The Great Escape

Introduction

One of the most exciting developments in the growing of cacti and succulents is their use in less orthodox settings than those of the traditional greenhouse or sunny windowsill. Let them break out! Some of these plants are fully hardy, and can stay out in beds and borders all the year round, creating some of the most unusual garden effects likely to be seen in the UK. An even wider range of planting can be achieved by using cacti and succulents in half hardy schemes, where they are put outside once the danger of frost has passed.

These plants lend themselves to the creation of novel and exciting garden displays, in gravel and scree beds, rockeries etc., which have a more contemporary feel than the traditional lawn and borders. They also have great value as accent planting, in containers, or maybe in a gap in the paving slabs on your patio or sitting out area.

There are also solid, pratical considerations to take into account when considering using some of these ideas in your garden. After years of problems with drought and hosepipe bans, there is a growing interest in using plants which are more drought resistant, and which do not require regular watering. Indeed, these plants are adapted to thrive in dry conditions, and will show no sign of damage during prolonged dry spells. However, they are sufficiently adaptable to welcome a good soaking when it does come.

This means that Water Companies’ exhortations to save water will no longer mean guilty forays with the hosepipe into the garden after dark, or carting bathwater and washing-up water outside to give the usual water-guzzling displays of petunias, geraniums etc. a good soaking. There is also a saving in time, which is an important factor in the increasingly busy lives which we all lead now, and, perhaps even more importantly, in the distress that results when you were actually too busy to water your plants, which proceed to reward you with catastophic wilting!

This approach to gardening is an ideal low-maintenance solution, and is especially good for small problem areas, like a tiny front garden, a patio area, a courtyard, or for focal points around entrance doors, and so on.

At Glenhirst Cactus Nursery, they have tried a variety of approaches and planting schemes, both small and large in scale, and there has always been a lot of interest shown by their customers, and curiosity about how to set things up, which plants can be used, and whether the plantings are temporary or permanent. Most schemes are very easy to do, relatively cheap to set up, and easy to care for once they are established.

Containers

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to start to use cacti and succulents is by planting them up in interesting pots and containers.

Containers have the advantage of portability, so that you can move them around the garden when you are ready for a change. They also give the widest choice of plant material, as almost all cacti and succulents will stand outside happily once the danger of frost has passed. They colour up particularly well in full daylight, and as succulents in particular have some mouth-watering shades of pink, lilac, turquoise and purple, they make very striking accent planting. Although cacti and succulents flower quite readily, the rosette like forms of many of the succulents, and their appetising and pretty colours, mean that the plants themselves function almost like flowers in terms of showiness and colour. Pots can also be removed to a frost free place over winter, ready for display the following season; this gives scope for displaying your plants inside in the winter, in a frost free conservatory or garden room, or in a well-lit spot in the house.

The selection of pots available is almost infinite in the range of style and prices. Look at some of the imported terracotta pots and decorated pottery which lends itself very sympathetically to the tones and textures of these plants. Any one of a big Agave americana, a green Aeonium arboreum, or a glossy purple Aeonium zwartkopf makes a super central focus, and Crassula marginalis will spread and soften the sides of the pot with its green to maroon leaves. The bluish green arching stems of Sedum sieboldii also make a contrasting and softening trailing accompaniment. A planter with a pedestal base, or one with a curved top tapering to a narrower foot complement these very well. Don’t overlook the cheaper plastic options; they come in a wide range of colours and shapes and can look very effective.

Look also at strawberry pots, which can look very effective planted up with trailing plants, like the Sedum morganianum “Donkey’s Tail”, or Ceropegia woodii, with its attractive, trailing heart-shaped purple and grey leaves and delicate, lantern-shaped flowers.

Echeverias lend themselves to all sorts of plantings; these colourful rosettes, reminiscent of ornamental cabbage, grow into large plants which will make striking single plants in a pot in time. They are also very good for mass planting, when smaller. We have a pottery cat at the Nursery, lying indolently amongst a mass of succulents, and “fishing” in a “pond” of small blue and green Echeverias, which looks very effective. We have used Echeveria derenbergii and Echeveria subsessilis, though E. peacockii, E. dereceana, or Graptoveria ‘Fanfare’ would be just as effective.

“Cascades” are a cheap and effective option. The technique here is to take a series of 3 or 4 pots in increasing sizes. Fill each pot in turn with a well draining compost, and wire them all together in a column. This gives a large and dramatic foundation once established, for planting up with a spiky, upright focal plant, like Pitcairnia ferruginea, or a small Agave or Aloe, or perhaps a largish Echeveria, in the topmost pot, and with cascades of trailing succulents with contrasting colours and leaf shapes, planted around the edges of all the pots, and which will tumble down from the pots in time. Choose one of, or a mixture, of trailing succulents like Crassula marginalis, Sedum sieboldii, Sedum morganianum, or Ceropegia woodii. Pinch the tips of the plants out to make a thicker growth (and use the bits you pinch out as cuttings! Just push them into the compost around the plants, and most of them will root readily to increase the luxuriance of the foliage). Because the pots are effectively “clothed” by the trailing plants, this is an ideal opportunity to use cheap plastic flower pots, while creating a very expensive looking display!

Sempervivums, or house leeks, can fill containers with hardy planting. Because they are small scale, they will not overrun their site and they cluster up in a colourful textured series of little rosettes. We have planted up an old pair of black leather boots which belonged to one of our sons; Sempervivums spill from the toecaps and the top of the boots, one of which stands upright, while its pair lies on its side. This has been in place for five years now, without excessive weathering, and has always created lots of interest. We have seen old boots and shoes used in a variety of ways, including suspended as a very quirky hanging basket!

You can try all sorts of odd containers – think about old woks, teapots, casseroles, and even house bricks! Those decorative bricks, used for ornamental walling with a variety of pierced patterns, can be laid flat and planted up with a pretty mix of contrasting Sedums, like Sedum acre “Golden Queen”, Sedum mural “Coral Carpet”, Sedum hispanicum “Silver Carpet” and Sedum Spathulifolium purpureum, all of which are totally hardy, and spread rapidly to soften the edges. If you have the misfortune to break a favourite pot, you can often plant it up anyway, in an interestingly “distressed” effect, with shards of broken pot amongst the plants (take care that the sharp edges are not a danger to you, your children, your pets or anyone else, though!)

Some of our most dramatic and surprising containers have resulted from our tree-felling activities. When our children were small, we grew them a “wood” to adventure in with tents, bonfires, tree houses etc. However, the children have grown up and the trees have grown too tall, so Neville has spent the last couple of years as an amateur lumberjack. As a result, we have loads of sections of tree trunk, especially some enormous willow branches, and we also have an assortment of tree stumps. To our surprise, you can scoop out small sections, press just enough compost in to give the plants a start and all sorts of plants are growing happily in these strange hosts. The tree stumps are clothed with strokeable clumps of Sedums, which are growing perfectly happily. The logs, too, harbour combinations of Sempervivums, Crassulas and Sedums, all co-existing with an almost surreal effect.

A variety of cacti and succulents growing within an old log

On a more practical note, Christmas cacti, Aporocacti and Epiphyllums all appreciate a summer spell outside, and they are reputed to grow and flower better as a result.

Cultivation Advice for Containers

Unlike the usual problems with water-guzzling plants in pots, the most important thing to avoid with container-grown cacti and succulents is the plants standing for long periods without drying out. Make sure the container you choose has drainage holes (often omitted in cheaper plastic containers, though it is a matter of moments to make some with a drill). Any compost, either peat-based, or one of the John Innes soil based composts (numbers 2 or 3), is suitable, preferably with the addition of horticultural grit to ensure that it is free-draining. Additional drainage material in the bottom of the pot is a good idea, both to protect the plants from standing with “wet feet” and to reduce the amount, and therefore cost, of the compost you will need. We have found polystyrene chippings, used as packing material, make a low cost and, perhaps equally importantly, light-weight source of drainage material for the bottom third of the pot. A big pot planted up can be very heavy!

Plants standing outside in containers seldom need watering; natural rainfall takes care of all their requirements, but an occasional watering in dry spells and an occasional feed in the growing season would be appreciated. These plantings will last for a long time with a little simple house-keeping in the form of tidying away dead leaves, and pinching out growing tips of the trailing succulents to ensure that there is a luxuriant and thick trailing growth. The colours will be more intense if the pots are standing in a good light, but the “other succulents” will live quite happily in more shaded positions.

Gravel and Scree Beds

On a larger scale, there are many dramatic possibilities offered by using cacti and succulents in outside beds. Gravel planted up with a variety of exotic plants makes for a very striking and unusual garden, with much less maintenance required than is usual with traditional herbaceous borders, and with no need for the endless work which goes into keeping lawns looking their best.

We have tried two types at the Nursery. In the first instance we cleared a long south-facing border adjoining the house, dug it over well and planted it up with a mixture of Yuccas, including the spectacular Yucca gloriosa variegata. The unvariegated Yuccas have rewarded us with enormous, long-lasting spikes of white flowers, and we have high hopes that they will all flower eventually. Phormiums have made large, dramatic clumps to act as a striking backdrop to smaller plants. They come in a range of colours including the red leaved “Sundowner”, and variegated green and yellow “Yellow Wave”, and the true species Tenax variegatum which has impressive long black stalks bearing orange flowers; the added bonus is that these plants also set seed. Agaves make wonderful, spiky architectural plants for accent planting. Hardy Opuntias, and assorted Echeverias and Aeoniums have been effective for medium level planting, and Sempervivums, Sedums, Saxifrages, Lewisias and Crassulas have been used for lower level planting. This bed was surface dressed with gravel, and we used all sorts of interesting rocks, flints, river stones and even an old (well-cleaned!) sheep skull acquired on a Lake District holiday to add interest. There is an ornamental pond in the middle of the bed, and we have made a shallow, meandering pebble and rock filled “dry” stream (“Dead Man’s Gulch” complete with the sheep skull!) which weaves its way through the bed. This has been very effective, and the plants have thrived for years despite ours being a very damp, rich fertile siltland soil. The drainage has improved over time as extra gravel layers have been added. However, and this is a very big reservation, do not believe anyone who claims that gravel is a weed-suppressing mulch! On the contrary, we have found it to be a perfect seed-raising bed for every opportunist weed, and especially for silver birch seedlings (courtesy of the “wood” mentioned above!)

As time has gone on and the tree felling has continued, we decided that the first scree bed was so effective that we would make more beds in the newly cleared areas. We have replaced trees and grass along the frontage with more gravel beds planted up with cacti and succulents. We are unmissable now, for, as well as looking for the GLENHIRST CACTUS NURSERY sign, callers just need to look out for a mini Arizona desert! It is very interesting, if distracting, to sit in the office at the front of the house and watch passers-by, including a slow-moving crocodile of diminutive pupils from the local Primary School, stopping to have a good look at the plants!

Our second approach was again to clear a bed, but we wanted to avoid the weeding which is a constant chore in the first bed. This time we have planted into black polythene, used over the whole surface of the bed, before top-dressing with gravel. This has been a complete success, and very cheap to do, and there is almost no maintenance necessary whatsoever, as weeds cannot get established. We have been a bit concerned, however, as the black polythene is completely impermeable, so when we finished the bed off by replacing the remaining lawn, we used a permeable membrane instead. However, this is a costlier option, and the initial planting into polythene has shown no ill effects after a year.

We have been so happy with the amount of time we have saved on weeding (or lawn mowing, as the latest beds were recently under grass), that we plan further landscaping in future. We also intend to modify the original bed bordering the house wall and path down to the glasshouse, and as sections are re-planted or cut back as part of ongoing maintenance, we will line each section with black polythene or membrane, so that the weeding can be kept to a minimum.

Gravel surfaces also offer a useful hard-standing area for plants in pots which can be moved around quite readily, as required.

The bed with black polythene has been planted as before with an assortment of plants; Phormiums, Yuccas, Agave americana and Agave americana variegata, Cordyline australis, Opuntia subulata, which makes 5 feet high towers, and the scrambling Opuntia compressa, with profuse yellow flowers in the summer. Lots of cacti, mainly Cereus and Opuntias, grow happily here throughout the summer, and the hardy Opuntias are much easier to maintain in weed-free beds, because if weeds got in amongst them, their care would be a nightmare!

We have tried to ensure that there is not too much work involved taking plants in and out in the autumn and the spring by keeping some permanent focal planting. We do also experiment with some of the plants. Two big Agave americanas, and several smaller ones, stayed out during the winter and survived relatively unscathed, and quite a few “strays” which we forgot to round up also made it through the winter, including several Echeverias. An easier option is to keep plants in their pots and to bed them out, pots and all, in outside beds and borders; lifting them in the autumn is very quick and easy, although the plants will not make so much growth if they do not have the free root run which direct planting offers them.

You can always experiment, and try leaving some plants out, but do make sure you can afford to lose the plant!(See our companion article, Plants for Free, for instructions on how to increase your plant stocks, so that you have some sacrificial victims to experiment on!)

A further consideration is offering winter protection in situ. If the plants aren’t in a situation where they would look too unsightly, you can try a variety of protective measures. Plants can be covered in cloches, a temporary cold frame could be assembled around the bed, or try wrapping them in bubble polythene.

Many of our plants are actually very cold resistant, and it is constant wetness which is most damaging to them, especially when water collects in the tops of the plants. You could, therefore, consider a halfway house with overhead protection from the elements, similar to a situation we saw in Cornwall, where a paved, open-sided cafeteria area was planted up, with a Novolux roof supported on a timber framework to protect the plants (and customers!). We are considering an extension to the glasshouse (as more trees come down!), which will consist of an outside bed with overhead protection, so that all of the Agaves can be bedded out and grow into real triffid-like monsters.

The position of your outside beds needs a little thought before you start digging and planting. Your plants stand the best chance of survival if you choose a sunny, and if possible South-facing position. A house wall offers protection to your plants, as it creates a more sheltered micro climate for the plants to flourish in; a light coloured wall offers extra benefits, because it reflects the sunlight. A raised bed with good drainage will prevent the plants getting too wet at the roots; you can consider either a sloping site or a raised bed. The milder South and West of the country offers extra advantages, as does the slightly higher temperature micro climate found in cities, especially London. The South East corner of England, which actually extends as far as the Wash and Lincolnshire is also good for these plants, because it is sunny and dry.

You can select other plants to complement your cacti and succulents. Look at the grey and silver leaved Meditteranean shrubs, and herbaceous plants. Mahonias, with their stiff, spiky leaves and yellow flowers borne in winter go very sympathetically with these plants, and there are many varieties of Euphorbia to consider (but beware their milky, irritant sap). Cordyline australis is an interesting palm which is hardy here in Lincolnshire, but may need winter protection in colder areas. Trachycarpus fortunei is another hardy palm, slow-growing, but worth the wait! Bamboos are dramatic and fast growing, with interesting colours choice in the canes, and look too at some of the ornamental grasses which are becoming increasingly popular. Irises have dramatic foliage and the benefit of showy flowers. The dramatic spiky black leaves of Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens are also a marvellous foil for lower level plants, and then there is the whole range of more succulent alpines, like some of the Sedums, Saxifrages. Lampranthus, Lewisias etc.

Rockeries and Ponds

In some ways a rockery is probably one of the best possible settings for cacti and succulents, because the raised situation means they have the good drainage which they love. It also means you have an alternative rockery with a different set of approaches to the more traditional version. One of the problems of traditional rockery plants lies in their very vigour, which means that weeding can become something of a nightmare. Cacti and succulents offer a more minimalist approach, which means a lot less care. If you choose the more succulent carpeting plants, you can still have a well-filled feel, with an unusual character. There is a whole range of attractive contrasting Sedums, like Sedum acre “Golden Queen”, Sedum mural “Coral Carpet”, Sedum hispanicum “Silver Carpet” and Sedum Spathulifolium purpureum, which are ideal for this purpose. Sedum pachyclada makes lovely, clumps of small silvery grey-green rosettes. There’s also a wide choice of Lampranthus, Mesembryanthemums and Saxifrages to consider. Sempervivums have been hybridised to create a rich variety of shades, with almost purple-black varieties like Dark Beauty, bronzes like Bronze Pastel and Caramel, and the rich reds of Red Shadow and Rubra Ash. Bi-colours, like Strawberry Fields and Mulberry Wine also offer exciting possibilities.

We have always loved the sight and sound of water, so ponds have always gone hand in hand with our rockeries and outside beds, and we have found succulents the answer to the pond edging problem, where unsightly liner edges can spoil the effect. We have used a mixture of the carpeting plants mentioned above, and the effect is quite stunning, especially again as you have such unusual and appetising colour effects, with purples, maroons, turquoise blue and grey.

Accent Planting

This is similar to displaying plants in containers, in that you may focus on an island bed, a gap in the paving slabs in a courtyard or on a patio, or maybe consider planting into the top of walls etc.

The most important counsel is that “less is more”; these plants lend themselves to dramatic effects, so they need to be seen in relative isolation. Again, look at Agaves, Aeoniums, Yuccas, and columnar cacti, like tall Cereus and Opuntias, with smaller, more scrambling plants around them. Agaves make wonderful dramatic focal plants, used amongst more traditional garden plants. Or a massed purple bed of Aeonium zwartkopf could make a real talking point.

Most of the plants are half hardy, so you need to plan for their care in the winter months. They will survive in an unheated greenhouse or conservatory for use the next year, or you can pot them up for indoor display during colder months of the year.

Carpet Bedding

This is a more formal approach to planting, much loved by the Victorians; more recently it has often been associated with municipal parks, where massed displays of Salvias and French marigolds were the staple fare, before falling out of favour in the last ten or fifteen years, when informal drifts and colour-themed beds have been more in favour.

Succulent plants lend themselves to a much subtler and more sophisticated version of these effects. Eastbourne was adept at using plants like ours in formal seafront planting; other resorts use Sedums etc. for their planted clocks and coats of arms.

Suitable plants are contrasting Echeverias, Sedums, Saxifrages and Orostachys spinosus (like a miniature green sunflower). Although the plants will make some growth during the season, it is important that you have enough plants to make an effective display right from the start, and succulents, with their ease of propagation, are a good source of abundant plant material. You may need to plan propagation one year ahead to obtain sufficient plants for the following year.

Before you begin planting, you should plan your scheme carefully on paper. This is an extremely formal approach to gardening, so you need to select a regular geometrical shape, e.g. a rectangle, square etc, which is then subdivided into diamonds, smaller squares etc. Go for contrast both in colour and tone; the planting needs to be bold enough for the pattern to be easily distinguishable.

When you begin planting, put your outlines in first. If you have been ambitious and planned a very large scheme, you can pour silver sand from a bottle to draw in your outlines, or mark them in the soil with a sharp stick. You may find it easier if you drop plants into position, to check spacing, before starting to plant them at regular intervals. You can then fill in as required.

We have found the best schemes were the simplest, with one darker outlining plant to make a series of diamond shapes, which were then filled in with alternating lighter plants. Generous filling was also of paramount importance. You want the bed to look reasonably well-filled right from the start, though obviously you need to allow space for some growth throughout the season.

Echeverias are probably the plant of first choice for a simple, one plant scheme. Choose contrasting colours, like the deep purple Black Prince and pale lilac Perle von Nurnberg, for example. You will need to do a bit of simple maintenance on the bed to keep it looking good. Watch for buds; we tried to prevent the plants from flowering because it tended to muddy the precision of the pattern; you may not want to be quite so hard-hearted!

You can also consider the wide range of mat-forming Sedums which will make a fine display, like the pale green Sedum acre “Golden Queen”, maroon Sedum mural “Coral Carpet”, and purple Sedum Spathulifolium purpureum, while Sedum hispanicum “Silver Carpet” and Sedum Spathulifolium capa blanca offer pale silvery white contrasts. You could be really ambitious and plan an elaborate scheme using the Sedums for background planting, Echeverias for contrasting boundary lines, and a big variegated Agave americana variegata as a dramatic central focal point.

Conclusion

In conclusion, once you start thinking about how to use your plants in a wider setting, the possibilities are almost limitless. The only constraint is your own imagination. We would always be interested to hear from any of you if you have come up with a particularly inspired idea which you would like to share with our other customers!

Good luck and happy growing from all at Glenhirst Cactus Nursery!

Recommended Plants

When choosing plants for use in your outside planting schemes, the following varieties will act as a guide:-

TRUE CACTI
705 CORYPHANTHA VIVIPARA ARIZONICA, a clumping species with large red to magenta flowers. Very hardy and can be grown outside in GB all through the year
740 ECHINOCEREUS BAILEYII, white spines tinged pink, large light purple flwrs. Hardy outside in the UK
842 ECHINOCEREUS TRIGLOCHIDIATUS, sparse, but long white and black spines. Long lasting deep red flowers
843.1 ECHINOCEREUS TRIGLOCHIDIATUS MOJAVENSIS, a clumping species with strong grey curving spines and scarlet flowers. Hardy outside in the UK
846 ECHINOCEREUS VIRIDIFLORUS, offsetting and producing unusual yellowish-green flowers
846.2 ECHINOCEREUS VIRIDIFLORUS MONTANUS, yellow-green flowers on a globular or cylindrical plant. Hardy outside in the UK

WINTER HARDYOPUNTIA
All these plants are hardy in Great Britain if grown in a well-drained position. No protection is needed. Surprise your neighbours!
2115 OPUNTIA COMPRESSA, prostrate spreading padded plants with large yellow flowers. May be hardy in a well-drained rockery
2127 OPUNTIA HYSTRICINA, a low growing, clump forming species with almost circular pads often flushed pink or purple. Large yellow flowers. Hardy in GB
2139 OPUNTIA PHAEACANTHA, bushy plants with oval pads. Hardy outside in GB on a well drained site. Yellow flowers
2167 OPUNTIA TORTISPINA CYMOCHILA, a prostrate scrambler made up of circular pads about 8 cm across. Very large yellow flowers. Hardy outside in GB

OTHER SUCCULENTS
3014 AEONIUM ARBOREUM, branching stems bearing bright green rosettes. Up to 1 metre high. Tall golden-yellow flowers
3028 AEONIUM ZWARTKOPF rare and very impressive, glossy-black rosettes on long stems
3038 ALOE ARISTATA, narrow-leaved rosette, with a very tall flower stalk and orange red flowers. Hardy in a well-drained rockery.
3191.2 CORDYLINE AUSTRALIS, hardy palm
3260 CRASSULA SARCOCAULON (PINK), a very nice Bonsai subject. Pink flowers in autumn. Will stand lots of frost
3276 ECHEVERIA AFFINIS, impressive dark olive green rosettes, almost black.
3288 ECHEVERIA BLACK PRINCE, like all the dark Echeveria this is a highly prized ‘catch’. Red-maroon to almost black leaves
3289.1 ECHEVERIA BIG BLUE, beautiful, glaucous grey-blue leaves in a large rosette
3304 ECHEVERIA DERENBERGII, tight grey bloomed, compact rosettes, orange and yellow flowers
3308 ECHEVERIA DERENOSA, flat grey leaves with scarlet edge
3325 ECHEVERIA GLAUCA, grey-bloomed leaves in large rosettes, clustering, with rose pink flowers
3358 ECHEVERIA PEACOCKII, rosettes of long tapering blue white leaves; intense red flowers
3364 ECHEVERIA PERLE VON NURNBERG, amazing purple leaved hybrid with geranium pink flowers
3375 ECHEVERIA REINELT, apple-green tapering leaves with red tips and edges
3391 ECHEVERIA SUBSESSILIS, rosettes of blue-grey leaves with red edges.
3475.1 GRAPTOVERIA FANFARE, rosettes of long narrow leaves with a blue-grey bloom. Yellow flowers
3545 LAMPRANTHUS COPIOSUS, spreading and branching stems with small, narrow leaves. Large pink flowers which stay open day and night. Good for summer bedding
3546 LAMPRANTHUS PRIMIVERNUS, erect stems to 30cm tall with narrow leaves. Lots of salmon pink flowers. Useful for bedding out in summer
3547 LAMPRANTHUS ROSEUS, a bushy plant with thin, branching stems. Valued in bedding displays for its many large lilac flowers
3549 LEWISIA MIXTURE SUNSET STRAIN, flat rosettes of dark green leaves; hardy in a well drained rockery. Noteworthy for the numerous and long-lived flowers in shades of white, pink and red
3562 NOLINA GREENEI, an architectural plant about 1 metre tall bearing long, narrow, pendulous leaves. Has a tall flowering spike. Hardy in a well drained rockeryy
3577 OROSTACHYS SPINOSUS, grey green rosette – reminiscent of a miniature green sunflower head! Yellow flowers. Hardy
3625.8 RUSCHIA MAXIMA, branching thick grey stems up to 30cm tall with translucent dots. Large pink flowers. Good outside in summer
3625.9 RUSCHIA MULTIFLORA, branching stems growing up to 1m tall. Greyish-green narrow leaves. Numerous large, white flowers
3634 SEDUM LINEARE VARIEGATA, a mat forming variegated form with small narrow leaves. Excellent in a hanging basket or pot and hardy outside in most parts of the Country
3639 SEDUM SIEBOLDII VARIEGATA, arching stems with variegated cream and grey leaves and pink flowers
3639.1 SEDUM SIEBOLDII, arching stems up to 25cm long bearing round bluish-green leaves; pink flowers
3775 YUCCA WHIPPLEI, a dramatic and hardy architectural plant, with sword-like leaves and beautiful, tall white inflorescences
3776 YUCCA FILAMENTOSA, a fully-hardy garden variety with tall spikes of cream flowers
3777 YUCCA GLORIOSA VARIEGATA, hardy in the garden, forming rosettes of pointed leaves with yellow edges and cream flowers on a long spike
4550 DICKSONIA ANTARCTICA, evergreen, tree-like fern that resembles a palm. Stout trunks covered with brown fibres crowned with arching, much divided, palm-like fronds
4575 OPHIOPOGON PLANISCAPUS NIGRESCENS, fascinating evergreen spreading clump-forming perennial, grown for its distinctive grass-like black leaves; lilac flowers and black fruits
4800 RAOUILA AUSTRALIS, creeping and mat-forming with minute grey leaves
4960 SEDUM ACRE GOLDEN QUEEN, evergreen, mat-forming perennials, ideal for carpet bedding, with dense spreading shoots, clothed in tiny, fleshy, pale green leaves, variegated yellow; abundant small yellow flowers
4970 SEDUM HISPANICUM ‘SILVER CARPET’, mat-forming grey-green plants coverd in miniature cylindrical leaves. Pink to white flowers cover the plant in summer
4980 SEDUM MURAL ‘CORAL CARPET’, small rounded or cylindrical leaves, green, red and maroon. Mat-forming, so good for carpet bedding. Small white flowers
4983 SEDUM PACHYCLADOS, mound-forming species with dark-green leaves and masses of pinkish flowers
4985 SEDUM SPATHULIFOLIUM CAPA BLANCA, another Sedum perfect for dramatic carpet bedding! Flat rosettes of fleshy, silvery leaves; clusters of small yellow flowers
4986 SEDUM SPATHULIFOLIUM PURPUREUM, flat rosettes of fleshy grey and purple leaves, an unusual and contrasting colour choice for carpet bedding. Clusters of small yellow flowers

PHORMIUMS – NEW ZEALAND FLAXES, evergreen perennials, grown for their bold, sword-shaped leaves; architectural plants ideal for patios, tubs and interesting garden arrangements
4589 PHORMIUM BRONZE BABY, evergreen upright perennial with tufts of bold, stiff pointed wine-red leaves. Grows up to 45cm high and 60cm across
4595 PHORMIUM SUNDOWNER, pale bronze leaves with mainly red midstripe, with a little yellow
4597 PHORMIUM TENAX VARIEGATUM, yellow variegated leaves with red edges
4600 PHORMIUM YELLOW WAVE, green leaves, developing strong pale-yellow variegation after the first few inches of growth. Vigorous.

SEMPERVIVUMS – HOUSE LEEKS, grow in symmetrical rosettes of fleshy leaves, forming ground-hugging mats suitable for rock gardens, screes, walls, banks, container gardens and alpine houses. Star-shaped flowers; the rosettes die after flowering but are replaced by numerous offsets. 5016 SEMPERVIVUM GUISEPPEI, green, slightly hairy
5020 SEMPERVIVUM IWO, red and grey-green
5032 SEMPERVIVUM RED FLUSH, maroon brown and olive green leaves
5036 SEMPERVIVUM RONNIE, red inner leaves, olive green outer leaves, slightly felted
5039 SEMPERVIVUM RUBRA ASH, attractive deep red/brown rosettes
5044 SEMPERVIVUM TECTORUM ALPINUM, olive green, tipped purple brown
5045 SEMPERVIVUM TECTORUM NEUVEGLISE, dark-green leaves tipped maroon