Posted on March 17 2002
The ordinary garden of the past is no longer acceptable to many garden enthusiasts. Today's discerning gardener searches for plants that will satisfy his or her need for aesthetic fulfillment, and at the same time be "eco" friendly. Cacti and succulents, the relatively unknown treasures of the deserts and mountains, are providing fantastic new possibilities for today's landscapes. The rich palette of colors, combined with dramatic and unique shapes, gives the artist every conceivable tool necessary to create not only incredibly beautiful desert scapes and rockeries but also unique mixed plantings, which might include silvery epiphytic herbs, xeriphytic ornamental grasses or even miniature conifers. With the unlimited amount of cacti and succulents available, one can create landscapes that are vividly surrealistic, or monochromatic for desired color schemes. A vivid landscape might embody Euphorbia 'Firesticks', with its fiery crimson, combined with the stately alabaster Euphorbia ammak variegata, columns of powdery blue Pilosocereus or green tree Euphorbias. Large rosettes of Echeveria 'Afterglow', an incandescent violet, can be combined with the rich velvety burgundies of Aeoniums. Accents might include golden yellow Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel) and Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, with its suffused red 'Silver Dollar' leaves. A myriad of interspersed small, colorful succulents and xeriphytic native flower plants complete the xeriscape that is not only infinite in appealing design but also heat tolerant, xeric (water conserving) and of easy care. Is it any wonder that Scintillating Succulents are so popular? Original Article by Renee O'Connell Originally published in Garden Compass magazine March/April 2002 Used with permission.