Robin Stockwell takes a living succulent heart up to the 2015 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Planted with 15,000 succulents that are hardy to the Pacific Northwest, the Heart will live at Succulent Gardens after the show.
Maybe it’s because I’ve just come back from visiting family in Chicago, where winter is a long, bleak stretch of grayness, but when I was walking around the nursery today, I was struck by how many of our succulents are putting up dazzlingly colorful blooms now, in late January.
There’s a new showcase at Succulent Gardens: a display bed along Amaral Road where we’ve planted a few dozen examples of large, mature plants.
It’s a mix of tree aloes and agaves, with each plant given enough space that you can see how far its branches spread and take in its full form without other plants crowding into view.
There's a show of pink fireworks going on just outside the nursery these days. The carpet of Aloe spinossisima burst into bloom during the holidays, hoisting dozens of pink rockets into the air just above these densely clumping aloes three feet high. Aloe spinosissima is great for a low hillside or the bank of a ditch, because of its tightly packed nature, and when it pops into bloom in winter, it's a knockout.
In a large raised bed near the southeast corner of Succulent Gardens is a row of Aloe ferox plants, whose thick, toothed arms reach out in curls. We’re not raising them to sell, but for their seed.
Their sturdy, brightly colored blooms arrived in December, and this week, Brian Kemble and Walker Young, the curator and assistant curator at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, came to the nursery to work on pollinating the plants.
Now that the holidays are past, are you wondering what to do with the succulents in your mini-trees and other decorations? Here are a few tips:
*Remove the succulents from the mini-tree or other decorative item one at a time. Check to see if they've already begun rooting into the object they were on, but if they have, it's no problem to gently pull them off of it.
Succulent Gardens was inundated with 6.5 inches of rain by a massive storm Dec. 11 and 12, the most rain that has fallen on us in one 24-hour stretch in at least a decade.
It was the stormiest and wettest part of a surprisingly soggy mid-December, when a series of smaller rainfalls brought the month’s total to 11.25 inches of rain. That’s compared to about one-third of an inch in droughty December 2013.