Friday, June 27, 2008

Succulents as a Simple Accent

Maureen Gilmer, writing in the Lancaster New Leader says
The coolest new trend that has evolved out of the mid-mod movement is succulents. They bear distinct forms that are bold and graphic, standing out against the walls and surfaces of these simplified homes. Even in colder climates, succulents are a great choice, because the plants can come indoors for the winter, thriving in the bright light of these open homes.
She then adds:
Potted-succulent artists have evolved distinctly different approaches well-suited to modern homes.
The first style is modern minimal and quite masculine in look and feel. Forms are rectilinear, using square or rectangular pots to create bold geometry...
The second approach is far more free-form and really sexy. It depends on the plants themselves to create a bold form. Upright cacti and other succulents can produce some truly spectacular poles, rosettes or balls that are geometric in their own right. The trick is to combine them with an interesting pot, then to select a stone or glass mulch to create a beautiful surface within the pot.
A third style has its roots in Japan, where many elements of modern design were born. Some succulents — which have fleshy leaves to retain water, plus a thickened stem called a "caudex" — are outstanding bonsai specimens. When planted in bonsai-style pots, they make a superior focal point for any room, whether indoors or out. Creative shaping of the plants, plus the use of naturalistic stones, makes them fabulous for a mid-mod apartment patio or in a winter kitchen.
Aren't you glad you've been discovered?
Seriously, it's a nice article. Check it out.


  1. In the Phoenix area, we have some mid-century modern homes built by Bittle. There is a tour of several of those homes each spring. It's interesting to see how they landscape using cacti and succulents to enhance the architecture. Some have Golden Barrel cacti planted in linear fashion leading to the front door; others utilize Agave the same way. Always clean and simple and very appealing.

  2. Thanks Aiyana,
    Unfortunately, we're a little more limited here in Portland, but it's still amazing what can be done the the hardy agaves and opuntias, as well as several other nice hardy succulents. Of course there's always semps and sedums, some of which don't do as well down there.