Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Full Order of Plump, Juicy Succulents

I throw my head back as sinister rumbles of laughter well up from the dank caverns of my black heart. I rub my scaly hands while the rest of the nation cowers under the wrath of the WINTER WEATHER BOMB burying the rest of the country.

I just finished watering Lin's collection of potted succulents, the ultimate symbol our benign Mediterranean climate. Oh, and I was wearing shorts. Eat your hearts out!

I mean it's not like spring is sproinging throughout the 805 just yet. Most of the showy garden plants are biding their time, waiting for longer days and consistent warm temperatures. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything going on in the garden right now.

A few weeks ago, dear reader Mitzie suggested I write about "succulent gardens in winter," a topic I haven't covered. So that's where we're going, folks.

"Succulents" is a catch-all term for any plant that stores water in its roots, stems and leaves. They're not all desert plants - some Sempervivum species grow in rocky crags in the Alps, though many will turn to mush in a heavy frost.

I started my fact finding at Ganna Walska Lotusland, world renowned for its exotic collection of rare specimens and eclectic plantings. When Virginia Hayes, Curator of the Living Collection and deep-knowledge columnist for the Independent, met me in front of the main house, the first things that caught my eye were succulents in bondage - like a scene from Gulliver's Travels.

Lots more yummy photos and the rest of this story at

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