We grow dozens of succulents especially aeoniums and echeverias. We love them because they give us wonderful variations in foliage, texture, colour, pattern and shape, but they all will throw up a flower spike on occasion. This week we suddenly had a few flowering all at once, so enjoy my photos!
Aeonium have been one of my plantaholic obsessions now for several years and I am still slowly adding to my collection. Recently I have managed to acquire a few cuttings of varieties previously unknown to me such as Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ and Aeonium lancerottense.
Kiwi is a variegated cultivar with pale greens highlighted with creams and oranges. I now have it well rooted but it is still very small. It will be a really special feature of my collection before too long! The A. lancerottense is similar but just a little more subtle in colour.
Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ Aeonium lancerottense.
Most aeonium tend towards varied combinations of purple and green.
Back to my garden journal for 2020 again and we are into the last month of the first half of the year, June, the month that sees the longest day and shortest night.
I began by sharing some of our rose bushes and climbing varieties that we grow throughout our garden in mixed borders and up obelisks and arches. I wrote, “June, the month for roses …………..”
I then featured photos of some of our red roses, writing, “Roses are red!”
Here are the photos of some of our red roses that grace our garden in June.
On the following page I continued with roses but those that were not red! “My flowering plant of the month!
Roses are red? Or white, cream peach, yellow ……..”
After looking at our flowering rose bushes and climbers, I did something completely different. I collect bark that had been detached from one of our birches by recent strong winds and created a collage, which lets us see the variety in colours and textures.
“In June windy days blow detached bark peelings from our birch, Betula albosinensis ‘Septentronalis’. We find what looks and feels like paper all around the garden. Each piece of peeled bark has its own character.”
We can look over the page now for a complete change as I looked at some wildlife found in our garden, a damselfly and a wasp. “Being a wildlife garden, our patch brings us some beautiful visitors for us to enjoy, to listen to and to watch. They help balance the natural world of our garden.”
“Damsel Flies hatch from our wildlife pond by the dozens, beginning with various ‘Azures’ and later the ‘Reds’.”
This beautiful yellow and black Ichneumon Wasp has appeared in our garden in good numbers for the first time ever this month.”
From wildlife we turn to succulents on the opposite page, where I wrote “Our foliage plants of the month of June are Aeoniums, a very special group of succulents. I have built up a good collection now.”
I then shared photos of a selection of some of our aeoniums……..
Next comes clematis, with two pages of pics. I wrote, “Clematis, herbaceous and climbers are flowering throughout the garden. Some are already on their second flush having flowered in the spring.”
The first of the two pages feature flowers from “Pale blue to deep purple.”
The second page showed “Every shade of red.”
The final page for June is all about the bark of Acer rufinerve. I wrote, Plant of the month for bark and stem this month is one of our snake-bark acers, Acer rufinerve also known as the ‘Melon-skin Maple’. These six photos start at the base of the trunk and move upwards.”
So that is my journal entries for June. Next report will be July.
I have a special interest in succulents and have grown a good selection over the last few years. My interest in them has been a recent one and began with the purchase of an Aeonium arboreum Schwarzkopf which we nurtured for a year and it began to become tree-like. A couple of Echeveria joined in and I haven’t looked back. In this post I shall include some cacti as well for fans of those spiky cousins.
At a recent visit to Winterbourne House Botanical Gardens in Birmingham we discovered a greenhouse full of succulents. After a look at what the displays outside had to offer, things began to look promising.
I decided to concentrate on the textures, patterns and colours of their fleshy leaves. Enjoy my gallery of succulent pics.
When we paid a visit to Ashwood Nurseries recently I was taken with the raised bed displays either side of the entrance as they were mostly planted up with succulents, including several Aeoniums and Echeverias. So here is a gallery of shots all taken in the raised beds.
We can start the second part of our wander by looking again at the front garden. Buds give us hints of blooms to come in midsummer, Phlomis, Oriental Poppies, Erygiums and Echinops. Promises of yellows, reds and steely blues.
Foliage colour and texture can be as striking as the most colourful of flowers.
Our collection of Clematis are beginning to flower and others are covered in robust buds.
Flower colours have been so important during the first few weeks of this month simply as an antidote to dull days and dark skies. It matters not whether it is a gaudy cerise beauty or a subtle green or white.
Blue on blue.
Another view of our Freda Border.
Our mini-meadows in their pots are developing well. We think we may be onto a winner.
The Shed Bed created on the site of an old shed which we demolished when we moved in, is really pleasing as below the shed we found just rubble, gravel, broken pots and sand. We added wheelbarrows of compost to improve it and now every little flower is a true gem.
A vine grows over one end of the greenhouse acting as a natural shading agent as well as feeding the gardeners. The startlingly red flowering currant has hitched a lift along it so the vine drips with red droplets.
We enjoy these irises as cut flowers but bees take advantage of them before we pick them. This clump is growing through our stepover apples. Double harvesting – cut flowers followed by apples.
In the Secret Garden Aquilegias and Alliums look good alongside the purple foliage of Pentstemon Huskers Red.
These aeonium enjoy the hottest part of the garden, the Rill Garden.
To one side of the rill we grow a snake bark maple, with silver and green striped bark, cream and red seed capsules and in autumn it has amazing rich red foliage. A wonderful specimen tree to finish this garden wander underneath.
Today we woke to the first frost of the year. My phone tells me its minus one. It’s only a thin weak frost but a useful reminder of how lucky we are to have gone this far into the year without one. Last year we had our first in September and that was not unusual. It also made us feel a little smug that we had got round to giving the greenhouse its duvet of bubble wrap at the weekend. It takes 100 metres of the large bubbled wrap to get the inside safely wrapped for winter – it is the only time I regret owning such a big greenhouse!
Bubble wrap is always so hard to fix up and always looks a mess but it does the job. We used a combination of black gaffer tape and the little plastic fiddly fixings specially designed for the job.
We moved under cover the peppers, chillies and sweet, growing in bags to hopefully get a few more fruits from them as well as the potatoes in their bags planned for cropping in December. We then had the time-consuming task of bringing in any half-hardy plants in pots such as aeoniums, begonias, echeverias, Euphorbia mellifera, salvias and summer flowering bulbs.
As a belt and braces procedure we take cuttings of some of the salvias, as well as bringing the parent plants in, as they often fail to survive through the winter even under the protection of the greenhouse.
This Salvia with its stunning red flowers which have an added cerise hue in sunlight only started flowering in late October so we could only appreciate its glorious flowers for a few weeks before bringing it into the greenhouse. If the first frost had come at the more usual time in late September or early October presumably it would have failed to flower this year. fingers crossed now that we can keep it through to warmer times.