Saturday Sedum Watch at the Lost Madrone Ranch: March 4, 2017

dsc02813

The sedums are starting! I am so excited to share them with you! Saturday mornings through the blooming season, I will shoot you a short post of pictures so you can walk with me at the ranch and see this stunning display unfold. I promise the show is spectacular!

Sedums are a large genus of flowering plants with succulent leaves, classified in the family Crassulaceae — otherwise called the “stonecrop” family. How fitting a family name for a plant growing in the rocky land of the Texas Hill Country.

(Can you see the sedums in this picture?)

dsc02567-version-2

There are over 400 hundred species of sedums, and according to the USDA, one particular variety is native only to Texas, Sedum nanifolium.

untitled

Beyond the technical talk, sedums have gained in gardening popularity. Design magazines feature mosaics of sedum green roofs, and retailers promote sedums for planting in their small scale containers.

(Click here to see sedum pictures in my Pinterest Landscape folder.)

Sedums found at local nurseries are fun to shop for, but have you ever seen native sedums in the wild?

I can’t wait to show you how wild and beautiful Sedum nanifolium grows in Comfort, Texas.

IMG_3084.jpg

I remember the first spring I drove to the hilltop named New Year’s Eve point (a prime spot to shoot off fireworks and watch the fireworks from surrounding towns) and was overwhelmed by the lemon yellow sunshine of color blanketing the rock outcroppings. Spread over a wide swath of the hill were tiny sedums, and their brilliance in the light called me to sit and stare.

img_3457-version-2

As the season for their bloom was ending, I thought I would try transplanting some sedums to near the house where no sedums grew. I carefully shoveled a few clumps to transfer.

I have to explain shoveling in the hill country. Shallow soil covers the rocky ground and especially on the hilltops where large slabs of limestone rise to the surface.

dsc02621

Around the edges and spread over indentations in the limestone, the dirt is less than an inch deep. Here sedums thrive because there is no competition with the grasses that grow where the soil is slightly deeper. So, shoveling is more like scraping.

dsc02623 dsc02634

Imagine harvesting sod, taking care to protect the level mat of grass by carrying along only enough soil to hold the roots together. This is how I scraped/harvested the sedums that first year I discovered them.

I delicately transplanted ten contained clumps of sedums, throwing to the side the handful of sedums that had come untangled from the interwoven roots. The next spring, every clump survived, and the individual sedums I tossed to the sides bloomed into bright yellow clusters of flowers.

It may seem silly to my expert, Texas gardening friends that I planted native sedums in such a meticulous manner. Remember, I come from Virginia, where planting involves digging a hole twice the size of the plant’s root ball, setting the plant precisely, spoiling it with fine soil, mulching the top layer, and watering regularly.

How was I to know you don’t even have to plant these little sedums? Just drop the pieces all around and wait for the glorious display the following spring!

So, I began my quest to bring sedums near the house.

Transplanting sedum is simple. No shovel is required.

After a rain or moist dewy morning, I head to a spot where the sedums are many and lift them by the handful as easy as picking up food off a plate. Not caring to protect their level mat of yellow blooms, I throw them in an empty feed bag, where they fall into individual strands, and haul them back to the house. Walking along the exposed slabs of limestone, I reach in the bag and scatter the sedum pieces as if I was feeding chickens.

Have you ever read the children’s book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney?

I love this book.

dsc02701

I know the Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You’ll Go!, is a popular children’s book to give as a graduation gift, but I much prefer to give Miss Rumphius.

The main character, Alice, not only dreams to go to faraway places and live by the sea, but she never forgets her grandfather’s advice to do a third thing — “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

Alice grew up and traveled the world and lived by the sea, but she still did not know what to do to make the world more beautiful. Until one day she discovered how the wind and birds spread the seeds from her garden of the blue and purple and rose-colored lupine flowers.

Alice ordered bushels of seeds and spent the summer wandering the fields and highways, flinging handfuls of lupine seeds.

DSC02709.jpg

The next spring lupines were everywhere, and every year after there were more and more. She became known as the crazy old Lupine Lady, but she had done the third and most difficult thing her grandfather had advised her to do.

dsc02717

I laugh at how carefully I shoveled sedums that first year, but now, after several years of scattering sedums, the sedum display at the house is exquisite.

My blog story, Arrive at the Lost Madrone Ranch, noted how winter was a fitting season for an introduction to the ranch because winter begins a procession of change that takes place throughout the year. Two weeks ago, I noticed the sedums sprouting.

img_9205

Will you walk through a new project with me?

First, we will watch the sedums together as they bloom. Saturdays I will post pictures of sedums from two locations on the ranch —

the transplanted area of sedum close to the house

img_8487

and a far corner of the property where sedums grow wild.

dsc02484

After the sedums bloom, follow me as I populate a new spot on the ranch. I’ve selected the site for a future sedum display — “Dad’s cactus ridge,” named after my Dad because of a memory from that spot during one of his visits. I’ll share the story in a future post.

dsc02682

Take a look as the sedum show begins…

Sedums popping up in the shallow soil at the edges of the limestone outcropping.

dsc02542

Find perspective for just how very tiny the sedum are when they first break through the soil.

img_9120

img_9128

dsc02643

img_9227

Sedums are succulents because of their thick, fleshy water-storing leaves. Up close, you can see this characteristic.

dsc02829

On Saturday mornings, go to takecomfort.org to view the sedum progression.

Even better, click on the FOLLOW box above, and subscribe to my blog, and you will receive a notice when I post Saturday sedum watch photos.

Thanks for walking with me!

 

13 thoughts on “Saturday Sedum Watch at the Lost Madrone Ranch: March 4, 2017

  1. Thank you for teaching me about a flower I didn’t know existed
    they are a quite unique and I am
    Anxious to see the progression…
    Possibly their uniqueness comes
    with the caring of the author…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s