Several years ago I was given a Jade plant by a coworker. He advised me it belonged in the “succulent” or “desert plant” family. Although it did, eventually, die, I found myself intrigued by the benefits and potential of a drought resistant, dry site tolerant sun lover.
Last year, I was given some free sedum divisions by the daughter of one of my neighbors
I think they are Autumn Joy. She had been thinning out a large patch for her mother, and wondered if I wanted any. How could I resist? Free plants? Of course I would love them!
She gave me two plants, which I immediately found homes for. One went next to the garage door, and the other was at the end of the stone path near the boxwood and downspout. They needed to be at the top of the slope, where there was adequate drainage and no chance of sitting water. This side of the house gets more than 6 hours of full sun, and a lot of partial sun in the morning, so I had no worries about meeting their light requirements. And now I had a good plant for erosion control, because it didn’t need to be watered.
When my sister moved in with us for a few months, she brought with her these little squiggly guys (possibly sedum reflexum). I am not a huge fan due to their shallow, but convoluted, root systems. However, they are helping with erosion control, and they were free. But I still need to keep an eye on them. Apparently they are fast spreading creepers, and any cuttings or breakages will quickly root if allowed access to water or soil.
Another plant she brought with her is this ferny guy. I have to confess, I have no idea what he is, and my internet searches have come up blank. He acts like a sedum, though, preferring dry soil to wet soil, and thriving in full sun. He is also a creeper, and because of his pretty little yellow flowers, I don’t mind him spreading out a bit beneath my magnolia, keeping the soil in that location from eroding as badly as some other areas have.
During the winter, Autumn Joy died to the ground (as I expected). This spring, these quarter sized Rosettes emerged from her remains. Aren’t they pretty? I wonder when the flowering stalks start to emerge?
Apparently some of her stalks fell to the ground last year, and like the little squiggly guys, they developed a root system. I now have four more volunteer plants. Two of these guys are going into Forsythia corner for fall interest, the other two will be used as fillers for the side garden.
Here is a small irony-I visited Farrand Farms last year, a local greenhouse, and bought 4 $10 pots of Hens and Chicks (sempervivum). After my purchase, my son had to use the restroom, and while I was waiting I noticed an advertisement on the wall from a man in the area who needed to give away some of his hens and chicks. He was so darling about it, too! When I contacted him, he kept saying “yep, the poultry yard is just too small. Gotta get some foul on the move . . .”
The free Hens were green, and three of my purchased Hens were also green. During the winter, though, the color changed. Nearly every single one of them, except the free transplants, turned purple with the cold. I wonder if they will turn back?
These “Hens & Chicks” were placed throughout my stone path border, as you can see. The leftovers were then planted throughout the lower part of the slope near the iris and peonies, to help with erosion control. They aren’t stopping it altogether, but they are helping a great deal. Once I have more established ground cover, I will remove them. Or I just may let them become the ground cover, they do spread rather quickly . . .