Monday, May 12, 2014

Wandering star

As the autumn finally delivers its first wintry chills, the succulents start to colour up. One of my favourites, which I've mentioned before, is this person, Senecio jacobensii. Normally yet another blog posting extolling the beauties of its pinky-purple-tipped foliage would be par for the course at this stage, but this year I have news to report. 

My senecio is starting to wander. All over the place. Into the shadier regions, and out into the sunshine. It's a rapidly spreading star in our garden and 2014 is the year it has come out in all its glory.

I'll always think of, and thank, gardening writer
Cheryl Maddocks for giving me this plant, a
little guy in a pot. Thank you Cheryl.

This is what I mean by the 'wandering' bit.
In our succulent patch it has sent out arms
onto the pathway, where it's hotter and sunnier,
and back past the lavenders and pots of herbs,
which is a bit shadier. It's out to conquer the
whole garden, I think, but as a slowish-grower
 it's unlikely to be a threat to its neighbours.

The way it branches off looks a bit like a suburban railway map.

Measured from one end to the other it's more
than six feet long, and counting.

For its first few years here, that spreading
quality was put to good use in hanging
baskets, where it drapes itself languidly over
the edges.

Its one drawback as a hanging basket plant
is that is does get knocked around a bit by
heavy winds. Every now and then whole
branchlets break off in howling winds, but
when that happens I always remember what
a country-resident friend said about wind
doing all the pruning on his property. And
so after the storm damage, new arms of
senecio appear a few months later.
Its great advantage as a hanging basket
plant, though is that it lives on rainfall alone.
The cool season colour is just starting to blush
now on the groundcover plant (the hanging
basket is the one with the stronger hues, shown
in the opening photo on this posting).
Have you ever heard of the term 'ear worm'? It's one of those songs which you can't get out of your head. So, ever since I thought of doing this blog posting, calling it 'Wandering Star', I have been tunelessly mumbling/humming that old Lee Marvin hit song, his gravel-voiced version of 'Wandering Star', from 'Paint Your Wagon'. It might have nothing whatsoever to do with a pretty pink-blushed groundcover succulent, but it has been the soundtrack to my gardening weekend, and having said that, I now hope it will go away!

1 comment:

Sue O said...

I adore succulents, but our winters make their year-to-year survival a little dubious sometimes. I wouold love one of these in your post.