Prowling around the garden yesterday with this or that new plant in one hand, spade in the other, looking for planting opportunities where I already knew none existed, it seemed more constructive to put the spade down and pick up the camera. This small group of succulents right outside the kitchen door may be overgrown and out of shape by the end of summer, or changed up on a whim, so a spring portrait seems like a good idea at the moment.
The tall green pot holds a young Agave americana var. striata. I’ve been told never to select green ceramic pots, any color but green, since it will only blend into the background. Sometimes blending into the background is the point, though. Aeonium ‘Cyclops’ leans in, with Cotyledon orbiculata, the latter two planted in the garden. The thin red tips on the cotyledon just slay me.
Aeonium ‘Cyclops’ is recovering from a winter of snail depredation. The snails mercifully eat mostly the older leaves lower down on the stems. Last year Solanum marginatum grew here and was a small tree by the end of summer.
This photo was taken on a different day, after an early morning fog.
I love that loosely incurved rosette shape that this hybrid inherits from Aeonium undulatum. ‘Cyclops’ is potentially a giant that may very soon become much too large for this small corner.
This baby Agave victoriae-reginae was growing in the ground but became engulfed by surrounding plants, was rediscovered, rescued, and given a safe haven in a small pot atop a larger container. Small agaves can become engulfed and forgotten when one too frequently prowls the garden with a new plant in one hand and a spade in the other. Froth of lime green Sedum confusum on the right.
Backing up a bit to include Aeonium balsamiferum, spilling out of a smaller pot. I like the echo of pot rims and rings from this angle and the tension of containment and surge. Sliver of a trunk on the left is a 6-foot Manihot grahamii also growing in this pot, its canopy an increasingly receding tuft of leaves as the maturing trunk twists and elongates. The yellow flowers are from the bulging Sedum confusum.
Back further still. What a happy community they’ve made for themselves, for this brief moment in spring anyway. Self-sown bronzy Haloragis erecta threads around the pots, always choosing to seed at the garden edges.