This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
The bed looked natural and easy, giving variety and uniformity combined in a small space, and consequently the manner of its make-up we recommend for small resources.
For larger gardens that can afford to grow such plants by the score or hundred, a series of beds set apart for this order of grouping could not fail to be interesting. Each bed might contain a few varieties in greater numbers of the taller of these grotesque-looking plants, while each could be carpeted over with an undergrowth of a suitable colour and habit, so as more conspicuously to bring out the different hues and habits of the plants used. The low-growing snowy Antennaria tomentosa, the close glaucous Sedums and variegated Saxifrages, would bring out the dark-green colour and strikingly sturdy appearance of such as Sempervivum giganteum, fig. 3, p. 54, which is also engraved from a photograph, or it would display itself to great advantage dotted over an undergrowth, the mossy Mesembryanthemum cordifolium aureum, or even the common Cerastium tomentosum.
The fine dark grassy-green carpeting of Sedum lividum brings out both the character and glaucous hue of Echeveria glauco metallica, fig. 4, p. 53. Many of the Sempervivums grow to a considerable height, having strong stems surmounted with a large table-looking rosette of beautifully-formed leaves, and can therefore be associated, the dark greens with groundworks of the more dwarf and glaucous Echeverias and Sempervivums; and carpeting for the more dwarf varieties can be formed of glaucous Sedums and silvery Saxifrages.
Some of the AEoniums are exceedingly interesting-looking plants, and very effective for this order of gardening. AEonium ciliare, fig. 5, is one of the most interesting-looking of the dwarf varieties, and looks well on a carpeting of such as Saxifraga rosularis or Sedum hispanicum. These figures will, we hope, suffice to show the interesting character of these plants to those who are not acquainted with them.
Fig. 5. - AEONIUM Ciliare.
All the dwarf hardy Sempervivums, Sedums, and Saxifrages multiply themselves rapidly by offsets, and by being divided frequently a large stock is rapidly got up. The tall Sempervivums and AEoniums are multiplied from young side-shoots, which strike freely at any time of the year in a gentle heat. Most of the Echeverias can be raised from seed as easily as any tender annual; while some of them, such as E. secunda, make offsets freely. Plants of E. metallica, E. secunda, kept in and impregnated when in bloom, swell seed-pods rapidly; and if the seed is sown in early spring and pushed forward in heat, fine plants can be had the same season. Agaves are increased more slowly by offsets or suckers formed round the base of stronger plants. All these fleshy plants do best when kept comparatively dried off in the winter, except when it is desirable to keep them in heat to increase them, when they grow more freely when kept moderately moist.
In order to still further illustrate the way in which the following list of plants may be effectively grouped in a different way, and especially when only one large bed can be conveniently devoted to them, we give the following fig. 6, and ways of planting it: -
The broken line - 6 - if made up of small plants, Patchyphytum bracteatum, would look exceedingly well; or the finishing plant to 4 4 and 5 5, can be extended to meet opposite the centres of the four circles: 7, made up of Echeveria secunda glauca, with a Patchyphytum every 2 feet, makes an interesting line; 8, a dense line of Sempervivum Californicum; and 9, the outer line, of Saxifraga pectinata.
The groundwork - 10 - can be of two distinct plants; the one extending from the centre outwards to touch the inner points of 4 and 5, and the other filling up the remainder of it. The inner half might be of the pretty variegated Aubrietia, or the still more common Cerastium kept dwarf - while the outer half may be of a dwarf dense Saxifraga or Sedum; or the entire groundwork may be of one plant, in which case we recommend it to be of some glaucous Saxifrage or dwarf Sempervivum, or some silvery close-growing plant, such as Antennaria tomentosa.
If planting after this manner be too much for a garden's richness in these plants, then let a groundwork be formed, according to fancy or taste, of the dwarf Sedums, Saxifrages, or Sempervivums, and let a few specimens be dotted over it, and finish the bed with two or three lines of some dwarf hardy plants.
1, Centre plant, Agave Americana variegata, surrounded with large plants of Echeveria metallica, the outline being formed of Sempervivum Bolli.
2, 2. Large centre plants of the massive dark green Sempervivum giganteum, surrounded with dwarfer plants of Rochea falcata, finished with Echeveria glauca metallica.
3, 3. Large centre plant of the interesting Sempervivum robustum, surrounded with Sempervivum Canariense, and finished with Echeveria retusa glauca.
4, 4. Large centre plants of AEonium arboreum, surrounded with Patchyphytum bracteatum, and finished with Echeveria atropurpurea.
5, 5. Centre plant of Kleimia ficoides, surrounded with Echeveria pulverulenta, and finished with Echeveria secunda glauca major.
We do not recommend the mixing in of these curious-looking plants with flowering things. Were we to make an exception, it would be in favour of Mesembryanthemums.
A circular bed of this sort can easily be traced out into many different patterns; but in this, as in all flower-garden arrangements, we advocate simplicity and ease. All intricate angularities, especially when attempted within a circular bed, we regard as little better than a confusion of things, and as lessening the chances of successfully accomplishing the end in view.
aeonium arboreum. aeonium arboreum variegatum. aeonium arboreum atropurpureum. aeonium arboreum vittatum.
aeonium ciliare. aeonium glutinosum.
* Agave Americana.
* Agave Americana medio lineata.
* Agave Americana medio picta.
* Agave Americana medio variegata.
* Agave Americana dealbata.
* Agave Americana filifera.
* Agave Americana geminiflora.
* Agave Americana schidigera. Cotyledon pulverulentum. Crassula arborea. Dasylirion acrotrichum. Dasylirion glaucum.
' Doryanthus excelsa. Echeveria agavoides. * Echeveria atropurpurea.
* Echeveria glauca metallica. * Echeveria navicularis.
* Echeveria nuda. Echeveria gibbiflora. Echeveria pulverulenta. Echeveria pumila.
* Echeveria retusa glauca.
* Echeveria secunda.
* Echeveria secunda glauca.
* Echeveria secunda glauca major. Fourcroya long;eva.
* Hawortbia clariperta. Kleimia ficoides. Kleimia repens. Patchyphytum bracteatum. Rochea falcata.
* Sempervivum bolli. Sempervivum calycinum.
* Sempervivum canariense. Sempervivum dorame. Sempervivum repens. Sempervivum rubricaule. Sempervivum robustum. Sempervivum polystichon. Sempervivum tabrilare. Sempervivum urbicum. Sempervivum giganteum.
Select List of Plants suitable for Covering Beds, and forming Groundworks for the foregoing Plants.
Acaena microphylla, brownish green.
Achillea umbellata, silvery.
Ajuga reptans rubra, almost crimson.
Antennaria tomentosa, silvery white.
Arabis albida variegata, creamy variegated.
Arabis lucida, shining green.
Arabis lucida variegata, golden variegated.
Artemisia frigida, silvery.
Aubrietia deltoidea, green.
Aubrietia deltoidea variegata, white variegated.
Cerastium tomentosum, white.
Mesembryanthemum cordifolium varie-gatum, golden.
Oxalis corniculata rubra, chocolate.
Santolina incana, grey.
Saxifraga aizoon, glaucous green.
Saxifraga aizoon minor, green.
Saxifraga aizoon retusa, green.
Saxifraga crustata, silvery-edged leaves.
Saxifraga crustata hybrida, silvery.
Saxifraga recta, silvery.
Saxifraga hirta, green.
Saxifraga Hostii, silvery-edged leaves.
Saxifraga hypnoides, green.
Saxifraga incrustata, silvery.
Saxifraga intacta, silvery.
Saxifraga intacta minor, silvery.
Saxifraga longifolia, silvery - edged leaves.
Saxifraga oppositifolia, purplish rose. Saxifraga pectinata, silvery - edged leaves. Saxifraga rosularis, silvery-edged leaves. Saxifraga rocheliana, silvery - edged leaves. Saxifraga Rhei, silvery-edged leaves. Sedum brevifolium, glaucous green. Sedum dasyphyllum, glaucous green. Sedum Ewersii, glaucous green. Sedum glaucum, glaucous green. Sedum Hispanicum, pale green. Sedum lividum, rich dark grassy green. Sedum pruinosum, green. Sedum rupester, reddish leaves. Sedum saxfidum, green. Sedum Sieboldii, green and variegated varieties. Sedum eseruleum, glaucous pale green. Sempervivum montanum, dark green. Sempervivum arenarium, green. Sempervivum arachnoideum, green curiously netted with white hairs. Sempervivum Funkii. Sempervivum tectorum, green. Sempervivum Californicum, dark green tipped with brown. Sempervivum globiferum, green. Sempervivum soboliferum. Thymus Corsicus, green. Thymus montanus albus, green.