Sempervivum tectorum on roof

My Succulent Podcast with a British Nurseryman

Recently I did a succulent podcast with British nurseryman Alan Lodge of Newlands Nursery. We were on opposite sides of the planet, but we chatted as though sharing the same pot of tea. Alan hosts weekly podcasts with international gardening experts. He proudly told me that Newlands participates in Royal Horticultural Society shows at Hampton Court and Tatton Park. "We've won numerous medals including Silver Gilts and Golds."

The Brits Love Houseleeks

Clearly the British have a challenging climate for succulents---all that rain---but we found common ground in sempervivums. Could there be a plant with a more Harry Potterish name than "houseleek?" These perky little succulents grow on cottage roofs throughout Northern Europe.

Houseleeks (Sempervivum sp., hens-and-chicks) have been known since Roman times for improving the longevity of roofs. Intriguingly, they're used today as green-roof plants in cities across the US, including Portland, OR and Washington, DC.

Alan asked how the succulent craze started, so I explained that back when I was researching my first book, Designing with Succulents (Timber Press, 2007), "Southern Californians didn't want jade or other succulents. They were using roses and Mediterranean perennials to create the look of English gardens. But then the drought came along..."

The beauty of podcasting is you're able to share an intimate conversation with people worldwide

If you're curious, do have a listen. Podcasts are great for when you're doing something fairly mindless, like folding laundry, peeling apples, or sitting in traffic. This one is 53 minutes, and it goes fast.

I'd love to know what you think of my British succulent podcast. Please leave your comments below. Thanks, and enjoy!


Cold Hardy Succulents: Details, Photos and Varieties

Cold-Hardy Succulents: Details, Photos & Varieties Looking for succulents that go below freezing? You’re in the right place! About cold-hardy succulents The common cold-hardy succulents shown here can handle northern winters, snow, rainstorms (if given excellent drainage) and summer dry spells. Sedum (stonecrop) Trailing varieties are lovely as ground covers and in rock gardens, terraces and hanging…

50 Cold-Hardy Succulents for Northern Climates

The popular and readily available varieties shown here can handle northern winters, snow, rainstorms (if given excellent drainage) and summer dry spells. There are two main genera: Sedum and Sempervivum. Lesser known are Rosularia, Delosperma, and Orostachys. Notably, certain species of Agave and cacti don’t freeze in all but the coldest climates.

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  1. Arsenia Serafica on December 12, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Just listened to your interview, Awesome, very nice conversations and well explained answers.

  2. Elspeth Flood on December 13, 2019 at 9:32 am

    The problem for succulents in Britain is not “all that rain” but the combination of damp and cold. Maybe you have never been to Britain, nor to the tropics, where it rains much more.
    you have a dire climate in U:S:A with floods, fires, hurricanes, whatever. In Britain we have a good climate, but bad weather. The growing of succulents is increasing in the U:K, since so many can stand several degrees of cold. You say you have to put fleece blankets on some plants in winter (plastic?), as in Britain.
    We have a mutual acquaintance in Tim Harvey, who is British, if a long time resident of California, and a serious collector and grower. He was a close friend of John Lavranos, and frequently traveled with him collecting, so serious, and I gather important in the U.S though the ACSSA. i learn such a lot from him, and he has twice given talks to our Society, ASAS. We are privileged.
    Happy Christmas
    Elspeth Flood.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on December 13, 2019 at 10:11 am

      Hello Elspeth — Thanks for the clarification. I do know Tim Harvey and have been to Britain—toured major public gardens and visited Christopher Lloyd, whom I’d spent time with when he’d visited here to address the San Diego Horticultural Society. I wish during the podcast I’d had time to tell the listeners what England’s most revered horticulturist had observed, while we were driving through an upscale neighborhood: “It’s astonishing you do so little with what you’ve got.” Christopher Lloyd was referring to cliche front yards of tightly pruned foundation shrubs and wide expanses of lawn. That was 20+ years ago, and I’d like to think—were he still living—he might now approve of “what we’ve done with what we’ve got.” Happy Christmas to you, too. Thanks for writing. P.S. Never cover plants with plastic. It doesn’t breathe, and can steam them when in sun.

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