From Seattle to San Diego;
three hours and a world of plants away.
My husband Andy and I were working in southern California last week, basking in the warm sunshine. Whenever time allowed I would scurry off with my camera to take photos of the incredible landscapes that relied heavily on drought tolerant succulents. Everywhere I looked there were firecracker colors, attracting all manner of hummingbirds and bees.
Some vignettes were larger than life such as this display at the San Diego Botanical Garden.
Others were Lilliputian in scale yet every bit as intricate
These succulents are hardy in San Diego but for those of us in colder climates we can enjoy many of them as summer annuals or as houseplants that take a little vacation in our summer gardens. Regardless of how you use them there are some clear design tips we can glean from these displays.
Mix it up! Throw a little orange or red into the greens and blues and just watch those combinations come alive. This could be a succulent foliage such as Euphorbia 'Fire Sticks' or a long blooming flower. In Seattle we could try one of the new red hot pokers that have tidy foliage, a more compact habit and longer bloom time e.g. Mango popsicle. The flower color and shape is very similar to many of those I photographed.
2. Foliage texture
Spikes rule in the succulent kingdom but there are lots of other shapes too. Look for flattened rosettes, and plump teardrops for contrast.
Get up close and personal – especially if you are planning a summer display. The beauty of Laura Eubanks' work below is the snuggle factor.
So whether you live in Scotland or Seattle, San Diego or South Carolina you can still enjoy a succulent safari. It may be on your kitchen table for many months of the year or you may be able to plant acreage this way but follow these simple tips and the display will always be fabulous.