Time and Temp

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Blooming-May

• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Lavander
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium

Harvesting-May

• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb
• Parsley
• Strawberries

           

Succulents and Gynelle Leon’s book called “Prick”

Little arrangements of succulents in pots can lend color to a garden.

Little arrangements of succulents in pots can lend color to a garden.

Blue Finger Seneccio add to dark corner. Cut back once a year.

Blue Finger Seneccio add to dark corner. Cut back once a year.

I’ve never really loved succulents. I was raised in Orange County, California, where succulents were very popular because of the heat and lack of water. But I grew up and moved away from there, looking for the greener pastures of Northern San Francisco Bay area.

Now we’re back along the central coast, halfway between S.F. and Los Angeles and I once again have to plant drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants. I’m beginning to look at succulents differently and give them space in the landscape around our home.

“Succulent” refers to plants that have a unique ability to store moisture in fleshy stems, leaves, or roots. They are not a family in themselves but are represented in many plant families. Like cacti and succulents, many plants found in dry regions of the world have adapted to dry climates by storing moisture in their tissues. Just so you know, cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

Agave adds structure and form to garden bed.

Agave adds structure and form to garden bed.

Succulents need little care other than removing withered blossoms. They can be fed in early spring using low nitrogen, slow-acting fertilizer like fish emulsion or kelp, or by using a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10. Fertilizer for succulents should be diluted at a rate of ¼ of that recommended on the packaging.

Both Mediterranean plants and succulents have similar growing requirements – sun to semi-shade and little water. They can be planted in “zones” (areas where plants with similar needs are planted). Both succulents and Mediterranean plants survive in soil that lacks an abundance of humus and is well draining. They do not thrive in wet clay soil and need protection in climates that fall below 30º for any length of time.

Succulents can be planted in pots and placed around the garden or indoors in a sunny window. Pots need to have a hole in the bottom for drainage. Use a fast draining soil mixture with pumice, perlite or decomposed granite or a commercial soil mixture made specifically for succulents.

Sansevieria in brown and white pot.

Page 150 from book “Prick” by Gynelle Leon featuring Sansevieria in pot.

I picked up a little book in the Cambria Library that has helped me learn to be more successful with growing succulents and creating little “potted wonders”. The book, named “Prick” (don’t you love it), authored by Gynelle Leon is described by Amazon Books as: “A modern guide to the fashionable world of prickly, spiny houseplants”.

Page 154-155 in Gynelle Leon's book "Prick". Pages feature Sedum Morganianum.

Page 154-155 in Gynelle Leon’s book “Prick”. Pages feature Sedum Morganianum.

“Cacti and succulents are the hottest new trend. These spiny little plants are taking Instagram by storm, and are steadily making their way into the most stylish homes. With their striking shapes and many different colors, they provide the perfect, low maintenance design accent for contemporary living spaces. Easy to care for, they also bring tranquility and mindfulness.

Gynelle Leon founded London’s first ever shop dedicated to cacti and succulent, called Prick. Here, with inspirational and achievable styling tips and advice, she shares her secrets to using these plants to transform your home. With profiles on the huge range of cactus varieties and information on caring for and styling your houseplants, this is the perfect guide to “bringing the outdoors in.”

Leon’s book will show you how to pot and repot your succulents. She’ll also describe their needs and the best environment for them. Succulents and Mediterranean plants require little other than sun or semi-shade and good drainage. It is no wonder they play a major role in Central Coast gardens.

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