Tough critters, great growers
What better plant to think about in these wet conditions than a cactus – not because it is a moisture-loving plant, but because it can remind us of what dryness actually looks like in this wet spring.
A break in the clouds gave an opportunity for a short stroll around the garden and in among the drenched shrubs on the bank by the driveway, I noticed the creeping succulent cuttings I poked in the soil last autumn are gearing up to flower. They’ll be cheery little daisies of pink, beaming at the sky looking for sun when they do open.
Hopefully, by then there will be some sun.
Succulent plants grow in dry places and have evolved to be able to store moisture in their leaves and stems. With somewhere around 1100 kilometres of coastal sand dunes in New Zealand, there is plenty of scope for succulents to grow here in their own shifting sands environments.
Along our New Zealand coastal sand dunes there are zillions of little plants doing their best to survive in an everchanging growing medium, with sometimes extreme changes in temperature occurring at their root systems between night and day. Their roots, however, aid in the life of the dunes, holding them in place and shaping them, along with the wind.
Ice plant Disphyma australe is a native succulent that has mediumsized pale daisy flowers. The larger and brighter yellow flowers of another common succulent belong to the South African Mesembryanthemum edule, related species.
Many of the other succulent seashore plants belong to the beet family and have various strategies for surviving here. Peperomia urvillana has water-storing cells on the top of each leaf. Its fleshy flower spikes have tiny flowers set within sunken settings like jewels, protected from the elements.
Succulents and cacti are tough and make for great first indoor gardens.