thriving on neglect


Photo courtesy of Avant Gardens. Succulent arrangement in a gourd.

What’s not to love? According to Katherine Tracey, certainly not a succulent. Tracey’s mantra, obsession and addiction to succulents was the subject of her Wave Hill talk on Wednesday night. I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t have a fondness for the exotic or strange in the garden.  I almost never do containers.


Photo courtesy of Avant Gardens

What are the attributes that make succulents a popular seller? low maintenance, drought-tolerant, variety of uses: vertical gardens, the living wreath, bouquets, and the ever popular container.  I wondered if Tracey could change my mind about this group of plants.

Listening to Tracey, it was obvious she has greatly expanded the vocabulary of succulents.


Photo courtesy of Avant Gardens

Her blog, Foreplay on the Avant Gardens website, includes a how to for vertical gardens, containers, arrangements in pumpkins and living wreaths.  In person, Tracey is straightforward, unambiguous and intelligible – and so are her blog instructions. You couldn’t ask for more comprehensive and coherent explanations of how to grow and use succulents.


In spite my appreciation for Tracey’s expertise and passion, I find using only succulents in a container, no matter how different in texture, color and form rather boring. I stand alone on  this point. I was sitting with a bunch of gardener friends at Tracey’s talk, who thought her talk, one of the best ever. I might have to give Echeveria, Pachyveria, Gasteraloe, and Aeonium, to name a few – a chance to win me over.


Photo courtesy of Avant Gardens. The ultimate in succulents: Lotus Land. On my list of places to visit.




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