My first attempt at succulents

My first attempt at succulents

By Nancy LeRoy, Guest Blogger

October 1, 2009. Today I designed a small succulent garden, planting buckets of different varieties that I had clipped and pruned my first day as a member of the grounds crew under the direction of Christina.

Christina has a degree in horticulture and another in landscaping as well as an arts degree from the Chicago Art Institute. Below is one of her succulent creations, which stands outside the Esalen office.IMG_0726

This weekend, which began Friday is Esalen’s “Donor Weekend,” where guests pay $1500 to meet and have discussions with Robert Reich (“When Will the Economy Recover?”), Isabel Allende and Michael Krasny (“Literature and Transformation”), Isabel Allende and Akuyoe Graham, (“Voices of Change,” performance and reading), and various panel discussions with Reich, Allende, Bob Herbert (NYTimes columnist), Nina Simons (environmental activist), Michael Murphey (founder of Esalen) and others. Discussion topics include “Smart Education Systems for the 21st Century,” “Youth & Women: Reinventing Leadership  from the Inside Out,” “Revisioning Media,” and “The Art of Mobilizing People for Positive Change.” The weekend begins with a cocktail reception Friday evening and ending with brunch on Sunday. As an Esalen “staff fill-in” I’m able to attend the reception and all of the discussions. So it’s a busy weekend.

After finishing up yesterday’s blog, I went down to the baths and lay in the sun on a massage table next to the edge of the patio overlooking the ocean.IMG_0729 After a bit, I filled one of the individual white enamel tubs that line the back wall and stretched out in the hot mineral water. The tubs are long and have a slanted back, so I can lie back, into the water neck deep, my toes touching the tub’s far end. I watch the ocean swirling around through the wrought iron fence that edges the patio around the rocky tubs a few feet away.

Friday the grounds crew is working like crazy to make the property look as good as it can, weeding, sweeping, planting, and washing windows. I’ve finished the small succulent garden I worked on yesterday and will probably help arranging flowers for the guest quarters and meeting rooms.

One of the 80 small flower arrangements I put together for the tables in the lodge and solarium.

One of the 80 small flower arrangements I put together for the tables in the lodge and solarium.