Annuals Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ (black); Echeveria ‘Afterglow’ (pinkish grey with dark pink margins), E. ‘Black Prince’; E. ‘Mauna Loa’ (frilly, red edges); E. ‘Paul Bunyan’ (silver-blue with blistery warts); Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (rosy, paddle-shaped leaves); donkey’s tail (Sedum morganianum); blue chalksticks (Senecio mandraliscae)
Hardy succulents Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’ (dark red, Zone 3);
S. rupestre ‘Angelina’ (chartreuse, Zone 3)
Design tips from Thomas
- Invest in well-made hardscaping (e.g., pots, pavers).
- Provide a good backdrop—it’s important for showing off plants—whether it’s a stucco wall or wood that’s been stained and striated to look old.
- If a plant’s colour doesn’t work in your design, take the advice of the late British plantswoman Rosemary Verey: “Off with its head!”
Success with succulents
- Use a fast-draining, cactus soil mix amended with extra-chunky perlite.
- Design with succulents as though you’re making plant pizzas: combine them tightly in shallow containers with drainage holes to create a variety of heights, colours, forms and textures.
- Mulch with biscuit-coloured pea gravel to enhance the plant colours.
- Though highly drought-tolerant, succulents appreciate regular watering and feeding with a soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. They’ll respond by growing nice and plump.