Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Succulent Bed

Some things look better viewed in close-up rather than from a distance.  This can definitely be said of my new succulent bed.  Although I bought what I thought were scads of succulents on a shopping trip with a friend last week, the space overwhelmed them and they look, well, puny in situ.



This space runs along the street on the southeast side of our property.  Those spindly shrubs you may be able to make out in the photo above are Pittosporum rhombifolium (I think).  They were in horrible shape when we moved in 3 years ago.  After years of being sheared from the top and sides, they were a thicket of dead wood with chlorotic leaves.  I cut one back last year and, when it responded by putting out healthy new growth, I cut them all back hard in January of this year.  Two were beyond saving and were removed.  The remainder have been slow to fill in.  I may eventually pull more - or possibly all - of them out as they don't match the Xylosma hedge that surrounds the rest of the property but, at present, I'm trying to work with what remains.  I cleared the weeds and thinned out the small-flowered ice plant at the base of the shrubs, leaving a lot of bare soil exposed.  As this is a relatively dry, sunny area, I thought planting it with succulents would be a good idea, especially given our worsening drought conditions.  (My wonderful husband is helping out by installing a new drip irrigation system here so we can eliminate all risk of sprinkler runoff.

I finished planting my newly purchased succulents on Sunday but there's still a lot of bare soil.

3 Agave 'Blue Glow,' Calandrinia spectabilis (aka Cistanthe grandiflora), Portulacaria afra and miscellaneous small succulent cuttings are planted here with 3 struggling Chondropetalum tectorum (aka Cape Rush)

Agave Impressa is surrounded by Dudleya (noID) and Senecio cuttings here

Agave desmettiana provides the centerpiece among Aeonium 'Kiwi,' Aeonium 'Sunburst,' Aeonium nobile, cuttings of the noID Aeonium given to me by a friend, and more Portulacaria afra

Agave 'Blue Flame' is surrounded by Aloe (noID), Sanseveriera (noID), Graptopetalum paraguayense, my noID Aeonium, and another noID succulent



While the slow-growing succulents will get larger over time, I think I need more to fill in some of the emptier spots.  Before I undertake another shopping expedition, however, I'm going to see what I can do with succulent cuttings from elsewhere in my garden.


12 comments:

  1. Taking cuttings from elsewhere is a good idea. They do tend to fill in over time, and they root so easily. I am familiar with the problem of thinking you have plenty to fill up your space, and then realizing there is still too much bare soil.

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    1. They do root easily. I have gobs of green Aeonium but they enter a semi-dormant state this time of year so they don't look their best but I may add some of those anyway.

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  2. It already looks great and will look even better when its filled in. Those succulents grow faster than you'd expect so it will probably be sooner than later. Nice planting.

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    1. I hope they do grow and spread quickly, Deanne. Those that get the most water in my garden seem to grow the fastest. This bed is going on a drip system so I'll be playing it by ear for awhile before I get the irrigation level right.

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  3. The start of something glorious Kris! It actually looks good already, with the stone walls, layout, and new plantings. And it will just get even better and better in time!

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    1. Thanks! That wood retaining wall at the back of the bed bothers me a bit but I think maybe I'll plant hanging succulents along the upper level to cover it up.

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  4. It is frustrating when we spend a pile of money and buy loads of plants only to have them look so sparse. But I think it looks great and instead of having too many plants you don't have room for, your plants will have room to grow and develop as they should without being crowded. I wish I could grow some of these plants here!

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  5. I think it looks fabulous and in your climate I bet it's a desert jungle in no time! If your wanting more cuttings and such do you ever look at Craigslist? I know people in the Bay Area who have planted entire gardens with free succulents found there.

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    1. I'll have to look into that, Loree. You've reminded me that a neighbor behind our old house used to put up his succulent cuttings for sale once a year.

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  6. I think succulents are a great idea for this space. They will soon fill out. It is amazing how quickly they grow. They are so easy to propagate too.
    I have to keep mine in pots, I wish I could have a bed planted with them.

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  7. Show us how they develop, please. Best wishes for your succulents :)

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