Friday, March 29, 2013

Meet the B Team

Some people ask "when is it a good time to repot succulents?' and, if today is anything to go by, the answer might be "when you feel guilty".

Folks, it's time to meet the much neglected, but freshly repotted, B-team of my succulent collection. As you can see from the glamorous photo below, the first time our gas meter has made it into this blog, this gaggle of potted succulents looks like they are well kept and much cared for. Nothing could be further from the truth!

When I planted out my backyard succulent patch, transferring
my potted collection to their new home in the ground, there were
many potted leftovers. Some went to good homes as gifts, a few
were left out in the street with a "Free Plants" sign nearby (and
they all went in an hour or so). But a selection of them stayed
on for duty as the "B Team". Their job was to provide backup
plants in case any plants in the ground failed. Well, that didn't
happen, and so the B Team has hung around down the side of
the house, where the garbage bins and gas meter reside. And
so I mostly forgot about them, except to wince slightly every
week when putting out the garbage. "Must repot those succulents,
or get rid of them, or something else" I have said to myself
many times, and so today, Good Friday, I felt guilty.
These haworthias were in a miserable clump of slumped potting
mix that rose no higher than halfway up its pot, and they didn't
seem to mind at all. But I did, so today I broke up the whole clump
and have turned this into three pots of these guys, which look
like they were designed by Gaudi, the Barcelona Cathedral guy.

This graptoveria (?) was thriving on neglect, sprawling out of
its pot and monstering its neighbours. I snipped off the wanderers
and there's still plenty of colour and action going on here.

Same deal with this... graptopetalum (??), loving the side
passageway, a diet of natural rainfall and no other assistance.

Finally, this utter weirdo has also grown.
Half an hour of Googling seems to indicate that
this might be Euphorbia tirucalli, a stick-like
thing without leaves. A neighbour who was
moving house gave it to me, but neither Pam
nor I particularly liked it. I just kept on
growing it for curiosity's sake – to see what it
actually "did". Answer... not much, although
it too has grown well in the alleyway of shame.
To compound all my crimes, it being Good Friday none of the gardening centres were open, so all I had for potting mix was ordinary potting mix, a bag two-thirds full. Still left over from the succulent garden revamp were two full bags of washed, coarse sand, so I mixed some of that into the potting mix (50:50) to create enough mix for all the repotting. I'm working on the theory that as the backyard in-ground succulent garden, which is about 50% coarse sand now, is belting along nicely, then that sand is the magic ingredient which makes my succulents grow. Plus crossing your fingers, that helps too.

I also have a couple of bags of white pebble mulch left over from the makeover, and it really helps to make the repotted succulents look snazzier, doesn't it?

And so that's the B Team's moment of glory. Repotted, photographed and blogged about. Autumn has barely begun here in Sydney, as summer is hanging around like it doesn't want to end. It has been very warm and humid for the last few weeks, with overnight temperatures still up in the 20s (°C) and days in the high 20s and low 30s. Today is cooler, good repotting weather, and hopefully there'll be a couple more months of autumn for the B Team to get growing. I'll check on their progress every garbage night!


Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Fascinating B team. Specially like the stick thing. It gives me hope. I'm now planning to put green twigs in pots and tell admiring friends and relatives that I'm growing 'exotics'. All of a sudden I will be an 'expert' gardener. Thanks for the idea.

dirtgirl said...

Gosh Jamie, as I was scrolling through your succulents pics I thought you had been in my back garden! Even the description of the sunken soi in the pots!
I have become a huge fan of succulents for that very reason, they are so hardy and forgiving. I never resist the opportunity to gain another cutting from a friend as they literally do their own thing.
Plus I find I can make up bowls of succulents as gifts and they are always well received due to the fact they require so little attention, just perhaps the occasional talking to.....
Isn't our Sydney weather fabulous, all the seeds are sprouting within days. Happy Gardening.

Alex Krasovskis said...

I'm sure they will do fine in that potting mix you knocked up. I've recently gained a taste for succulents lately after knocking them for years. Its amazing how many people love them.

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

We now have quite a thriving little succulent garden - mainly because of your succulent inspiration Jamie. I told my kids about Mrs Lithops and the rest is history. So I always enjoy an update - and really like B team. Nice gas meter too.

Jamie said...

Thanks for all your succulent loving comments everyone, and Lanie, glad you liked the gas meter, too. I wonder if anyone just blogs about gas meters? Naaah, probably not.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

re. Your reply about gas meters - I once came across a blog where every post was about vacuum cleaners.