What a way to spend Memorial Day. I was strolling around Washington with my daughter and a hundred students from her school and other teachers and chaperones. The city was ablaze with the Stars and Stripes on every corner in honor of the holiday weekend.
As we walked from the National Archives to the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian, I had my eye out for unique garden ideas that we can try in our own yards. And one theme kept standing out. Many containers and raised beds were planted with flowers that could withstand hot and dry conditions. Plants that can adapt to any situation are resilient, and of course, strong.
And the amazing stone container in front of the U.S. Attorney General’s office on Pennsylvania Avenue just stopped me in my tracks.
We are all looking for a combination of plants that will look wonderful all summer long without much effort; horticultural soldiers that can really flex their blooming muscles without exhaustion.
We can find these amazing fighters in small packages called succulents. They have thick leaves and stems that hold moisture. That’s why they can last a bit longer in dry conditions. Put a few of them together, and you will create a patchwork of color and texture in a small space. There are hundreds of species, some growing into tall shrubs and others staying low as a ground cover.
A huge container in front of the U.S. Attorney General’s office is packed with different ground cover varieties of sedum that can fight through the hot summer months..
This container had many species with different colors and shapes like Sedum acre. It has petite green stems and dainty yellow flowers. The small plant that is growing in the shape of a long tail is named for a burrow’s tail or donkey tail and is called Sedum morganianum. Some of these long trailing stems can be a few feet long with blue-green leaves, tipped with small red blossoms.
If you see a dwarf version of hen and chicks, you aren’t seeing things. Sedum dendroideum is also known as Stone Treecrop or False Hens-and-Chicks. One of the clusters is called Sedum glaucophyllum and it looks like a green rosette. When it flourishes, it forms a mat in large clumps. It has tiny white flowers with pointed petals.
Sedum rupestre has the signature short thick stems that are a flashy yellow color. Look for other small sedum that are dark plum or pink like Sedum Spurium also known as DragonsBlood or Sedum spurium Voodoo.
Pork and Beans, Sedum rubrotinctum, has a fun name and looks like tiny hot dogs shooting out of the main stem.
Fill your flower boxes and containers with three or four different varieties of sedum. You will be proud when you see them survive the winter and start flexing their blooming muscles again for you next season.
Contact Kelly Heidbreder at email@example.com.