It's A Vertical Planter! It's A Succulent Tapestry! It's A Retaining Wall!

 This is Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano.  They made quite an interesting succulent planter out of retaining wall blocks.  Imagine a drawer with an extra tall front and low sides and no back, and that is the shape of those blocks.  They are quite heavy--80 lbs (36 kg) at least.
 Long, tall walls--ten feet tall (~3 M) and taller.  Aeonium 'Kiwi', Echeveria 'Imbricata', Sedum x rubrotinctum were quite happy.  Most all the plants were.  There were only a few failures here and there.  Plant Depot's location is prime Sunset Zone 24--the most mild area of Southern California--never too cold, rarely too hot.  Futher inland, some of these plants may struggle or die.  
 They appear to be irrigated by sprinkler, from above.  These were along the tops of the walls. 
 Sedum x rubrotinctum:

 There were some Sempervivums at the bottom of the wall.  Sempervivums are not particularly happy in Southern California--right along the coast, as San Juan Capistrano is--they are about as good as they are going to be here. 
Oscularia deltoides (right) and a green sedum (on left) were happy. 
  
 Portulaca afra was growing vigorously.  Maybe too vigorously--what would you need do, eventually, to keep it looking good?  Shear? 
Is that a lone dragon fruit (Hylocereus) or Epiphyllum there? 
These walls support the southern end of the store's parking lot. A lane leads down to some boxed tree storage and piles of sod. 
 A few other shots from Plant Depot, a garden center with a wide selection of plants.  The only place I've seen Maireana sedifolia for sale. 
 Your usual "seasonal color display" out front. 
 Cool sign.  Wouldn't that make for a nifty street number on the front of a house?  They have empties of the whole alphabet for sale, ready to plant, though they did not say if they had numbers also. 
 A succulent display at the exit.  Kristen made this, and she can make you one, too.  I'm just relaying what the sign said.  I don't know who Kristen is.  The store would.  She did a nice job. It's something like an ocean wave, cresting.  Maintenance might get scary...

I got a Saliva 'Amistad' to replace Salvia 'Hot Lips'.  The Salvia is (surprise!) already planted--maybe you can make out the deep purple flowers--lousy photo--with a couple of (Thanks, Alan!)  Rudbeckia Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' as temporary companions.  The Echinaceas likely will be annuals here, but I wanted something for the butterflies, which I see fluttering through the garden looking for nectar flowers and not finding many.  
 The rabbits attacked the Rudbeckias Echinaceas as soon as I turned my back, eating a lot of the foliage and nipping off some flower petals, so the Echinaceas get cages until the coyotes get their act together and eat the rabbits.
 I am sure someone else blogged about those retaining walls, but The Google was not forthcoming.  Sorry.   
Thanks to Alan at It's Not Work It's Gardening for correcting the Genus on 'Cheyenne Spirit'.  Hey, it was late...

Comments

  1. Its a fantastic idea, so much better than just a plain concrete retaining wall with the odd weed growing on it. Something so functional has been made into an impressive feature!

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    1. They did include a few weeds, just to make us all feel better. ;^)

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  2. I've seen something similar here, but planted with a single species it's not nearly as effective (it was pachysandra I believe - blech).
    Do they really need irrigation, or is that just standard procedure: plant, provide irrigation?
    (Echinacea, not Rudbeckia?)

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    1. They do need a little irrigation to look good. To look bad, none needed!

      Oh dear yes Echinacea. Thank you!

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  3. What a fabulous wall, I love it! How interesting that Semps don't do well in Southern California. Here in the Seattle area, they are our Echevaria stand-ins, whenever we want to try to recreate something like this succulent wall.

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    1. Summers here are too long, hot, and dry for Semps. They toast.

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  4. Sigh, this is the nursery I missed when we stopped at Mission San Juan Capistrano in March? I could kick myself. That retaining wall is quite a sight. Would have loved to take a closer look. Next time!

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    1. Something to look forward to on the next trip? So many nurseries, so little time...

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  5. That wall is impressive. I wonder what it will look like in a year? - I hope you'll provide an update if you get out that way again. I'll also be interested to hear how Salvia 'Amistad' does for you - I planted 1 last year and 3 this year but the one planted between 2 exuberant Solanum xanti is the only one that has thrived. I pulled 2 out to make room for better performers and the other is living on borrowed time. The Rudbeckia I planted last year died back over the winter but is making a comeback now so maybe you'll have luck with it also (if you can keep the bunnies at bay).

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    1. I hope 'Amistad' is not TOO happy, just happy enough. I will update, as we get that way now and again.

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  6. Wow amazing wall. Such a good idea to make the most of the space. The picture is pretty good as well

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    1. Entirely appropriate, too, as they sell a lot of those exact plants.

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  7. Wow...love it! I used to live about 15 minutes from SJC....really lovely climate! Did you go to the mission? I used to take the train from SJC to San Diego....a very nice ride along the ocean. I always get so homesick in summer here in Houston!

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    1. Wonderful mild climate--San Diego even more so. Houston summers are more of a challenge, yes?

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  8. So were there sad dying succulents under the happy Sedum and Portulaca? Or did they leave those pockets empty?

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    1. There was a section or two where everything had died--no clue as to what was there. There was a section or two where the plant was too small to fit the proportions of the wall, even though the plant was doing well--Haworthia attenuata was the one that comes to mind. It was growing well but was too dainty to be satisfactory. The Portulaca OTOH, was too vigorous. The most proportionally satisfying, at least at that point, was the Sedum rubrotinctum, E. 'Perle von Nuremberg', E. 'Imbricata', and the Aeonium 'Kiwi'. Perhaps that illustrates that a deep knowledge of plant growth and vigor makes for the best long term designs...?

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  9. A wonderful retaining wall and vertical garden. Some beautiful plants here, the purple Salvia and I especially love the Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit", so colourful.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. The 'Cheyenne Spirt' flowers go through a whole range of color changes...they will be fun to watch!

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  10. A hurricane of succulents.

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