Ozothamnus ‘Radiance’, Kalanchoe orygalis ‘Copper Spoons’ and Aeonium Sunburst are key players in the Sunburst bed.

The Sunburst Bed

This group is highlighted by Aeonium ‘Sunburst,’ planted to mimic a row of sunflowers in this narrow, dry bed. With very little water and total neglect, ‘Sunburst’ will grow and swell into large, tricolored (sunflower-like!) heads until frost. It has been set against a backdrop of Ozothamnus ‘Radiance’ and Kalanchoe orgyalis (aka Copper Spoons), two other plants that also thrive on neglect and will look better and better into late summer and fall.

Throughout the test garden you’ll notice a number of Aeonium cultivars this year. We were SO tickled with the performance of Aeonium ‘Blushing Beauty’ and Aeonium ‘Cyclops’ in 2015; these joyful, large-headed succulents performed brilliantly in Edmonds! From MAY TO NOVEMBER, the Aeonium rosettes grew, swelling to large dinnerplate-sized heads. We watched them bronze with intense July & August temps, then green out with dark edges as cooler weather set in and daylight faded in the fall. They were excellent companions to many different types of plants, since they are succulents with higher water demands. They fit the need for bold, large flowerhead statements in the garden, without the demands of fertilization, deadheading, or tending to.

Amazingly, the Aeoniums OUTLASTED every annual, every perennial, and most of the other tender succulents in the plaza. To us, they looked most beautiful into November, as fall leaves fell from the street trees and carpeted their stalks. Though most melted down in December freezes, we even had a few Aeoniums survive in some of the beds and boxes (look for them around the restaurant patio and in the Purple Haze planting).

This year, we’ve added an array of different Aeoniums to the test garden. There’s the lemony Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ here, the minty Aeonium decorum ‘Variegatum’ (in the Ebony boxes), and the pointed ‘Pinwheel’ (in Purple Haze). Turn around and you’ll see a patch of the smaller Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ behind you in Sea Jade, along with a throng of ‘Coppertone.’ There’s large patch of Aeonium ‘Blushing Beauty’ that we expect to be a late-season thriller further north in Electric Star. Along the plaza’s sidewalk, you also find groups of Aeonium ‘Green/Red’ and Aeonium ‘Black,’ which we’re running against ‘Blushing Beauty’ this year in order to crown a winner for best dark-colored Aeonium.