Never Sleep in a Cactus Bed

Remember that extra wide trench?

As well as running elecricity to a couple of GFCI boxes and water to the back end of the lot, this trench was also to serve as a cactus and succulant bed. The soil here needed better drainage so I decided to remove a couple of feet. I transported this soil to the opposite side of the lot and built up another hill for later planting. I generated the shape of the bed, installed some weed edging and laid down weed suppressent material and a layer of pea-gravel in the trench. I then got a delivery of decomposed granite and wheelbarrowed it in from the front of the house. It is funny but like the Home Depot ponds, small areas of land also defy the generally accepted laws of physics – to fill in an area always takes 3X more soil than what you anticipate, or what was actually excavated out of it! at least that is how it feels.
My decision to do a cactus and succulent bed was actually based more out of necessity than design – a friend of a friend of mine was moving and as luck would have it, he had a whole bunch of plants already in pots sitting at the back of his lot that he didn’t want (he worked in a nursery) score! – I just needed full sun and the right soil to get them to a goodstart.

The bed in its first year (far right) – a top dressing of pea-gravel was laid on top of the decomposed granite.


Agave just planted                        Same Agave today  in bloom                  Agave Americana Variegata     

Cactus and succulent bed – 4th year
Moss boulders define the bed shape – Gopher Plants (Euphorbia biglandulosa) weave between them.
Succulents and Blackfoot Daisy’s have filled in the gaps between the main plants. 
Dwarf Bottlebrush (Callistemonviminalis) ‘Little John’ and Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
provide some contrasting warm colored accents. 

  Gopher Plants (Euphorbia biglandulosa)                          Gopher flower head!

Detail of the Agave Base


Dwarf Bottlebrush fireworks, and Pride of Barbados.

Rosettes of succulents form a dense mat between the Agaves and cacti.


Cacti and succulents always offer the most unexpected surprises, in the most unexpected forms.

All material © 2008 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Stay tuned for:

“I built a Vine Tunnel – and a Troll moved in”



~ by eastsidepatch on May 4, 2008.

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