Saturday, October 25, 2014

Revisiting Lynda's Succulent Garden

In late July, I published a post on the succulent beds my friend Lynda created at the front of her house.  Lynda, an artist, strives for perfection when she creates something so it's to be expected that she'd fiddle with her garden beds, seeking to match the image in her head with the one before her eyes.   Earlier this month, the two of us took yet another succulent shopping trip and Lynda went back to work on her beds.


Again, only half of the contents of this trunk are mine!



Inspired by the following video, Lynda removed the rest of the shrubs from her front beds, packed her succulents more densely, and used rocks and other tools to create height variations.  Her most novel approach was to place groups of succulents within frames created by the tops of large bottomless black plastic pots, hiding the raised hedges with rocks.

 



Lynda's revamped beds look great.  Here are the beds to the right of her driveway:


Lynda added drought tolerant Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' here and there (as shown in the upper right) for a touch of softness


Both Lynda and I coveted the Opuntia violacea 'Santa Rita' (shown here at the center of the photo) but only Lynda was brave enough to handle it (although, despite precautions, she did pay the price)



And here are the beds to the left of the driveway:

Lynda used black Mexican beach pebbles to give herself a path for use in maintaining the bed

We both bought a large Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' (shown here in the foreground) on our last nursery run - like mine, Lynda's came with lots of pups





You'll note that there's still room for a few more additions.  I expect we'll make another trip in search of succulents before the year is out.  Inspired by Lynda's efforts, I've been working on my own street-side succulent border.  I'll provide a post on that work-in-progress soon.

*Note: All but the first photo are Lynda's own.


All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh--that video! Did you see her dismember those pants?! Any just poke them into the ground?! I want that! And, of course, I really like the "undersea garden" look she achieved.

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    1. Eubanks was more brutal than I could be in dismembering the succulents for her pocket garden, Emily, but I've been known to snip off cuttings and push them into the ground too. The usual guidance is to allow the cut edge to callus first but I usually skip that step as well. We have the perfect climate for succulents.

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  2. Go Lynda, it all looks great! Oh to be able to grow those plants in the ground...

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  3. I love the composition of her bed, beautiful combinations!

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  4. As you have already noted I am becoming more interested in succulents. The vast majority that you grow won't be hardy in my garden but I do like the variations in form and colour when they are planted together, I don't think they mix well with other plants. I also prefer to see them surrounded by gravel or stone rather than earth, it seems more natural somehow, what are your feelings about that?

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    1. Garden designers here often mix succulents with other highly drought tolerant plants like Leucadendron, Christina, but I don't expect you have many plants in that category that will work in your garden. I like the look of gravel but I'm wary of the upkeep - unless you use weed-cloth below the gravel, which poses its own problems, the gravel tends to penetrate the soil, making changes to the bed or border more difficult. I prefer the use of larger rocks, such as those Lynda used, although I've been adding smaller (palm-sized) chunks of rock dug from my garden (which was a rock quarry in the 1940s) to my succulent border.

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  5. Well I suppose we all covet something gardeners in other zones are able to grow easily, but the limit on my growing succulents is how delicious they apparently are for every critter roaming my neighborhood. Deer eat them to the ground in unprotected areas, and squirrels and birds alike chomp on them behind fences during the hot months. I mostly have to keep mine in dish gardens or planters even though I'd thrill to fill a bed with them. Swoon!

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    1. We're lucky not to have any deer to deal with, Deb, but I was surprised to hear that squirrels and birds eat succulents in your area. However, I've seen evidence that the critters here (squirrels, skunks, raccoons and coyotes) are getting more desperate, presumably as another side-effect to our ongoing drought, so I guess that problem could face us in the future as well. Yikes!

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  6. That car was loaded with many plants!!!

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    1. Yes it was, Mariana! If we had bought any more, I would have had to put some in my lap.

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  7. What a cool garden Lynda's is! Makes me wonder if I should try summering some of my succulents in the ground instead of in pots, to see if I can bulk them up. I'm particularly enamored of those large clumps of Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'.

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    1. The 'Sticks on Fire' need to be stressed to develop that bold color they're famous for, Alison. You might have to put an umbrella over it to prevent it from getting rained on.

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  8. Lovely! I am so envious I would love to be able to create that sort of a garden here. I think the succulents look wonderful with stones.

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    1. Yes, I'm envious of Lynda's rocks and think I may have to invest in some myself as the ones I pull from my rocky soil are too puny to have impact.

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  9. Wow! You guys certainly know how to shop! The planting is like a canvas although I'm sure different in that it was completed very quickly. It will be interesting to see how the plants grow in as many of them become very large when planted in good conditions. My A desmettiana v are enormous even in pots. Also the sticks of fire when replanted in some decent soil this spring is now a monster. I think she will be sending pups and cuttings your way.

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    1. It takes a hour or so (less if Lynda is driving, more if I am) to get to our favorite discount succulent garden center in Orange County so, when we make the trip, we come with lists! The A. desmettiana was on "special" at the time of our last trip so we each brought home a 3-gallon container with loads of pups. If they get as big as yours, I may be offering pups to all my neighbors...

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  10. I have been catching up on your last few posts. You have been nursery hopping! How much fun to share your passion with a friend. Lynda has a wonderful collection of succulents. (And your own garden is just as fabulous!) However, Opuntia violacea 'Santa Rita' does look vicious. Violacea, I believe, has the same root word as violent!

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    1. I warned Lynda of the glochids on the Opuntia. She took significant precautions (3 layers of gloves, arms wrapped in newspaper with duct tape) and STILL ended up with stickers under her skin. I've decided to appreciate her plant and to forego adopting one of my own.

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  11. Succulents need extra care here because most aren't winter hardy. But I love how cool they are. I've read that the only upside to the drought is that millions of people are ripping out their lawns and adding native plants or succulents. I love how many plants are stuffed into the car!

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    1. Pretty much every day now, the newspaper has an article on the ramifications of the drought so the word is slowly getting through. There has definitely been a shift in attitude about gardens here but there are still people who water their lawns several times a week and don't cover their pools. The process of removing lawn admittedly isn't easy - my husband and I've spent more than a month digging up the soil to prepare it for planting and we're no where near done.

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  12. Santa Rita is such a goooorgeous opuntia. The new beds look great. I would love to see a follow up once everything's grown a bit!

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    1. I'll post an update once things have settled but, knowing Lynda, she's likely to make more changes along the way.

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  13. I do like what Lynda has managed to achieve. Like many above these beauties would not survive here. I do my best with a few in containers and do add small pebbles and stones to achieve the look, only on a smaller scale.
    Reading on my phone therefore can't view the video. Looking forward to seeing what you do with your little plot Kris.

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    1. Lynda put a lot of hard work into her beds. I'm afraid mine are more pedestrian in appearance. I hope to get one more plant in, picked up at the botanic garden's fall sale this past weekend, and then plan to take updated pictures to post later this week.

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