Wednesday 22 November 2017

Inspired planting with garden designer Leonie Cornelius

Want a touch of green in the house but don't have the time to look after plants? Here, Sligo garden designer Leonie Cornelius has the perfect low-maintenance succulent solution

Leonie Cornelius with Sempervivum arachnoideum
Leonie Cornelius with Sempervivum arachnoideum
Cobweb houseleek - sempervivium arachnoideum

Leonie Cornelius

Plant of the week in focus: Cobweb houseleek (Sempervivum arachnoideum) A succulent with fleshyrosette shapes and web-like details.

Succulent plants are an amazingly low-maintenace way to brighten up your indoor spaces. From mass planting them into pots or placing them in unusual objects, to creating elegant pieces in custom ceramics, these hardy little plants can cope with almost any container. I use them again and again to create miniature indoor gardens for my clients.

Succulent plants evolved to counteract dry conditions with poor gritty soil. This makes them an ideal plant for many people who don't have time to constantly look after plants and yet still want that green touch in their living spaces. Tree-shaped succulents echo large vertical trees and smaller ones the larger spiky shrub forms of desert agaves and aloes.

This week I took some dry logs which were lying around for firewood and sawed them into slices to create planters. I cut a mix of different sizes and heights (the smallest ones are just the size of a wine cork!). Once sliced, I drilled a few holes into them with varying drill bits to create the spaces to plant into.

The plant I used (pictured below) is the 'cobweb houseleek' (Sempervivum arachnoideum), a very visual little evergreen succulent which forms cushions of hairy fleshy mounds. The threads look like cobwebs, hence the name. I love this plant because it is so versatile and readily produces runners which you can clip off to become a new plant.

If you are not necessarily green-fingered then these plants are for you. Make sure that the soil you add to the base is gritty and well draining, and that you place them in a position with good light. And that's about it on care.

The cork-sized ones won't last too long once they start to grow so replant them in a larger log when they get bigger. The rule "if in doubt don't water" will definitely appeal to anyone who has little time on their hands for garden care and yet loves a bit of green in their lives. A fantastic selection of succulents are available from Johnstown Garden Centre, johnstowngardencentre.ie.

They are perfect arranged on a tabletop, window sill, or even as party or wedding favours, and so easy to make. A perfect mix of nature and modern appeal.

Irish Independent

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