Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Street-side Succulent Bed

A couple of weeks ago, I provided an update on my friend Lynda's succulent garden.  Well, Lynda didn't go shopping alone.  I, too, have been adding to my collection of succulent plants.  While some of my purchases have gone into our dry garden, the bulk have been added to the street-side succulent border I first show-cased in July.  It's still a work-in-progress, and probably will be for years to come, but it has filled in somewhat since I shared my first photos of the area so I thought I'd provide an update.

Wide shot taken from across the street

Side view of the border looking south



I've added some larger plants, mostly various types of Agave, but I've filled in with smaller succulents, including cuttings, so the border still looks sparser than I'd like.  It's easier to view in segments.

The most prominent specimens in this northern-most section are Agave 'Blue Flame,' Agave 'Blue Glow' (still relatively small), Calandrinia (Cistanthe) grandiflora (no longer in bloom), and a Chondropetalum tectorum that probably doesn't get the moisture it needs in this setting

Close-up of one Agave 'Blue Glow'

The next section is dominated by an Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' but there's also a Dyckia, Senecio cuttings, and a variety of Graptoveria and Graptosedum

Close-up of Graptosedum 'California Sunset' (left) and Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' (right)

The centerpiece of this section is Agave Impressa, which is surrounded by Dudleya and more Graptoveria

Close-up of Agave Impressa, which got a bit of sunburn during the height of summer

I'm happiest with this section, which contains, among other things, another Agave desmettiana 'Variegata,' 2 varieties of Kalanchoe, Euphorbia tiriucalli, and various types of Aeonium

The same section, viewed from the side

Close-up of Kalanchoe marmorata

Close-up of Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

This last section contains a variety of Aloes, another Agave 'Blue Flame,' Senecio amaniensis, 3 unidentified Sansevieria, and Graptopetalum 
Close-up of Senecio amaniensis with a couple of bloom spikes
Close-up of an Agave pup given me by Lynda - she thinks it's A. pygmae



A few things are bugging me about this border.  First, the plants are more of a hodge-podge than I'd like but that's what comes of trying to make do with cuttings on hand.  Succulents, even small ones, can be pricey.  Second, I haven't managed to hide the drip irrigation lines.  I'm trying to decide whether to cover them with cactus mix, add more groundcover materials or stone, or simply wait for the plants to get larger.  Third, the Pittosporum hedge with which the succulents share space presents a problem.  The hedge material was in horrible shape when we moved in and, after experimenting with cutting back a couple of the shrubs last year, I hacked them all back severely in January.  They've yet to recover and I'm toying with the idea of removing all or part of them.  But that's a big job so I'm going to wait and see if our rainy season gives them a boost.  The shrubs, which I think are Pittosporum rhombifolia (now classified as Auranticarpa rhombifolia), also tend to become chlorotic if not regularly treated.  On the other hand, no hedge or a see-through hedge exposes the area beyond to view from the street and I'm not sure I like that.  I've dabbled with that area now and then but it hasn't received a lot of attention and it's something of a mess.  However, I've slowly been adding succulents there too, so it may eventually become a logical extension of the street-side border.

View of area behind the street-side succulent border

I've added cuttings of Aeoniums (in plentiful supply), Crassula 'Campfire,' and Senecio here

Close-up of Crassula 'Campfire'


It's coming together, albeit more slowly than I'd like.  Patience isn't one of my virtues.


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

25 comments:

  1. It's coming together! I can empathize with you about the number of plants needed to fill-in/achieve the vision. I often buy plants as needed for mature spacing (sometimes I believe that they will get there within a single season)--but then I suffer while I wait for them to attain size. Sometimes adding a "filler" works, but most often I just hunker down and wait. I really like your aeonium hillside.

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    1. Whenever I have a problem with an area, those Aeonium cuttings go in. They've survived everywhere, although they really like that sloped area best. I think it's because it gets plenty of shade - the Aeoniums planted there don't go dormant and curl up during the hot months the way those in the sunnier areas do.

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  2. Well, I think it looks pretty fabulous already, but then that might be because I'm just so amazed at the succulents that you can grow in the ground there. I can picture it being a wonderful full tapestry in just a couple of years. I can understand your frustration too, I have a few areas that are a hodge-podge.

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    1. If only I had gobs of money to buy big specimens instead of making do with cuttings...

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  3. Indeed Kris it's looking wonderful and I rather like the hodge-podge approach.

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    1. I guess I've been looking at too many of David Feix's succulent installations on-line. It would be so nice if I could create artistic arrangements of succulents like he does.

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  4. Pretty! I share the frustration of plants just not growing as fast as you want them to, but several of yours should get bigger in their second season, no? Or you could try adding some fast growing annuals - I'm going to try poppies on my sparse hill side for the spring! But your border already looks great, and the little agave pup is especially cute!

    P.s. I do so hope we'll still get a rainy season... Including up here in the desert...

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    1. Yes, fingers are crossed for more rain!!! Now that you mention it, Renee, the bed had some California poppies last year - perhaps they'll reappear but maybe I'll just pick up some more seed packets.

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  5. You've chosen some fine plants and they should fill in the space nicely in no time at all!

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    1. I hope so! Of course, I'm likely to continue tucking in small succulents here and there too.

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  6. It's looking good and they should fill in quickly by spring which will be less than a year since you began planting them. Pittosporum must grow to massive sizes in your climate. In your other post you mentioned Xylosma which seems more manageable over the long run.

    Patience is sometimes the hardest part of gardening.

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    1. I don't know what the prior owners were thinking when they planted that front hedge, Shirley. The section on the left side of the driveway and about half the longer section on the right side is made up of Xylosma. A neighbor who's lived here 10 years longer than we have said that the right side was originally all Pittosporum/Auranticarpa but then it started dying so they replaced half with Xylosma. I considered replacing it with Xylosma but then I got caught up playing with succulents and now don't want to give up the space to the thicker Xylosma. The Auranticarpa can be limbed up like a tree, at least in theory.

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  7. Oh that crassula "campfire". What a beauty. I'm quite smitten!

    I share your impatience and hope you'll take from all the comments here today that your beds are more filled than empty, and that eyes other than those belonging to "the gardener responsible for" are seeing the abundance that exists, rather than gaps to be filled. (If you do decide to put anything on as a "dressing" may I suggest rocks? Several sizes perhaps including some striking large ones will address your negative spaces in ways that can be easily altered or rearranged as things grow in more. At least that is what I imagine I would do if I could grow a section of succulents without interference from deer or freezes.

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    1. Yes, I plan to check out the rocks when we look at paving stonel for the former front lawn area. We've been digging loads of gravel out of the former lawn area - this neighborhood was the site of a rock quarry in the 1940s - and I thought of using that as a top dressing but that would mean digging out the gravel every time I make a change to the bed. Too bad the quarry didn't leave any big chunks of rock behind!

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  8. I'm having the same problem--10 agaves at $20 a pop--it gets too expensive really fast. I do think the plants are best planted small though--they are better when they have a chance to grow in the same spot for a long time. Your area is coming along and growing well, so it will look filled in sooner than you think.

    I know what you mean about David Feix gardens--aren't they amazing?

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    1. I keep thinking I need to start my own succulent nursery - not to sell, just to have a supply of good-sized specimens on hand for my own use. Too bad some, like those Agave 'Blue Glow,' take so long to reach a decent size.

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  9. Patience? I read once that a gardener needs either lots of patience or lots of money! Kris, your entire garden is a botanical wonder, and your succulent border is lovely, even if it is not yet complete. (Is a garden ever complete?) I especial love the Kalanchoes.The only thing missing is a sidewalk so that passers-by could leisurely stroll along taking it all in!

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  10. Interesting that you mention the lack of sidewalks. This is the first place I've lived with no sidewalks, Deb, but the neighborhood, which is really a big circle of almost 60 homes off the main thoroughfare, gets more walkers than any other neighborhood I've lived in. People treat the street as their sidewalk and drivers learn to proceed slowly.

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  11. It is always frustrating when you have to wait for plants to grow; but usually (here at least) they do grow better if put in small, and often they'll catch up with larger planted specimens that take time to establish. You are re-planting many different areas which is costly but it will all be worth it in the end, I love it already.

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    1. I prefer to put them in small too for the very reasons you describe. Some of the succulents can be slow growers, though.

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  12. You have so many amazing plants in your garden !!
    Your pumpkins were upheld by the animals!
    My rooster is called 'Stone' but he is a real rooster.
    Not so common name for a rooster.
    best regards
    Mariana

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  13. Patience is not one of my virtues, either. I did the same thing when trying to fill out a spot here (cuttings), and this past weekend just pulled out everything that has been filling the space temporarily. They served their purpose and now that I'm more sure of what I want there I can do it. I'm sure your beds will fill out in no time and you'll be glad you didn't overcrowd it to begin with. Besides, they look great, and I can't wait to see them in a year's time!

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    1. I hope you're right, Amy. Some of those succulents can be slow growers.

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  14. I really like your roadside stone wall and your succulent garden. It looks like you've made a lot of progress!

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