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: