I haven't been happy with the succulent bed I created in front of our garage since I finished it in March 2016. After removing all the lawn in that area, we laid a flagstone walk; my husband created a trash path using railroad ties and gravel; and I planted the largest beds with shrubs and perennials, using succulents to fill the remaining bed on the north side of the trash path. But, as I'd spend most of my budget on shrubs and perennials, I made do with inexpensive (small) plants and cuttings from friends and my own garden to fill the new succulent bed, throwing in some grasses, lavender and bearded Iris in a vain attempt to fill the space. (You can view the original planting plan here
I decided to renovate the succulent bed several months ago but waited until temperatures began to cool to tackle the project. I got started in mid-September. Did I take a before shot? Of course not, although I assumed that I'd find one among the wide shots I routinely take of the garden. However, the most recent photo featuring this bed I located dated back to early May, which probably speaks to my tendency to ignore the bed once I'd decided to renovate it.
|Photo of the bed taken May 5th looking east|
My first task was to open the space up to give me more of a clean slate to work with. I left the large Agave attenuata
inherited with the garden in place, as well as many of the succulents edging the path but tossed most of the perennials and many of the smaller succulents that had been slow to bulk up. The larger succulents I wanted to keep were placed in pots until I could decide how to use them in the renovated bed. I also appropriated plants from pots and other areas of the garden. And I went shopping.
|Some of the potted succulents I dug up are shown on the left. The plants on the right are succulents I picked up on various nursery expeditions.|
Then I hauled in topsoil and dug in cactus mix to create berms and improve drainage.
|3 cubic yards of topsoil was more than I needed for this job and a couple of smaller ones. I'm still trying to find places for the one cubic yard remaining.|
|This is the area after I finished spreading the topsoil and digging in the cactus mix. It still looks rather flat in this photo but I estimate that I raised the soil level nearly a foot at its highest point.|
Next, I enlisted my husband's help to pick up another load of rock to shore up my berms.
|Most of the 860 lbs of rock we brought home in my husband's pick-up truck went here. It wasn't quite enough. Somehow, it never is.|
Once I'd replanted the area, I struggled with whether or not to add gravel around the plants. While gravel adds a finished look as the plants fill out, it also makes it more difficult to make changes to the bed as the gravel works its way into the soil. I elected to fill in with ground cover succulents, mainly Sedum makoni 'Ogon'
, even though those too will need time to fill out. I still need to add more ground cover material but the area in front of the Arbutus 'Marina'
and the Agave attenuata
is mostly done. Here are views of the newly planted area from different angles:
|View of the replanted area looking east, toward the garage|
|View looking north toward the fence separating our property from that of our neighbor. That compost tumbler alongside the fence came with the property.|
|View looking west toward the street|
If I enumerated the plant species, the list would be very long but here are some of the larger specimens:
|Top row: Agave attenuata (came with the garden), Agave 'Blue Flame (bordered by Echeveria 'Blue Atoll'), and Agave geminiflora|
Middle row: Agave 'Jaws' (a pup moved from elsewhere), Aloe plicatilis (a gift from a friend), and Aloe 'Rooikappie'
Bottom row: Aloe ciliaris hybrid, Leucadendron 'Summer Red' (the only new shrub), and Sansevieria trifasciata 'Hahnii'
In addition to filling in between plants with more ground cover plugs, I'm planning to lay another flagstone path behind the Arbutus
leading to the shrubs in the corner so these can be reached for trimming without treading on my succulents. On either side of that path, I plan to add more succulents, bromeliads and grasses. Some of these are already in place but those displays aren't ready for prime time yet and it'll be awhile before I'll ask my husband to make yet another trip to the rock yard to get more flagstone.
Next up is bulb planting. What about you? Do you have any fall projects in the works?
All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party