The Great Succulent Migration

Greenhouse
The Winter Home
The Summer Home

The great succulent migration has begun. I am still learning all the identities of all my succulents. I am not sure who can be put into the ground and survive through the winter and who will die. I live in the plant growing zone 9b. It can get as low as 25 to 30 (F). By next winter I will know more about my succulents and who can live where. 🙂 But this winter is upon us and I am just gonna move as many as I can fit into their winter home.

I recently bought a greenhouse. I am hoping that it holds my succulents through the whole winter. I do not want them to get rained on or to freeze. I am a little nervous about the strength of the greenhouse. But I feel I have done everything that can be done to ensure the safety of my plants through the winter months.

Sometimes we get wind storms. And the thought of the wind tearing my greenhouse up kinda makes me cringe inside. I have a lot of succulents that are migrating into that structure. So I am trying to make sure it is secure enough to withstand the winds. I have duct taped every connection. I used zip ties on the shelves. I have the tarp anchored to the ground and tied to the frame. I also have my fingers and my toes crossed.

Right side of greenhouse

It is Fall here in the central valley of California. But honestly some days I can’t really tell that it is Fall. It is still hot enough to be rafting on the river. I am still wearing shorts. I am sure the kids would still be in using the pool if the fire didn’t scorch it last month. But as the consumer world desires it to be pumpkin spice everything. So it really must be fall. 🙂

Left side of greenhouse

I do love fall. It is one of my favorite seasons. The beautiful colors that the leaves turn. The chill in the air in the mornings. The nights are just chilly enough that I get to wear my hoodie. Some of the trees are starting to  loose their leaves. Basically all of nature is getting prepared for winter. Some plants are beginning to go dormant and the animal kingdom is gathering winter food supplies. It has become time for me to prepare my succulents for their winter homes.

Succulents that live year around in the ground

I do have some succulents that are in the ground and they have lived there for years now. I am hoping to be able to plant more in the ground. Eventually, our front yard is going to be a rock garden full of desert plants. Hopefully a yard full of succulents.

My future mother plants

I am moving my potted succulent arrangements into their new winter sanctuary one by one. I am giving them a nice bath and checking for critters. I am going to keep the doors on the greenhouse open until they need to be closed due to weather.

Ready for its bath

I have made more arrangements this summer than I thought. They are all filling in beautifully. I have collected a lot of stem cuttings, leaves and pups for the last, months. And they have all grown so big from how small they once were. These are my future mother plants. 🙂 As long as I can keep everyone alive over winter.

These were tiny in spring

Broken Terracotta Pot

The day It was made

 

I created a broken terracotta arrangement over the summer. I saw so many broken pot arrangements and fairy gardens being posted all over the internet. And I wanted to create one myself. I had a bunch of broken terracotta pots that were behind the shed in the back yard. I have now placed those broken pieces into a bucket for safe keeping. 🙂

Top view

I took a piece that was broken in half but still had the bottom attached and put some soil in it.  I then took another piece and stood it up and added soil to the front of the piece and the back. I took two more broken pieces and added them on top of the soil and then added more soil to the front and back of them. I then took a really small piece of the broken terracotta and placed it at the bottom to stop the soil from falling out.

Side view

                                                                I went to my propagation area and picked out a bunch of little pups and placed them in random spots all around the soil. I then went and picked out a few river rocks from my rock collection. I added a crystal quartz. I tried to place the crystal in the center. Then I began sprinkling some crushed rose quartz and purple amethyst on top of the soil. I still didn’t think it was finished. So I added a couple small sea shells and a tiny broken piece of ceramic that I found in the river.

Pups growing from a leaf

 

I like to use the pups from my leaf propagation area instead of bigger cuttings in this type of creation. Because I really enjoy watching the succulents grow and fill in the arrangements I make. I plan on making more of these broken terracotta pots. I collected all the broken pieces from behind the shed and now have a half of a 5 gallon bucket filled. I like to reuse as much stuff as possible.

Broken terracotta pieces

I love to go into nature as much as possible. I enjoy collecting rocks, driftwood, sea shells, twigs feathers. Anything that catches my eye. I enjoy combining those little treasures that I collect with my  succulents. Every arrangement I create has a little bit of an adventure inside them.

What it looks like today

Backyard Fire

Heat damage from fire
Severe heat damage 

We had a fire in our back yard a couple weeks ago. It was a pretty scary night. Our back yard plus three of our neighbors were damaged by the fire. We lost 2 sheds, a pool, and a 4×4 truck. Plus all of our tools and belongings that were in the sheds. One of our neighbors lost their whole shed as well. And two other neighbors had some damage to their sheds but they are able to have theirs fixed. Four fence lines were also damaged or completely burned to the ground. It was a very sad scary night for all of us. The neighbors included. Fire is powerful and destructive. The smell and burnt debris that is left behind is awful.

                 Heat damaged String of Hearts 

My string of hearts and both of my big beautiful Wandering Jew plants also have severe heat damage. All of my huge sunflower plants died in the fire. A few days before the fire I started to harvest a few of them so thankfully I will have seeds for next years crop. I have been slowly trimming all the damaged leaves off of my plants. 

Heat damage

We have put up new fence lines and have removed over 12 tons of burnt derbies from the backyard. There is a blank canvas back there now. And I am excited to create something new from the ashes. I am also very grateful that my family, animals and our house survived that massive fire on Sept 7, 2018

Propagation

I have created a little area on my patio that I call my propagation station. I like to use saucers that normally sit under a pot. I fill them with soil and I put leaves all over them. Then I sit them on a table and leave them alone. Every now and then I will squirt them with a squirt bottle. But you do not really have to do that. The leaf will provide water to the pup until it shrivels up and dies. Once the pups begin to grow bigger I put them into a tiny pot. Then I place them into a tiny green house. Once they establish themselves with a nice little root ball I move them into a bigger pot with other little succulents.  When I create my succulent arrangements I use the little succulents from the pot of many.

Propagation station

I just love to propagate succulents. I think its really amazing that you can reproduce a new tiny plant just from a leaf. I mean you can even accidentally break a stem and place it in soil and it will grow roots. Just like magic another plant forms.  The tiny plants growing from the leaves are called pups and the broken stem i mentioned is considered a stem cutting. I normally let the stem cutting sit for a couple days so that it forms a callous. Once it has callused I place it into soil and it will eventually form roots. Be patient sometimes it takes a while for roots to form.

Every time I go to my local hardware store i check out the floor of the nursery and pick up the random succulent leaves that seem to always be on the floor. I always ask whoever is working what they do with them and they always say we sweep them up and throw them away. Then I ask if I can have them. They always give me a weird look and say sure. I mean I cant help but see a leaf and think of the future plant that it can be.

Collecting Driftwood

I found some cool driftwood the other day while I was rafting on the river. I collected it and loaded it up on my raft. I just knew they were going to make great succulent displays. I used crushed rose quartz and crushed purple amethyst as well as crystal quartz in each. I tend to use my little pups from my leaf propagations for all my projects with driftwood. I like to watch them grow in. Would love to see what everyone else does with driftwood. Feel free to share photos!

Donkey’s Tail Succulent

Donkey Tail Succulent Donkey's Tail Succulent Donkey’s Tail succulent or (Sedum Morganianum), sometimes called Burro’s Tail plant, is a popular and easy to grow trailing succulent. It is native to Mexico. This unique looking plant has long hanging stems. That are covered with thick rows of fleshy blue-green, tear dropped shaped leaves that overlap like the hair on a donkey’s tail. The stems can reach lengths of over 3 feet long. It is happiest when grown in hanging baskets or up high so that it has room to flow down and no one can accidentally bump into it. A Donkey’s Tail plant is very fragile and the stems break and the leaves easily detach and fall off of if disturbed. Donkey Tail needs careful handling. Read more about Donkey’s Tail

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Plant flowering
Blooming Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe Vera is one of my favorite succulents to have in the garden. It will thrive pretty much anywhere as long as the soil is well drained. Aloe Vera rarely needs to be watered, give it a good soaking and then let the soil dry out between watering.  It has many health benefits and the easiest way to use Aloe Vera is to just snap off a leaf when you need it and rub on the gel. Use it fresh, or it stores it in the fridge for up to a week. Its a nice little burn cream to have on hand.

For more information click on the link:   https://www.surrealgardening.com/Succulents/aloeVera.htm

Bulbine Frutescens

Bulbine frutescens
Bulbine Frutescens

Bulbine frutescens blooms in the spring and is dormant during the summer season. It can be propagated easily by cutting the stems and plant immediately in a shady spot. It is similar to many aloe species, and is touted for the similar healing properties as Aloe Vera such as to ease burns, rashes and itches. It grows naturally in South Africa, we got ours as a bonus plant in a 6 pack of succulents.

For mor information on the Bulbine plant click the link:

https://www.surrealgardening.com/Succulents/Bulbinefrutescens.htm

Mother of Thousands Succulent

This succulent can resist drought, but she will perform better when regularly watered. She does need good drainage and is best potted in a commercial cactus soil mix. The succulent needs sunlight but avoid growing in the full sun. Propagators will love this plant but it can get out of control if not tended to on a regular basis. Mother of Thousands forms tiny plants on the edges of its leaves that drop off and root new little plants.  more

Mother of Thousands succulent
Mother of Thousands

New Surreal Gardening web

Welcome to our updated design, have a look around and please be patient while we learn the new system. We will be posting all plant related stuff, depending on what we are doing. Sometimes its herbs and oils, but it might be tea or succulents. We are just gardeners who love growing plants of all kinds.   Surreal Gardening