Red Flower 2

Learning to love succulents

I could not understand why the garden beds were planted with so many succulent plants when we first moved in.  To me, they were unattractive and at odds with the lush growth of a cottage garden, which I preferred, and also with the natural bushland, which abounds here.  My initial intention was to pull them all out and replace them with flowering shrubs.  The succulents have survived in the garden for this long because I noticed honeyeaters like the Red Wattle Bird, the Eastern Spinebill, and Yellow Faced Honeyeater all feed from the succulent flowers.

Recently, at a CFA (Country Fire Authority) information session, I picked up the booklet  ‘Landscaping for Bushfire: Garden Design and Plant Selection‘ published by the CFA.   One of the things discussed in the booklet is plant flamability.  Succulents have high moisture content in their leaves, and have a much lower flamability rating than plants such as rosemary and lavender which have high oil content and are much more succeptible to ignition in the event of a bushfire.

After reading this, I looked at our garden with new eyes.  It has been designed to have a low flamability risk. Along with the succulent plants, the garden beds are covered with gravel and pebbles (another recommendation in the CFA landscaping booklet).   Mulch and tanbark are flamable.  Stones are not.

Looking more closely at the succulents we have in our garden, I saw that many of them have interesting structural forms or flowers.  In the fernery, two cactus have produced brilliant large flowers – one white, one red – and another has a large flower spike covered in tiny flowers.

Yesterday, I took my camera out to capture some of these newfound delights:

2 thoughts on “Learning to love succulents

  1. BEAUTIFUL!! 😀 Doing a Google search, trying to find the name of the succulent that blooms the huge RED flower.. mine died after decades. 😦 Your garden is Gorgeous and succulents are all kinds of AMAZING!! 😉

    1. Thank you! As each day passes, I realise how important they are for the wildlife too. The flowers sustain the honeyeaters when not much else is in flower, and this year, when there wasn’t much to eat in the bush (it was a very hot and dry Summer) the kangaroos ate the leaves of the succulents because of the high water content. So, the ones in my backyard and fernery are beautiful, but the ones outside the fenced yard have been eaten down to almost nothing. I will need to see what I can do about propogating them.

      I’m not sure what the name of the large red flower is either. I did see it in a book, in a bookshop, but I eneded up buying a book about Sourdough instead. If I find out, I will post it in a comment.

      Anyway, the upshot is that I am going to be finding and planting more succulents over the next month or two.

      Thanks for commenting on my post. I love hearing everyone’s thoughts.

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