled around different spots in the nursery every other week, everyone gets replanted every few months, usually to a larger planter.

Several months in, many, many rounds of harvest and daily care had grown the nursery into the hundreds, with many standing tall and taut. A few were sacrificed for the cause along the way. They have been honored.

The most nerve-wracking day of my life in recent memory. A long, solo drive over Yosemite, across Death Valley, through the Nevada desert, to Utah. Doing my best to keep them all upright, hydrated, and comfortable over about 14 hours behind the wheel. Shout out to Stephanie for the SUV, and Jordan for helping me maximize the space.

We made it. Kindra and Beppe helped unload and cover them with deer mesh for protection on arrival. I didn't sleep that night.

One of their primary destinations: a cinder block planter in the breezeway greeting guests as they arrived. Each succulent was planted in a desert mix inside of a thin weedmat, which was cradled in a chickenwire basket lodged inside of the cinder block.

We did not foresee the need for a dedicated rock garden in our xeriscaped yard, but you can't deny the vision when it makes itself known. A couple dozen succulents were given to the venture, assembled by Kindra, Taylor, and Zane, among other red thumbs.

Many of the succulents joined driftwood, seaglass, and any vessel we could find to form our centerpieces. It was Clementine's concept from the earliest days. Assembled with care by an army of friends, led by Erica and Graham.

It should be apparent at this point why we needed 400 succulents. Joined by Utahan wildflowers and grasses picked by Kendall, the succulents formed the basis of all nine of the wedding bouquets, crafted with love by Beppe and Sinouen.

The Masterpiece. The bridal bouquet built from a lifetime of wisdom and days of care, by the incomparable Beppe. Succulents, strings of pearls, wildflowers, wild grasses, juliet roses, and all of the silvery greens in the desert.

The master herself, giving the most dazzling gift we have ever received, a transformation of a year of our life's work.