Wednesday, 29 September 2010

They're big up north

I have just returned from visiting another succulent fan (mentioned, or blamed here as a fellow addict).  It is always a pleasure to see his garden and I am always amazed at how much growth he gets from his plants in one summer, given that he is not exactly in the warmest part of the UK.
This trip was no exception and it was great to visit at the end of summer for a change as I usually visit in Spring before things get going. The beds are full of large clumps of echeverias and he has not put away all the pots yet so there are rows of aeoniums which are getting to be some size!  Aeoniums are something we both struggle with, not because they are hard to grow quite the contrary in fact, but because they almost without fail can not cope below -4 and so have to be overwintered either in a heated greenhouse or inside.  This is fine when small, but when they get to this size of these they take up a lot of space.  I have cut my selection down to 3 or 4 which are small enough to be brought in and interesting enough to warrant the space. I am hoping he doesn't cut his down too much as I want to see how big these get!

The other good/bad thing about going up to visit him is seeing the different plants in person instead of on a websites. It is very easy to avoid buying plants when you don't know they exist, but wondering around his greenhouse I always find a few new plants that I didn't know I needed until then and have to be added to my list of plants to find. Often he has offered me an offset in the past which I have turned down because the pictures on the web didn't look that special.

Then there are the offsets that I have been eagerly waiting to be big enough for him to remove. This trip two were ready and so I can a couple more off my list.  I have had my eye on this little haworthia attenuata variegate for a couple of years, but the pups have been painfully slow to develop.  So it is very exciting to finally get one to the size where it was allowed to be taken off and come home with me.  The second one, agave titonata variegate was a bit of a surprise.  I will admit that I have been coveting his main plant since he got it,  so letting me have the offset is probably as much self preservation as anything else. Both plants are now happily in their new homes and will be pampered over this winter.

Unfortunately he keeps far too close an eye on me while I am there, and so I have yet to be able to smuggle any plants out without him knowing. But there is always next time!

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