Six on Saturday | End of July Edition

I am somewhat bemused / confused / irritated by all the focus on the warm weather this month. It is after all summer! OK in the past decade our summers have been a bit of a wash-out, but let’s not forget that we have had sunny summers before. Maybe not with such high temperatures for so many consecutive days I agree, but I for one am happy to see the sun beaming down on me every morning instead of dull grey skies. Only a year or two ago we were being informed by the ‘experts’ that our winters would become milder and wetter and our summers would become, oh yes, milder and wetter and we should expect a lot more flooding – in fact we probably would live in permanent mildness and wetness and future generations would be born with webbed feet! Not a happy thought. Now they have switched to hotter summers, on the basis of what? One hot summer every 10 years? Anyway, after Mad March and snow in Cornwall I was beginning to think that my thoughts of Mediterranean planting were over optimistic and started redesigning my planting based on moisture loving plants and hardy ones at that. Hardy, S&S resistant, moisture-loving. Sorted.

Or am I?

Having had an idea to plant my (black plastic) raised beds in the ‘Gravel Garden’ with bee and butterfly loving perennials and based on my new desire to create a purple bed, I came up with the idea to plant the outside edges with Sempervivum so as to hide the plastic. Tough little plants that can multiply and spread into the gravel. They hate having wet feet though, so I need to plant them in loads of grit and hope for the best. So with no further ado let me introduce you to (some of) my new succulent collection and a few oldies.

  1. Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ – quite a popular plant in recent years and I have had this for about 12 years in one form or another. The original plant grew so long and leggy that I eventually cut off the rosette and replanted it, hoping that it would grow, and cut the stem into 3″ pieces and planted those too. Unfortunately it was a wet winter and all the stem pieces died. The rosette continued to grow though and again became leggy. Repeat. This time with more success as I now had a conservatory in which to overwinter them and from one plant I now have four – all with several rosettes. I may need to repeat this again with one of them soon.
  2. Another oldie, this is a Crassula ovata  otherwise known as the Jade tree, friendship tree, lucky plant, money plant or money tree.  From South Africa where it grows happily outside, it is another plant which dislikes having wet feet in winter, so I bring it indoors. A cool conservatory is fine. It has a thick multi-branched stem (trunk) with short stubby branches and can produce pale pink or white flowers. Bought for me as a tiny plant years ago by my eldest grandson, it has yet to flower, but I live in hope. A large branch fell off last summer, so I planted bits into pots and now have four other Jade trees growing. I am beginning to realise through writing these weekly posts just how many of my plants have associations with family members. 
  3. Echeveria  is a large genus of succulent plants in the Crassulaceae family, native to semi-desert areas of Central America.  I think this is  ‘Purple Pearl’  an attractive, evergreen succulent, forming a large rosette up to 12 inches (30 cm) across, of fleshy, slightly rounded, pointed, olive-green to lavender-rose leaves adorned with pink edges. The more sun, the more colour you get. It sends up to 1 feet (30 cm) tall flowering spikes of coral pink flowers in summer. I can’t say the flowers are very exciting.
  4. Now we come to the newcomers, first off is Aptenia cordifolia ‘Variegata’ with common names Variegated Heartleaf Ice Plant, Variegated Baby Sun Rose, Variegated Ice Plant.  This is a nice trailing succulent plant that is perfect for baskets, planters and troughs. The smooth green and cream, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, heart-shaped leaves are speckled with magenta blooms in the summer and autumn. This one is planted in my Belfast sink and has yet to flower.
  5. Another new Sempervivum is jovibarba allionii .  Sempervivums (houseleeks, hens and chickens) will grow almost without soil and water and thrive in cracks and rock crevices. I love the Fibonacci spiral of this rosette.
  6. And the last is nameless. I seem to have lost the label for this one! Another Sempervivum with lovely blushing-red hairy leaves

NB: I was being facetious about the webbed feet.

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday


  1. ACountryBoy says:

    Beautiful plants. I don’t mind the long warm summer at all. It sure beats a long frigid, stormy winter every time.

  2. Somehow you have managed to make these plants (not my favourites!) look attractive! I am almost won over by the purple Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’. I may try that in the small wall which gets very dry. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I am quite taken with the colours and shapes, and hope they survive! I’m not so fond of cacti.

  3. Love Aeoniums. As for the hot weather I can live with the sun but not the heat so am afraid: It affects me when I am on the road and walking around different City and Town Centres. Sorry to be a killjoy. A nice blog.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I realise in the east of the country and the Midlands, that it has been exceptionally hot, and in cities that is worse. But I can’t help enjoying a dry summer 🙂

      1. I am just a soft Northerner 🙂

  4. I’m not complaining about the sun but the lack of rain! It’s been weeks since any rain in my garden. I’m in Belfast for a few days, it’s lovely to see green again! And it’s raining, just to tease me.
    Lovely pictures of the sempervivums

    1. Heyjude says:

      Rain at night would be nice. We had heavy showers last night and today which has soaked the garden (and my conservatory -maybe I should convert it to a swimming pool).

  5. fredgardener says:

    It’s funny to see how meteorologists predict the weather on the other side of La Manche ( the English Channel) … Here, they said that we will have more hot summers and mild winters with no real spring and autumn seasons. The climate changes! About this Six, I also grow an aenium and like you, it doesn’t like winter (even if I put the plant in my attic : there is a little too much moisture there) … New leaves appear every spring. Unfortunately, I broke a big head yesterday: it’s time to have another cuttings …

    1. Heyjude says:

      Who knows what to expect with the climate! I guess we have to plant a bit of everything in the hope that something survives! Fortunately the Aeoniums seem to propagate easily so get that head into some gritty compost Fred 🙂

  6. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I love Aeonium. It’s in my SoS this Week too, but badly frost damaged as is my Jade plant which had just started flowering. I also have Echeveria which is not bothered by the cold, and one Sempervivens which is happy too. Your Aeonium looks fab.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I am surprised your Aeonium and Jade plants survive frost! I shall be taking them all indoors if frost is threatened here. I would like a green and pink Aeonium now, ‘Blushing Beauty’ and a green and yellow one ‘Sunburst’ although I keep telling myself NO MORE POTS!

  7. Sue says:

    I love to see the sun, Jude, but just can’t exist in high heat, alas… spare a thought for the disabled amongst us…..

    1. Heyjude says:

      High temps aren’t so good, but the dryness is welcome. I don’t do so well in high humidity either so can empathise with you. Hope you have had some relief by now!

      1. Sue says:

        Improving thanks, Jude, but I am still wiped out this evening….but hoping a little better tomorrow! Patience is not my strong suit!

  8. Pit says:

    With our drought conditions, maybe we should have more succulents.
    Have a wonderful weekend,

    1. Heyjude says:

      They’d love those conditions Pit.

      1. Pit says:

        And hopefully our deer won’t love them! 😀

        1. Heyjude says:

          Well, I don’t know about that, but some are quite tough and spiky!

        2. Pit says:

          I agree: some very prickly ones might be the solution.

  9. restlessjo says:

    We have most of these too, but not the nice dramatic one. 🙂 🙂 It’s always the same when the south are suffering, Jude. Us northerners have been skipping about with smiles on our faces for the past few weeks. Still are, despite wind, rain and dramatic lightning.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Very true Jo, very true 😀

      1. restlessjo says:

        Did you see the elusive pink moon, then? Or have I already asked you that? Sue’s got me doubting myself now 🙂 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          No such luck – cloudy. A saw Mars though at one point.

  10. We have house leeks growing out of the dry stone wall, amazing how they survive. Your pictures make them look fantastic.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I shall have to try and persuade some of mine to grow in my stone walls.

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