A stone tub planted with a mass of delicately-textured, evergreen Stonecrops, will make a fascinating small-scale display, particularly when viewed from above, on a doorstep.
Stonecrops are carpet-forming plants, grown for their range of textures and colours. These perennials are often evergreen, and used for Winter colour in tubs and in rock gardens, when several species are grouped; tiny, star-shapedin Summer are a bonus.
A stone tub gives the display a natural feel, mimicking the rocky habitat of these plants. If plants get too rampant, restrict their spread by pinching out. Place the tub in full sun; water just enough in Winter to prevent shrivelling and allow the compost to dry between waterings in Summer.
PICK AND PLANT
Mat-forming Sedum are suitable; pick evergreens for year-round interest:
S. acre ‘Aureum’ – forms a dense carpet of fleshy, yellow leaves with golden flowers in Summer.
S. lydium – reddish stems with narrow, red-flushed, green leaves and tiny white flowers in Summer.
S. oreganum – succulent leaves turn bronze-red as yellow flowers appear.
S. spathulifolium – rosettes of fleshy, silver leaves, suffused bronze-red; yellow blooms in Summer.
PLANTING THE TUB
Put a handful of crocks into the bottom of the tub, making sure you cover theholes. Measure out two parts of compost to one part of horticultural grit (by volume) into a basin.
Thoroughly mix the contents of the basin until the grit is evenly distributed, to form a free-draining compost. Fill the tub up to 2.5cm (1in) below the rim of the tub, firming as you go.
Remove the Stonecrops from their pots by turning upside down and tapping the pot to release the roots.
Plant, evenly spaced, into the tub, taking care not to bury the crowns of the plants.
Sprinkle a 1cm (1/2in) layer of horticultural grit over the surface of the compost to form a mulch that will prevent the plants from rotting. Lift up the stems to sprinkle the grit underneath them.