If there’s an “It” plant at the moment, it would have to be a succulent.
And if being part of a trend in gardening is important to you, then you’ll have to travel no farther than the historic John de la How Greenhouse to get your “plant fix.” You’ll be the “it gardener” in your neighborhood, which should merit an extra dessert at the next neighborhood picnic or block party.
I first noticed these charming plants several years ago and was intrigued by their many delightful shapes and quirky characteristics. Never a gardener, I have been struggling over the past several years to make changes to the landscaping of my family’s home which has suffered years of neglect and denial that there is an entire acre needing help.
So, when I started looking at plants, I found succulents, which are just about the trendiest plants you’ll find anywhere. People are blogging about them, advocating for their use in home and outdoor gardens and using them for weddings, special events and commercial décor.
Who knew, right?
Succulents have great survival skills, thanks to their fleshy stems and leaves which allow them to retain water – a bit like the camel of botany. This makes them perfect for those living in arid climates because they are practically drought free. And for those who can be considered an “absent-minded gardener,” there probably is no better plant.
Although some might think that they have never seen a succulent before, the aloe vera plant with its soothing, healing properties is a succulent. And the Christmas cactus, Jade Plant and Ponytail Palm also are succulents.
People love the “hen and chicks” or “hens-and-chickens,” which are wildly popular because of the visible larger plant with smaller blooms that grow
Because succulents have great eye appeal and hardiness, gardeners of all levels of “green intelligence” want to have them somewhere! They truly are the “it” plant at the moment.
Throughout the spring, Frank Dorn and Douglas Wilkie have been working with wonderful volunteers from the area to keep the greenhouse filled with all the plants that make our gardens more beautiful. Sales have been brisk, and their influence is being seen in gardens beyond McCormick County.
Make a mad dash to the greenhouse at the John de la Howe before the succulents are gone! Even I am trying them this spring, and I probably have the lowest “Green IQ” on campus. At the end of the summer, I’ll let you know how we did!
In the meantime, isn’t it great to know that our greenhouse is on top of an international gardening trend! This is important as John de la Howe moves forward to grow our agricultural mission for the Palmetto State.
— Submitted by Karen Petit (Karen.Petit@delahowe.k12.sc.us)