Mini Rock Garden and other fun gardening adventures

Well, obviously I haven’t been sewing or crafting much lately. After my last post I fell headlong into the house buying process, and since then my life has been filled with inspections, mortgage approval, moving, Burning Man, decorating, and other general homeownership projects. It’s been a lot of fun!

For the first time, we have outdoor space: a yard, a patio, and a front stoop! All of these are screaming to be filled with plants and other beautiful objects, so I’ve been starting to get into gardening. I’m still a very hands-off (read: lazy) kind of gardener. Fortunately my favorite plants have always been cacti and succulents. This weekend we were invited to join our friends Mike and Christina on a bike ride to the plant sale at the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park. It was a gorgeous day so how could we say no? I ended up buying a succulent (Sedum spathulafolium “Cape Blanco”), which kind of completely fell apart on the bike ride home, a lovely, spikey, purple dyckia, and three alpine rock garden plants.

Here’s the dyckia:

Spikey

It might look better in an orange or blue pot to offset its purple color, but for now I’m enjoying the subtle monochromatic look of this planting.

I had never heard of alpine rock garden plants before, but I loved how they looked. Tight, tiny clusters of rosettes, hard to the touch; very textural and detailed. I decided to buy a few and make a rock garden.

The Botanical Gardens didn’t have any pots or soil for sale, so we decided to make a trek east to my favorite nursery, Cactus Jungle. We bought our wedding centerpiece and favor succulents there a few years back. The staff was awesome about planting them and housing them for a couple months while they grew in. They’re always really helpful and knowledgable, and the variety of plants they keep in stock is always beautiful fun to peruse. Hap (one of the co-owners, I believe) helped me pick a sedum and some sempervivums that would work well with the alpine rock plants I’d gotten. I chose a square fiberclay pot that looks like cement (but is much lighter weight!) to put them in, and rainbow rocks for mulch. Here’s the result:

Rock plant pot

I’m really happy with how it turned out! I can’t wait to see how it grows in. My only concern is that it’s not going to get enough light in our little patio or shaded backyard. I’m afraid to put it on our front porch, which is south-facing and gets sun all day, because it’s so imminently stealable. I guess I’ll just keep an eye on it to make sure it’s not dying and move it if it starts looking unhappy.

Rock garden

  • Top left: Sempervivum arachnoidium
  • Top center: Saxifraga cochlearis minor
  • Top right: Sempervivum (I didn’t note the particular type)
  • Middle left: Sempervivum (another that I didn’t make note of)
  • Middle right: Saxifraga winifred bevington
  • Bottom left: Sedum ogon
  • Bottom right: Raoulia lutescens

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