A Succulent Garden

Creating succulent container gardens of all shapes and sizes is one of my most rewarding design adventures. These plants, able to withstand periods of drought and come in a wide variety of textures, colors, and shapes, are alluring. Some succulents are hardy and are able to stay outdoors year round while others are suited for summer to fall plantings.

In this installation story, I’d like to share two gorgeous planters located on a high rise which I filled with a wide variety of beautiful succulent plants. These plants have quite the view, and so did I when I planted the mix of tapestry for my clients. They are a wonderful showcase in their outdoor sitting areas where a secret garden thrives.

The contrast in colors offered by succulents are many. Some showcase amazing darker tones and many are yellow, orange, pink, soft blue and present tones of various greens. The key is being able to locate very healthy plants and know which are able to tolerate various light conditions and exposures, as well as using appropriate well-draining professional potting soils. Some even have a sheen to them or a powdery soft covering. Many are fuzzy with tips. The list goes on.

All of my container installations are finished off with what I refer to as “top-dressing.” In this case, we used gray stones which helped to reduce soil splashing when watering. It also lends to a finished look. It worked well with the natural earthy tones of the clients’ beautiful large square planters at this special location.

Larger sized to smaller sized succulents were utilized. I wanted to create a tapestry affect while showcasing specialty succulents, many rare and difficult to find. The ruffled, rosy edged succulent in the corner was pushing out a bloom. The blooms remain on the plants for a very long time, and if you have hummingbirds near your location, they adore the tiny fluted blooms. Blooms with their stalks last a long time in vases with cut flowers as well.

The exposure at this location is a half day of shade and an afternoon of full hot sun. The plants adore these conditions and remained happy so long as appropriate care is followed, which I provide instructions to my clients with all my installations. Succulent care is quite simple, but there are a few things to know to help them perform their best. Knowing when to water, which is not often, since succulent plants are able to retain moisture in their leaves.

I was so impressed with how all thrived and grew during the season, I decided to make a photo book to capture all the beauty of the plants. Some succulents also trail downwards and these were added to the corners of the planters. By the end of the summer, the plants grew longer and larger.

They looked amazing thru the home’s windows as well. In these two photos above, notice how much the plants grew and thrived. Another wonderful aspect about succulents is they do not require constant fertilization. The plants store water in their leaves and stems so you will not encounter the wilting issue you may experience with flowering annuals in the heat of the summer day, and this makes them extremely easy-care. You can travel and not worry, they will perform fine.

All succulents grow extremely well in containers, planters, patio pots, hanging baskets, and even in glass hanging globes. Many look like roses, shaped in patterns like a rosette because the leaves overlap in a circular fashion. Some produce off sets to continue to fill in the container gardens and planters. In some cases, as the cooler weather of fall arrives, the edges of succulents turn a vivid red as a reaction to the stress of temperature drops, which leads to more intense colors on their leaves before they are removed to be planted indoors for the winter.

Again, I loved creating these gardens for my clients and if you have an interest in these types of container installations, please reach out. Early spring is best so I may secure the plants for your installation story. Succulent gardens are wonderful near pool areas, on balconies or decks, in spaces in the garden (think urn filled with succulents in the center of a garden), and the list goes on. I will be sharing more installation stories here about my succulent container creations.

Cathy Testa
Broad Brook/East Windsor, CT
Free onsite consultations provided
Servicing all towns in and around East Windsor, including Hartford and Springfield

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