About Drought Smart Plants...

...and me; My Life in a Nutshell...

Jacki, in the rustic archway

I've always been a gardener, it just took me a long time to figure out the rest of the equation - growing plants for other gardeners to enjoy!

I was born in England, and for those that don't know, the British as a nation are intrepid plantsmen (and women).

My parents and their parents were enthusiastic gardeners, making new gardens and improving the ones they had every year.

We moved around a lot from the time I was little, and each time we got settled in each new house, my Dad built at the very least, a potato patch, a spot for some raspberries, and oh, yes, Dahlias; and don't forget the compost bin - everyone in England has one of those.

Ahead by a Century

The obsession with building garden art from twigs isn't new - look at the vine trellis in this picture of my grandparents, William Herbert Cammidge and Annie Elizabeth.

I was so surprised when I saw the twig arbor.  I know that carpentry skills are in my blood, but seeing the handcrafted trellis made me realize that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

My Grandparents, William and Annie Cammidge


We made the biggest move of all in 1968, when we emigrated to Canada.

What a huge adventure; thinking back, what brave and intrepid people my parents were. Visiting my grandparents before we left was heart wrenching, and that was the last time we saw them.

After we arrived, the first thing my Dad did was - you guessed it - build a garden.

My two brothers, my sister and myself were always included in the planting and harvesting vegetables, as well as designing flower beds and planting and caring for those as well.

In my older brother's case, his favorite thing was to start up the horrible noisy old roter tiller, and build from scratch, while the rest of us followed along behind and planted.

the path less traveled

Transplanted Again...

Later, after my two daughters were born, I had the chance to move to a farmstead in Aldergrove, British Columbia. I leapt at the opportunity - I had always wanted to live on a farm.

The property was rented, but that didn't stop me - I had the bug! The old lilac trees and spindly bushes were identified, pruned, and fertilized; a compost bin was built.

I planted many apple trees in a little orchard, oak trees along the driveway, and coddled the old trees that were there until they flourished and bloomed.

Branching Out...

Gravel Walkway to my future

Then the day came when I saw an ad in the paper for a course on Ornamental Horticulture at the Fraser Valley College Chilliwack Campus.

Want to find out exactly what the course was all about?  See the calendar here.

I was hooked from that moment on. I took the one year (very intensive) course, and due to my fanatical interest in the subject matter, I passed with flying colours and received my diploma.

Now that I can call myself a Certified Horticulturist I've never looked back - I found my true calling.

Spending several years in the wilds of the Chilcotin plateau was an eye opening experience - cold climate gardening is a whole different kettle of fish, especially in an arid area.

As if that wasn't far enough out there, I spent two years in Peace Country around Dawson Creek, gardening in the cold clay, in those endless summer nights. 

There is no comparison to the potatoes, cabbages and broccoli you can grow in raised beds with some protection from the frost that can hit at any time, and the hungry deer.

Finally; Roots...

After working for several nurseries and gaining valuable experience, I've put down roots in my little nursery called Blue Fox Farm in Grand Forks, B.C., eventually narrowing the focus to Drought Smart Plants. It's had a few wobbles, but now it has taken on a life of its own.

On this website I use my skills as a Certified Horticulturist to write about the group of plants known as hardy succulents (as well as the tender ones) and how to plant them in gardens, planters and crafts. 

If you're finding climate change a challenge, I encourage you to garden with these great drought tolerant plants. 

It is possible to have a gorgeous lush garden, even without water.

I wasn't sure people would want to plant gardens simply for pleasure in times of economic uncertainty and climate change...

the Greenhouse in 2005 - busy place.

I'm happy to say I was wrong!

I get many requests for information about the tender succulent plants I grow although I no longer sell them, and inquiries relating to the Sedum, Sempervivum, and huge interest in the other fascinating plants in my nursery and garden. 

After several years of building up the nursery into a thriving online plant business, it's been given a new home with new owners who can take it to the next level. 

I'll still grow the plants, but I plan on using them for my crafts.

In my free time, between 3 and 4 in the morning, I write e-books on various gardening topics.

You might be interested in learning right from the propagator, as I'm a Certified Horticulturist (did I mention that?) and I've made every mistake possible on my long and winding journey.

It makes me so excited to turn other gardeners, knowledgeable or novice, on to using all these gorgeous drought loving and smart plants in their gardens.

I have renewed hope that we can all do one (or several) small things to help heal our planet, and I want to help others do their part.

Want more background?  Check out my Curriculum vitae and find out about my life's work.

Are you interested in learning more about how I built this website (and my three others)? Click on the tortoise and go to My SBI! Story:

Tortoise it!

If I had a mission statement, this is where I would tell you about it. I don't have a mission statement, but I do have a philosophy which is pretty close.

A Healthy Person Has a Hundred Wishes, a Sick Person Only One

Update; since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010 it's been an uphill battle with the various interesting symptoms.

In February of 2015 I was told by my neurologist that it's only a matter of time before I become completely disabled. I fired him. I now rely on the skills of a naturopathic doctor instead.

I hope I can continue to write about my passion for xeriscaping and growing succulents, even if it's too difficult for me to actually partake in the exciting growth of this type of gardening. 

Please be patient with me as I keep slugging, and have a look at My New Normal.

Update on my health issues; the fact of having autoimmunity (in several different forms) has been interesting and I think I'm winning!  In addition to having MS, I also have Hashimotos Thyroiditis. 

The doctors tell me, oh by the way, you have this autoimmune condition - you'll be on a synthetic hormone for the rest of your life. 

What they don't tell you is that diet is everything.

So what else have I been up to? 

I've put together an intensive e-course on Starting Your Own Succulent Plant Business, which includes coaching for you to get on the right track and you get all of my e-books and e-courses.  This is now available as the Succulent Business e-Book.

There's more here about my training and the development of my skills and knowledge on my Curriculum vitae.

In 2018, I'll be accepting guest articles - if you ever wanted to write gardening articles, here's your chance. Contact me and let's collaborate! More here on guest posting.

Please note; I write all the content on this site and three others, and take most of the photographs, and edit them for viewing on the web. 

I don't have a team of journalists or editors, or any other help except for a Virtual Assistant who creates and publishes images on Pinterest.

Now you know all about me, let me get to know you.  Fill in the survey below;

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Your questions about plants can be asked here, or if you need one identified.