April 24, 2012
Planting a Stone Wall
Last week on my television show, we celebrated Earth Day and one of my guests was Ed Snodgrass of Emory Knoll Farms, who showed us how to build a lush rooftop garden called a green roof. Green roofs are beneficial in that they absorb water, provide insulation, and create a habitat for wildlife. The plant materials he suggests for this project are succulents and sedums. These hardy ground covers grow rapidly and are quite persistent. Following the demonstration, we were left with several flats of these plants. Although there weren’t enough to cover a rooftop, I did put them to very good use.
1 After buying my farm in Bedford, many construction projects took place, including the building of a large stone terrace off the backside of my home.
2 The terrace overlooks the farm and I have taken many, many lovely photographs at dawn from this vantage point. The trees blooming in the foreground are apple espalier. The buds are large and plentiful this year.
3 The Camperdown elm trees are especially pretty at this time of year. Princess Peony is out enjoying the morning light.
4 Because it's off the kitchen, the corner gardens are planted with culinary herbs for easy picking.
5 The terrace gardens are growing extremely well and have really filled out in recent years. I love the contrast of the green boxwood and the golden barberry shrubs.
6 Stairs lead down to the roadway where the terrace ends in a long stone wall.
7 These are some of the sedum left over from the TV segment.
8 Sedum, a large genus of flowering plants, are also known as stonecrops and are members of the succulent family.
9 Sedum have fleshy, water-storing leaves and are drought tolerant.
10 I love sedum because they're so diverse and have such an interesting appearance.
11 Sedums really work well in rock gardens.
12 They also do really well growing along stone walkways and even between the crevices in stone walls! Here is my gardener, Ryan McCallister, busy at work.
13 For the sedum that was planted in one large mat, Ryan carefully divided the plants into small sections.
14 He then tucked the roots between two stones.
15 He then pressed some potting soil into the crack, covering the roots.
16 This sedum was planted individually and has a more established root system.
17 Ryan found larger spaces to accommodate those plants.
18 I first planted sedum in walls many years ago at my home on Turkey Hill. I wonder if it is still thriving there.
19 Ryan, who is from warm and sunny Los Angeles, tells me that it's not uncommon to see full-size succulents and other varieties of plants growing in this manner.
20 Most sedum has a trailing nature and will hopefully begin cascading down the side of the wall.
21 Once the roots take hold, the plant will wedge itself in and begin to spread.
22 Once sedums become established, they require very little supplemental water to thrive.
23 Sedums thrive nearly anywhere, as long as they get good drainage.
24 Most creeping sedums prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade.
25 To provide interest, Ryan was careful to alternate the different varieties along the length of the wall.
26 I can't wait to see how these plants grow in their new environment and to share their progress with you.