A Carpet of Tiny, Jewel-Like Treasures: Hardy, Ground Covering Succulents …
Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ Blooming on the Ledges
Nature hates a vacuum, and when she sees one, she usually fills it as quickly as possible. As gardeners, we often find ourselves at odds with Mother Nature’s plant choices, and when we really dislike them, we call them “weeds”. Spaces between stepping stones, pockets between rocks and ledges, cracks along walkways, and various other crevices at ground-level create wonderful planting opportunities. Rather than allow crab grass or white clover seed to take hold in these spots, I choose to get a jump on Mother Nature; filling them with plants of my own choosing. Low-growing, hardy succulents, like Sedum spurium and other species of stonecrop,Â are great for filling nooks and crannies; creating beautiful carpets of color throughout the seasons.
Although many gardeners think of succulents as desert plants —suitable only for warm, sunny climates— many species are actually very cold hardy and a great number will even tolerate dappled shade. Have some rocky spaces to fill? Pictured here are a few of the hardiest species growing in my garden; plants that can take a beating from snow, ice, cold, pets and people. And for more great design ideas —including ways to use sedum ground covers and other hardy, succulent plants— check out Debra Lee Baldwin’s Designing with SucculentsÂ and Hardy Succulents by Gwen Kelaidis and Saxon Holt. Crowd out weeds and create a tapestry of jewel-like color at your feet with beautiful, ground-covering sedum …
Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’ forms a brilliant, scarlet carpet; brightening the grey-stone walkway
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ takes on an orange-cast in hot, dry, sun
Chartreuse-Gold Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ makes a pretty filler-plant along the edge of the Wildflower Walk
Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’ with Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’ and Ajuga reptans ‘Purple Brocade’ in a dry, sunny spot along the walkway
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, glows in the shadows; planted here in a semi-shade location with Ajuga reptans ‘Purple Brocade’
Designing with SucculentsÂ byÂ Debra Lee Baldwin
Hardy SucculentsÂ from Gwen Kelaidis with photographs by Saxon Holt
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6 Replies to “A Carpet of Tiny, Jewel-Like Treasures: Hardy, Ground Covering Succulents …”
Hi Michaela, loving the Angelina – Brown-Eyed Susan colour, texture combo. My Mom has them growing in tandem in her rockery. And Ajuga?? YES, I just knew that looked familiar! Now all I have to do is go and get some. It’s been growing right here on the side of the road, not 30 yards from the end of my laneway, for years. Which makes me wonder… Before I bring this home, just how “hardy” (invasive) is it? xo D
Hi There Deb, Ah yes, Ajuga. Many cultivars can be described as “vigorous” spreaders. It’s a bee favorite (particularly beloved by the bumble bees here) and I love the bloom and the foliage along the walkway. Some cultivars —like A. reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’— are much less aggressive. Many gardeners dislike “bugle weed” because it will self-sow and spread by runners, forming mats in lawn and dense ground cover. I find that in my garden, and in the other gardens I look after, Ajuga grows most vigorously in partial shade and rich/moist soil. Along the Wildflower Walk this isn’t an issue with the poor, dry soil and hot sun. Proceed with extreme caution! ;)
Okay then! Thank you VERY much!! : )
Michaela, I just wanted to tell you again how very much I enjoy your blog, and how much it inspires me. I’m the person who walks in the botanical garden here pretty much daily. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I guess it should not have surprised me, but it has, how most of the plants you feature also grow here. (It should not have surprised me because of the latitude.) This summer I feel doubly blessed: I get to walk in, and take pictures of, a wonderful botanical garden here which is free to the public; and then come home and look at your blog and pictures — often of the same plants. You add much depth to my explorations here, because of your writings explaining the plants and how you choose them. And your pictures are amazing. You might enjoy knowing that lately the hummingbirds in the garden here have been playing tag with me. When I stand still with my camera, often with my elbows out, they zoom around me, flying under my arms, or whir up and hover above me, examining this strange creature. I have a small digital camera, so have not gotten the best pictures of them, but one little guy seems to like to pose on the crocosmia. I have been having a wonderful time with them this summer.
@ Terry – Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words Terry. I love to know that you enjoy reading the posts and looking at the photos. It really motivates me when I receive comments like yours … I am as inspired as you! How fantastic is it that horticultural enthusiasm can travel back and forth over thousands of miles. I hope you will continue to enjoy your exploration of the botanical garden, both with camera and without. I find that taking photos makes me look closer and closer. And isn’t that a wonderful thing? Thank you for being here! xo M
I have several sedums and love them all. Very easy to propagate, it seems if you drop a trimming somewhere, you will soon find a plant there, and not at all high maintenance. That first picture of Angelina is stunning, I will look for it at nurseries.
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