Friday, February 6, 2009

Hooked on loving succulents

Today is Love Fridays …. I am totally hooked on succulents right now. Fat, squat, fleshy succulents.

These troopers battle on valiantly in the apparently never-ending hot weather that we’re enduring at the moment. Tomorrow’s going to be another scorcher – ye gods, 44 degrees - and I think it's safe to guarantee that the succulents will be the only plants in my poor bedraggled garden that will emerge unscathed at the end of it.

I have succulents planted all the way along the rear of our back verandah, massed in amongst river stones, where they get the best of the afternoon sun.

Our horrible red pavers reflect the heat as well and it can end up very burny-scorchy to walk on them barefoot (I have learnt this through bitter experience, oh yes I have).

I once measured the temperature at ground level once and it was 56 degrees Celsius. I don’t know how our pusses manage with their tender little paws … mind you, they do tend to scamper across the pavers quickly before making a giant leap onto the wooden planks of the deck. Even the Fat One hauls ass quickly when the pavers are hot.

I also had black aeonium succulents in the bouquet I carried when I married My One True Love last year.

My bouquet was fantastic, it was all orange and red and black – in the photo here it’s next to the cake, if you can make it out?

Part of the reason I had succulents was because I wanted to keep something of my bouquet, but I didn’t want to dry it out and hang it on the wall as some brides do, because I think that is just weird and creepy. I know some people love it, but I think it's truly morbid to hang dead flowers on your wall as a memory of your wedding day.

Succulents though... they last happily through the heat and excitement, and at the end of the day, you just pop them in the ground and voila! Instant plants.

So now I have pots and pots of growing, thriving, vibrant, living memories from our wedding, including one ginormous tree of aeoniums near the back fence, which came from the huge and stunning arrangement in the foyer at our reception. Every time I look at them, I think of My One True Love. And my bridesmaids have planted the succulents from their bouquets as well, so they have living memories too.

I also have two massive urns that are filled with succulents outside the back door - but these ones came from Bunnings. One is the classic sempiverens Hen and Chicken. At the start of summer it blooms with long, slender flower spikes filled with tiny pink and orange bells. The other is a fuller-leaved echiverium which sends out fingers of pink and blue flowers.

When I planted them they were just little babies in amongst the white stones, but now they are starting to mass up beautifully and drip over the edges. I love the look of urns overstuffed with succulents.

These little beauties give me hope that even with the ravages of climate change we’re bound to experience (weeks of weather over 40 degrees - hello, people?!) , I can still be a gardener, and have flowers in my life.

Okay, as evolution progresses and the water continues to dry up, they might morph into sharp, poisonous, pointy flowers that can kill you, but they will still be flowers. And I will love them anyway.


CurlyPops said...

I love succulents too... purely for the whole sculptural look and the no maintenance gardening. I have lots of yukka's too for the same reason!

Mountaingirl said...

I need lots of them in my garden - I've been busily bucketing water on everything from the washing machine, but with the heat it never seems to be enough... Lots of lovely things are yellowing and dying (and lots of not so lovely things that I wont feel so bad about digging up at the end of summer!). Do you think you could bring me some cuttings from your crop when you visit??

What's a yukka?

Troischats said...

Yukkas have a big crop of spiky leaves at the top of a bare stem - you often see them on the gardening shows and in public landscaping, because they're as tough as nails.
I'll try to bring some cuttings up with me - if any survive, it hit 46.7 degrees here at the peak an hour ago and I'm not game to go outside yet to see what's dead and what's made it through!!

Taya @ Delightful! said...

I love succulents! We have (had?) one in our garden that I fear may be dead now because I probably should have brought it inside for the winter. As long as I replace it before my husband finds was 'his' plant!

Troischats said...

Hi there Taya ... good luck with your succulent. If it *does* turn out to be dead, at least the bonus is that most succulents look pretty similar so you should have a good chance of replacing it without him noticing!