This is what you need during a sizzling summer: plants that you hardly need to think about and that still bring a Mediterranean mood to your patio.
Chilling on your patio
August is not a month when you want to spend a lot of time gardening. You may be on holiday, and if you are at home it’s often too hot to work hard in the garden. A quartet who can look after themselves are therefore very welcome. Agave, Aeonium and jade plant (Crassula) are succulents that store moisture in their leaves, whilst eucalyptus can cope pretty well with heat and drought thanks to its oil-bearing properties. Together they provide an attractive grey-green palette for a sun-soaked summer mood that fits better with ‘enjoying the garden’ than ‘working in the garden’.
Green sun worshippers
Agave Primaeval, rugged, grey-green or variegated, with Mediterranean looks. Available in utterly perfect symmetrical designs or more laid-back versions.
Aeonium Rosettes usually grow on the ground, but Aeonium’s grow upwards with the plant, lending an unearthly touch: after a while it looks very ‘Roswell in the desert’.
Jade plant Sturdy and stylised, the silhouette of a tree but with sleek lines and hardly any leaf shedding. If you want you can apply bonsai techniques to it, but alternatively you can just sit under it with a cold drink.
Eucalyptus The silver/green/grey fits perfectly with the other three. And they are rather stoical types, so that the rustling of Eucalyptus’ leaves provides a nice contrast.
4 Care-free Summertime plants
• You don’t need to ask the neighbours to water your plants when you’re away.
• No need to wander around every evening with a watering can – just sit back and relax.
• They’re the perfect plants for creating a holiday mood, or hanging on to that holiday feeling a little longer.
• The plants’ strong lines mean that there’s plenty to see with little effort.
Hosepipe ban? No problem!
Agave grows in Central and North America, eucalyptus comes from Australia, the jade plant from South Africa and Aeonium is native to the Canary Islands. All four originate from fairly dry, hot regions and are entirely adapted to surviving there.
Because the plants for a Care-free Summertime are classic orangery plants (that prefer to overwinter indoors), it’s best to place them in pots. Keep it simple and opt for simple terracotta. The mood can be quite laid-back: not so much Mediterranean sophistication as understated and rugged. Think about recycled materials and harmony in fairly neutral colours. Using pots provides clarity, the plants’ stylised leaves provide calm. Which is just what you need when it’s sizzling hot.
“August is like the Sunday of summer, even your plants like to take a break.”
• All the Plants for a Care-free Summertime can tolerate full sun.
• The soil must be well-draining. It’s better not to place saucers under the pots.
• Water sparingly. The soil can be left to dry out between waterings.
• Agave, Aeonium and jade plant preferred to overwinter indoors, whilst eucalyptus can tolerate a couple of degrees of frost.