It’s the end of summer and most areas of the garden seem to be in some sleepy botanical torpor, exhausted from the heat. Not much is blooming. Brown is everywhere.
And then by contrast there’s this little over-performing corner, formed in large part by chunks of succulents that John has collected over the years…
Cascading over a back wall are the shocking red flowers of this crassula (I think it’s Crassula perfoliata var. minor, a.k.a. Crassula falcata). Its companions in this photo are a couple of other succulents, one of the goth-black aeoniums (Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’) and what’s likely Graptopetalum paraguayense. The three are pretty easy to find and like nice combined.
After the winter rains the foliage on all of these plants plumps up and looks pretty spectacular. But as summer settles in the aeonium and and graptopetalum drop their larger leaves in favor of a tight cluster of leaves packed at the growing end of the stalks. The bigger the leaf the greater the water loss. The crassula will retain its leaves, however, although they’ll look a little shriveled in the drought. The fact that the leaves are folded in half probably helps to shade the leaf, reduce transpiration and reduce moisture loss.
The flowering of the crassula varies by year. The photo above is from this season, actually not one of the better years. To the left is a shot from last August. This year’s not quite as flashy, but in the slow heat of August and September, I’ll take it.