Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Living picture update

Well so much for the drought! Since they officially declared it we have had nothing but rain.  As it is too wet to get outside I thought I would do a few updates. First up, last summers attempt at a living picture (the original post can be found here). It was as much a test to see how I would make the frame and what to plant in as anything else. The photo on the right shows what it was like at shortly after planting.

Sadly I forgot to take my usual autumn photo so there is nothing to show what it looked like at the end of the summer.  I was  disappointed with the growth and feel it is down to me leaving it too dry and not giving the plants enough pampering to get properly settled. Almost all the plants were recently cut offsets with little or no roots and now I think this was a mistake as they had to settle down and root in less than perfect conditions. Can you believe I even managed to kill the saxifraga! All that time I spent placing each little bit of plant to try and ensure an even growth, was wasted and no there is just soil.

The agave cream spike did not like it either, but this has already stated to recover from the winter and grow so it seems to have settled now.

The rest of the plants have done OK.  I have been a bit more vigilant so far this year and the plants have started to swell from their winter state and put on good growth.  The echeveria elegans are starting to offset so they will nicely fill that corner soon.

The sedeveria lutescens have done really well and I love the red colour.  I have added a few more since this photo to fill in some of the gaps.  A couple have started to flower as well adding to the list of flowers appearing in there.

The two plants that have done best are the unknown graptopetalum and the graptosedum 'Mediterranean Mystery'. I love this last one,  it is small but seems to be a tough as old boots.  Not only has it grown and started to flower, but it has offset nicely and has the next generation of plants coming through to take over when these flowering stems get cut back.

The graptopetalum has offset and is also sending out good flower spikes. Again this one did not die back at all over winter and has held its colour well.

The sempervivums did well and filled out nicely last summer.  Two of the three varieties shrink back a little during the winter. They are filling out again and are starting to send out their offsets meaning a lot of the gaps can be filled this summer. This s. ciliosum is one of my favourites and send out really long tendrils before the ends root and the new plants grow.  Hopefully this will give me a chance to direct them to a location I want filling.

Overall then not the wild success I had hoped for, but I have learnt a few things: only plant rotted plants and feed and water frequently.  Let see what happens this summer.


  1. Well, looks way better than mine! I neglected to water as well. Mine needed it daily, and who can keep that schedule? I was surprised in mine that the Echeverias did just great, and the Sedums failed. I was expecting the opposite.

  2. They do need a lot more watering than pots do, even in the UK. No chance I would remember to water every day. I agree, seems the wrong way around..

  3. looking forward to watching the progress

    1. I'll make sure I do a few updates over the summer.

  4. Love your design. When it fills in, it'll be beauteous. I have the hardest time finding choice varieties-would you happen to know a good mail order nursery I could frequent? I live in MI. Love your photos!