Friday, June 16, 2017

Foliage Follow-up - Knitting things together

No, I don't knit, but I do use certain plants over and over again to create a sense of continuity in the garden.  Late last month, Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden wrote about her use of Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' as a unifier in her garden and asked readers whether there were plants they used as such.  Aeonium arboreum is one of mine, as is creeping thyme; however, for today's Foliage Follow-up post, I thought I'd focus on another example: Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi'.  I've previously described this plant as my "gateway" succulent, the source of my subsequent succulent plant addiction.  It was the first succulent I introduced in my former garden and the only one I brought with me to my current garden.  Like Aeonium arboreum, it's very easy to propagate.  When faced with an empty spot, I simply clip a piece and push it into the soil.

Here are some examples of how I've used it as an edging material:

I lined the patio side of this bed with Aeonium 'Kiwi and cuttings of Aeonium arboreum

Here, 'Kiwi' lines both sides of the gravel path through my dry garden

And here it lines another gravel path running between the garage and the street

Although Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder', currently flaunting its summer red foliage, was the focal point of this photo, you can see Aeonium 'Kiwi' (and A. arboreum) just alongside on the right, filling in a small gap between the chimney and the driveway


I've used it as an accent in plant beds too, as shown here:

This is a section of the succulent bed that faces the street, where I used 'Kiwi' (and yes, more A. arboreum) to accent Agave desmettiana 'Variegata' and Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'

And here it is in the succulent bed running along the top of the stacked stone wall


And I've often used it to fill out pots of succulents:

Prior to the arrival of guests last week, I replanted this hanging pot in record time with succulent cuttings, including A. 'Kiwi', 2 varieties of A. arboreum, and a noID Rhipsalis


'Kiwi' can be found in many other areas of my garden but these examples are sufficient to demonstrate my dependence on the plant (and a shorter post was called for today after the marathon post I inflicted on readers yesterday).  For more Foliage Follow-up posts, visit our host, Pam at Digging.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. Fascinating that a small plant like this does such a great job.

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    1. That Aeonium forms clusters, creating strength in numbers, Linda!

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  2. Great job in use of a great edging plant. It looks like your succulent sections have grown a lot.

    Oh, that Wilson's Wonder! Mine is growing but has a long way to go to be like yours.

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    1. That 'Wilson's Wonder' is more than twice the size of my other one but I think it's reached its mature size at last. Of course, I do cut it back in spring each year. Who knows what it'd look like if I left it alone?

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  3. Very interesting! I need to think about what plant I could use in the same way. Thank you!

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    1. Lawns create that unifying effect in many gardens, Lea, but here, where lawns require too much of our precious water, we need to look to other plant materials. Succulents are perfect in our climate but I also use a LOT of creeping thyme to create wide sections of green, which allow the eye to rest.

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  4. Oh Kris...I'm looking at your photos and reading your words and thinking "if only!"... I can't imagine. I have one little Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi' which I bought a couple months ago. I recently posted a photo of it on Instagram all colored up (with pink edges). I love that little thing but it's a precious gem which I might over winter, or not (Aeoniums are tricky for me). I can't imagine your Aeonium reality...

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    1. It's the height of summer here that's hardest on the Aeoniums. Unless it's in a shaded location, as many of mine are, Aeonium arboreum curls up into ball and hunkers down until cooler temperatures and rain returns in the fall/winter months. 'Kiwi' is more resilient but even it shrivels a bit.

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  5. Unifying plants are so important, and your repeat use of Aeonium really works well. It is perfect too since it is obliging and looks like it grows in sun and shade. I also love it because it reminds me of my childhood. I think it must have been very popular at the time - I guess easy to propagate plants were needed when there weren't so many nurseries back in the olden days, and there was mainly a sharing economy.

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    1. As we tore out more, and eventually all, of our lawn during the drought, Sue, I was left with large expanses of empty space and no proper plan as to how to fill it. Clipping Aeoniums and sticking them here, there and everywhere started as a cheap, quick fix to fill these spaces temporarily but the massed plantings became features in some areas. Succulents can be ridiculously expensive here too but, as many are easy to propagate in our climate, each new succulent purchase becomes a potential mother plant.

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  6. I love how you use this succulent in your garden Kris. I use Euphorbia in much the same but I do have some succulents like yours so I should start to experiment a little, they seem to be quite hardy here.

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    1. Certain species of Euphorbia have proven to be almost frighteningly prolific here, Christina. Seedlings provided useful fillers but I'm beginning to wonder if I've created a problem for myself. Maybe I need to consign them to the truly tough, dry areas of the garden rather than the irrigated areas. Your winters are colder than ours but many succulents can take a degree of cold so experimentation would be useful.

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  7. Such great texture to your garden - beautifully laid out!

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  8. Oh to plant Aeoniums out in the garden.I know I could experiment with my micro climates here and possibly find a spot for a few , no such luck so far. The first night in the 20's and they are goners ! Your streetside succulent bed is fantastic !

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    1. I can't remember ever facing temperatures in the 20sF here, Kathy. If we ever got hit with that kind of cold, I'd be one unhappy gardener.

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  9. Sometimes I think my favorite plants are the "knitters" that help make the garden look cohesive. Whatever they may be, I love those easily propagated and spreadable plants. Gardening would be so much more expensive without them.

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    1. Too true, Evan! If I had propagation skills on the order of yours, I'd probably save a lot more still.

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  10. Today I was encouraging Dymondia to get knitting ...

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    1. I hope the Dymondia thrives for you, Diana. I've repeatedly tried to get it going in one area of my garden with little success but I think the combination of sandy soil and inadequate irrigation in its infancy is to blame,

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  11. I first saw Aeonium used as a path-edging plant in Rebecca Sweet's garden, and I swooned over it (and I think I accidentally stepped on one - horrors!). It looks fantastic in yours too. There's not really a succulent we can use like that here in Austin, not with our summer heat and humidity and rainstorm-pounded soils. I do like sedge and silver ponyfoot for that purpose and wish I had a few more options for sun.

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    1. Each climate has its challenges and its opportunities, I guess, Pam. After seeing silver ponyfoot used so effectively in your garden and those of other Texas bloggers, I've introduced more of it here but I've yet to achieve the same effect.

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