March 09, 2021
After the extended deep freeze that Texas endured final month, which decreased our beloved agaves and different succulents to oozing mush and browned almost all the pieces else again to the roots, it might not appear…well timed…for a Texan to evaluation a guide about succulent gardening. However it could be short-sighted for gardeners right here to put in writing off agaves, prickly pears, golden barrels, and different “hardy” succulents as a result of a freak freeze not like something we’ve seen in 30 years. Agaves specifically are too helpful (as warmth lovers and drought survivors), sculptural, and gorgeous to do with out. I will likely be replanting with the hardiest of succulents, and I’m positive many different Texas gardeners will as effectively.
A brand new guide that may offer you tons of sensible design recommendation as you begin planning your succulent backyard — or backyard that comes with focal-point succulents, as we do in Texas — is Hanging Succulent Gardens: Vegetation and Plans for Designing Your Low-Upkeep Panorama (Ten Pace Press, 2021). Written by Morro Bay, California, designer Gabriel Frank, this attractively designed guide is most helpful for gardeners in coastal California and different frost-free (or almost so) Mediterranean climates. However even these of us in Texas and different scorching/dry areas can apply Frank’s design classes for our use of hardy agaves, yuccas, sotols, and the like. Loads of the crops I wish to develop — Yucca rostrata, squid agave, whale’s tongue agave, aloes — present up in his featured gardens. And in the event you take pleasure in rising succulents in containers, no matter local weather, you’ll glean useful design suggestions too.
Hanging Succulent Gardens will encourage anybody who loves succulents, particularly in the event you reside the place you possibly can develop a complete backyard of them. However for Frank they’re excess of simply stunning crops. He emphasizes their worth for gardens the place water is more and more scarce, as an ecologically delicate and money-saving alternative. His design recommendation is geared to the do-it-yourself gardener and to collectors who need their succulent gardens to have a robust, pleasing design, not be only a hodgepodge of cool crops. Commonplace ideas like rhythm, kind, texture, distinction, and scale are helpfully illustrated with succulent backyard photographs so you possibly can perceive simply what he means.
Chapters zoom in on matters like designing small areas, container gardens, cactus gardens, and fusion gardens. You’ll additionally discover two chapters dedicated to instruments, strategies, and plant care, in addition to propagation, so you possibly can develop extra crops to your personal backyard or to share. Twelve backyard initiatives flesh out every chapter. In every, Frank supplies a full-page photograph of a selected fashion of succulent backyard with step-by-step information about the right way to create it, together with plant lists, compost and gravel quantities, and particulars on layering crops from the largest focal factors right down to the groundcovers. Descriptions and rising details about his favourite crops are sprinkled all through the chapters, in addition to how-tos for initiatives like constructing your individual metallic container, rising succulents in chilly climates, dealing with spiky cacti, and determining how a lot soil and mulch you want.
As a author about water-saving gardens and a fellow succulent lover, I used to be requested to blurb the guide earlier than publication, so I really learn it final summer time after which re-read it once I acquired a tough copy, completely having fun with it each instances. If you happen to like succulents for his or her otherworldly magnificence and/or need to save water with supremely drought-tolerant (and fire-resistant) crops, succulents have a spot in your backyard, and Frank reveals the right way to use them.
Disclosure: A duplicate of Hanging Succulent Gardens was despatched to me by the writer, and I reviewed it at my very own discretion and with none compensation. This submit, as with all the pieces at Digging, is my very own private opinion.
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