What with digging up the dry bed allowing me to closely examine the plants and hoping the next house will have a larger garden, I have been thinking about the hardy succulent garden. With this in mind I thought I would do a series of posts on the topic. A lot of it will be in planing for the next garden; thinking how to build the beds, what to plant and what winter protection (if any) to use.
So what do I mean by a hardy succulent garden? Firstly the majority of plants have to be planted all year, not just sunk and dug up before winter. For me the plants will mainly fit into the groups of agaves, aloes, echeverias, yuccas, with a few other plants both as features and as fillers. Finally winter protection should be kept to a minimum and should be about keeping plants in pristine condition not about survival.
For this first post it seems sensible to look at my climate. Living on the edge of London my winters are not that bad, -10C (14F) would be my absolute minimum. Although we do get 2 - 3 snow events a year, they usually only last a day or so and it is very unusual for snow to stay around for a week. Sadly when this snow is wet and is prone to melt and re-freeze and this does more damage than the drier snow other areas of Europe gets. Perhaps as important are the summers, you can get away with a lot more if you have long hot summers. Our summers are often neither of these and it can seem to rain as much in summer as in winter. While that is not the case, we do not get the extended hot periods that these plants would really like.
I'm not sure exactly how the series will pan out. I'm thinking of a post on the planting material / bed structure. Then one on each group of plants and finally one on winter protection. I have no idea if it will be useful for me or others, but it will at least give me something to do until I can actually get on with the new garden.