I seem to renovate the succulent bed in front of the garage all too often. When we moved in 10 years ago, the area had a well-established clump of Agave attenuata, a lovely Arbutus 'Marina', grass and weeds.
|This clump has been the source for all the Agave attenuata in my garden save one|
We removed the lawn early on and I planted a host of other succulents, mostly small specimens. I've tweaked and renovated the area before but it has never really pleased me. Although I supplemented and raised the soil level, it's still not the best medium to grow succulents, or anything else. It's also a very dry area, even though it receives some irrigation but I've probably been less attentive to my new plants there than I should've been.
|This is my "before" shot|
I tackled the three things that bothered me most last week. They were the Furcraea foetida 'Mediopicta' I'd selected in 2019 to provide a focal point and two Crassulas I'd used extensively as fillers.
|This is the sad Furcraea before I dug it up|
|Both problem Crassulas can be seen here. The sickly-looking yellow plants in front are Crassula lycopodioides and the spindly plants behind them are Crassula tetragona.|
These are all nice plants - in other settings. I grew a variegated Furcraea in a partially shaded area of my back garden years ago and it did well until I decided it was clearly too large for its spot and had to move. It didn't take the move well and quickly died. I think the spot in the garage front succulent bed was both too sunny and too dry for this one. The same probably could be said for Crassula lycopodioides. The Crassula tetragona (aka pine tree succulent) simply got too tall and lanky and ended up looking out of proportion with the surrounding plants.
|Crassula lycopodioides is much happier here in a shadier area of my garden, mixed in with two species of Aeoniums|
I potted a Furcraea offset, which may or may not survive. I pulled out all of the Crassula lycopodioides and I took a mass of cuttings of the Crassula tetragona, which I've yet to decide what to do with. On my first pass, I filled in some of the vacancies with a potted plant and cuttings from elsewhere in the garden.
|The Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' (top) was in a pot and it's still very small but, if I'm lucky, it'll grow to become a wonderful focal point. Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' (bottom left) has done well everywhere I've planted it so I'm trying it out to replace Crassula lycopodioides as a filler. I added a handful of my other standby, Aeonium arboreum (bottom right), in a shadier spot.|
|This was the bed after those changes, not looking all that different. I stared at it off and on for quite awhile before I figured out what was bothering me.|
I had a stockpile of plants in pots and tiny plants obtained by mail order to add to the area but I had a hard time deciding how to proceed. I finally realized that I needed to pull the under-performing Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi' ('Kiwi Verde's' flashier cousin), which I'd used throughout the bed as another filler. I've previously described this plant as my "gateway" succulent. It was the first succulent I ever grew and it was one of the few plants I brought with me from my former garden. Aeonium 'Kiwi' and Aeonium arborescens are my go-to plants to fill bare spots. I've used 'Kiwi' extensively to line the edge of beds and, up to this point, I've always been pleased with it.
|These photos show two of the areas in which I've used 'Kiwi'|
Well, 'Kiwi' didn't come through for me in this spot on the north west side of the house so I yanked the bulk of it.
|This photo shows the bed after I'd removed most of the Aeonium 'Kiwi'. A few pots were laid out as I considered possible placements.|
With that change, I felt free to move other plants within this bed and transplant other things I had in the wings in pots and elsewhere in the garden.
|Top: Agave 'Cornelius', which mimics the color of Agave 'Stained Glass', and a pup of Agave 'Jaws'|
Middle: Three Aloes, none of which I can identify.
Bottom: Aeonium nobile (the green one rescued from between 2 large Agaves) and Echeveria agavoides
With rain in the forecast, I also decided to get my tiny new mail-order purchases planted and even sow some seeds.
|Top: Crassula ovata 'Money Maker' (3), Echeveria amoena (3), and Echeveria rusbyi (3)|
Middle: Graptopetalum paraguayense (3), Graptosedum 'Vera Higgins' (5), and Mangave 'Barney' (1)
Bottom: Sedeveria 'Blue Elf' (5), Senecio cephalophorus (1), and Senecio kleiniformis (3)
|I also sowed seeds of Calendula 'Bronze Beauty' in the space between the rocks and the pathway, which may have been a mistake as the soil really isn't good but we'll see |
I still have loads of cuttings but I'll wait out the three rainstorms reportedly in the offing before I make decisions about which, if any, should be planted in this area. Worst case, I'll offer another succulent cutting giveaway to neighbors.
Here are the photos of the bed in its current state I forgot to include when I published the post last night:
|Further changes are likely!|
Best wishes for a pleasant weekend.
All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party