Thursday, December 6, 2012

Succulent garden discovery

On Saturday I was driving around town photographing ginkgos for this post. Kitty-corner from three blazing ginkgos I spotted a strip of succulents planted outside a low picket fence.

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Of course I had to check it out.

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This planting is dominated by several variegated Agave americana, offsetting freely.

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There are also specimens of the regular blue Agave americana. They, too, are sending up pups. (If I were the homeowner, I’d remove most of these offsets, otherwise they’ll end up with an impenetrable agave jungle.)

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While the agaves were the first plants I noticed, there is much more variety here than initially meets the eye. In the photos above, you’ll see a yucca or two in the background. And then there are the cacti. Not only this metal prickly pear (I want one!)…

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…but also real ones (Opuntia macrocentra in the photo below).

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And other cacti to boot.

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Finally, I spotted several aloes and a stunning gasteria specimen (top right).

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In the last photo you can see that this planting strip has a definite slope, which helps with drainage. I also quite like the rocks placed here and there.

I don’t know what was planted here before, but it’s very encouraging to see another homeowner switching to succulents as part of a water-wise landscaping theme—so important in California where there is a constant shortage of water.

14 comments:

  1. Not only are they water wise plants, they are gorgeous too. It's always encouraging to see other homeowners in ones area that care about their front gardens, even more so if they ave chosen nice and rather niche plants too. Perhaps another fellow succulent enthusiast behind their front door? :)

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    1. I'm beginng to see succulents being used more and more in residential landscaping. Maybe we're on the verge of a golden age of succulents?

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  2. This succulent bed has been here for many years, but this year the homeowner renovated the section of the bed closest to the garage. I was driving by this summer and saw that the bed was being ripped up by two men, and stopped and asked if they were removing the plants (hoping to score some freebies). Turned out to be the homeowner and his landscape contractor, and they laughed, because the idea was to make room for even more cactus. The landscape contractor introduced himself, as Dave Walker, he is the founder of the community gardens on 5th street. The homeowner (sorry can't remember his name) is definitely a succulent enthusiast! Sue

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    1. Sue, thank you for the background info. I bet the owners of this particular house will have lots of agave pups soon, at the rate their plants are going :-).

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  3. I bet if you go back in 5 years it will be nothing but a swarm of Agave americana!

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    1. I agree! As much as I love agaves, I'm leery of Agave americana, especially the species and the 'Marginata' form. They are aggressive--and they get huge!

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  4. At first I thought the metal Opuntia was some crazy dark purple variety and I was all excited thinking I MUST HAVE ONE. Funny.

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    1. I had the same reaction! When I saw it from 20 ft away, I was totally excited, thinking it was some new opuntia cultivar, LOL.

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  5. Impenetrable agave jungle - sigh - sounds like a dream to me. We grow them in pots that we haul inside in the winter. I'm trying a few outside this season with protection from the rain.

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  6. Cool metal opuntia, I also thought it was the real deal. ! Nice plant spying!

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  7. Did you knock on the door! You need to do that! Sounds and looks like kindred spirits!

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  8. Totally agree with you about A. americana--too vigorous unless you want an impenetrable, ever-spreading hedge. Ditto for A. augustifolia.

    Beautiful plantings! (Along with glorious Ginkos.)

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