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Inspirations for a Smaller Garden

Articles: Inspirations for a Smaller Garden

Little pots of succulents had been gathering for years, completely covering the bench (intended for seating) and all other horizontal surfaces in my garden. Experiments with a few on the hillside had shown that most were less amenable to a total lack of summer irrigation than are the native and mediterranean-climate plants, including South African bulbs, that thrive there on natural rainfall alone. Other areas once set aside for succulents had since grown shady from maturing trees and larger shrubs.

Matthew Maggio’s brilliant manuscript arrived on my desk in late June. A quick review of the text and the images of his new Succulent Garden at Sherman Library & Gardens provided just the inspiration I needed to do something with those poor succulents waiting to be set free from their pots. A small, flat, relatively sunny area at the bottom of the garden, directly outside my office window, was immediately cleared of overgrown perennials and sprawling shrubs, leaving a roughly twelve-square-foot patch of ground for my long-awaited succulent garden.

Head-size chunks of the native chert—the rock that underlies our hill—were used to create a mounded bed, deepening the soil above t...


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