Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Lesson learned, don't plant semps near alliums

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Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
Birds Seed Starter Hybridizer Sempervivums
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AntMan01
Jan 12, 2018 7:38 PM CST
At one point, I wanted to get semps out of pots and planted in the garden. I didn't provide a successful planting situation, I grow lots of Allium and they seed around freely and infiltrate Sempervivum plantings. No way to easily dig the little bulbs out, eventually I moved the semps back into new planters. In the lower left is 'Brock', in the upper portion of the views is 'Bronco'. The Allium is A. flavum ssp. tauricum (many color forms).

from 3rd week March 2010
Thumb of 2018-01-13/AntMan01/84cbf0

early April 2010
Thumb of 2018-01-13/AntMan01/7eca66

mid June 2010, with silvery stems of Allium flavum ssp. tauricum.
Thumb of 2018-01-13/AntMan01/0ac1ce

Going to start rebuilding my Semp & Heuff collection starting spring 2018, have to decide where and how I'll be growing them, for the best outcome and manageability.

Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
Allium 'Millenium' - 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year:
http://www.perennialplant.org/...
https://www.waltersgardens.com...
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
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plantmanager
Jan 12, 2018 8:53 PM CST
I'm glad you mentioned that, and showed us pics, Mark. I will try to keep my semps far away from my Alliums!
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Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
Birds Seed Starter Hybridizer Sempervivums
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AntMan01
Jan 12, 2018 10:12 PM CST
plantmanager said:I'm glad you mentioned that, and showed us pics, Mark. I will try to keep my semps far away from my Alliums!


Well, one always thinks about companion plants, but bulb species are not one that mixes well with semps.

Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
Allium 'Millenium' - 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year:
http://www.perennialplant.org/...
https://www.waltersgardens.com...
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jan 12, 2018 11:11 PM CST
That's very true, but something I'd never really thought about. Your photos have made me want to be very careful now! They remind me of the grasses I have growing in my cacti. That's a real problem right now.
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 13, 2018 8:38 AM CST
It's not just alliums Hilarious!
anything and everything that freely seeds around is a real problem, and that darn wind makes sure I get good distribution of volunteers
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2018 1:00 PM CST

Moderator

So far I have had great success with some bulb type plants mixed in semp beds. I think the raised beds make it easier to manage the bulbs.
I was told Triteleia hendersonii) would take over the bed. This planting has been in the bed for about 5 years and has never attempted a take over.


Same with this one.


This one is very prolific, but easy to harvest the bulbs in the fall and move them to different beds.


Tulipa clusiana is not as prolific and plays well with the semps.


And one of my favorite bulbs to grow with semps:


Alliums in the semp beds:



I only grow the smaller types of allium and cut the seed heads off before they ripen.
Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
Birds Seed Starter Hybridizer Sempervivums
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AntMan01
Jan 13, 2018 2:22 PM CST
valleylynn said:So far I have had great success with some bulb type plants mixed in semp beds. I think the raised beds make it easier to manage the bulbs.
I was told Triteleia hendersonii) would take over the bed. This planting has been in the bed for about 5 years and has never attempted a take over.

I only grow the smaller types of allium and cut the seed heads off before they ripen.


Lynn, you have saved me the trouble of asking about your cement block raised planting beds, and using the open cells of concrete blocks for planting. I was thinking about using that technique, but was worried that in the winter months (here in northern Massachusetts) when the ground freezes solid for months, the concrete block cells could hold water. Even with potted plants, when I plunge them in wood chips for the winter, I tilt the pots so that when they're frozen solid, the pot's rim will not fill up with water/ice.

I like the idea of small Tulipa as companion plants, I do like them; favorites include Little Beauty and the orange Little Princess, and small permanent growing species such as bifloriformis and the wonderful white T. polychroma with powerful sweet fragrance. I'm also a fan of Trits and Brodiaea, unfortunately rabbits have moved in a couple years ago, they LOVE to eat crocus, trits & brods, and they're decimating my Alliums, Iris and other treasures. I believe it's time to get some lead rabbit repellant.

The planting of Iris reticulata in a concrete block cell is brilliant!

With two of my worst weeds, I was finally able to eradicate Campanula punctata (horribly invasive here) after about 10 years trying. The worst weed remains, Campanula takesimana (syn. C. punctata, & C. punctata var. takesimana) it's my worst nightmare, don't think I can ever totally control it, I had to resort to using roundup on it, which says a lot because I don't use any chemicals in my gardening. I mention this because I see that in your landscape photo you have Campanula punctata tagged, keep a close watch on that one, it spreads by dust-like wind carried seed and aggressive stringy rhizomes, the slightest piece left behind sprouts lots of new plants.

By the way, how does one add tags to photos on this forum? In your last landscape photo, the brilliant color on semps Hordubal and Rose Toujour look fantastic, so useful to add tags as you've done.

Last, you'll have to take my word for it, the true Allium senescens ssp. glaucum is NOT in cultivation; the true subspecies is a tall upright plant that blooms mid-summer, which looks nothing like the Allium senescens "glaucum" of Hort. I would post a link to a Russian flora site to show the true plant, but I think my new-ish membership here is still preventing me from posting URLs.

Good idea about dead-heading your alliums. My "Allium Garden" is approximately 50' x 60', and it's near impossible for me to dead-head them all, so I will need to grow my semps in another part of my property.
Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
Allium 'Millenium' - 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year:
http://www.perennialplant.org/...
https://www.waltersgardens.com...
Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
Birds Seed Starter Hybridizer Sempervivums
Image
AntMan01
Jan 13, 2018 4:39 PM CST
plantmanager said:That's very true, but something I'd never really thought about. Your photos have made me want to be very careful now! They remind me of the grasses I have growing in my cacti. That's a real problem right now.


Grasses can be the worst. The last few years of my work life before I retired June 2016 were extremely stressful and demanding, such that I had very little time for gardening, and my approx. 50' x 60' Allium garden became overrun with "field grass" (not sure actual botanical name), but the grass is fiercely spreading with long runners. Other weeds, tree seedlings, and black raspberry brambles I can easily deal with, but the grass invasion is forcing a multi-year salvage operation, digging up every square inch, bare-rooting the salvaged plants, then making large piles of saved de-weeded soil, those piles get watched for one whole year because new grass shoots will come up, and I want the soil to be absolutely grass-free before re-using it. I hope to finish this operation in 2018. It's hard to imagine how to handle digging up grass around cacti Crying

By the way, this past October was the first time I ever visited the State of New Mexico (Santa Fe), the botanic garden there was excellent, even in the off season.

Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
Allium 'Millenium' - 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year:
http://www.perennialplant.org/...
https://www.waltersgardens.com...
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad Adeniums Orchids Tropicals Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jan 13, 2018 4:55 PM CST
I bought something that was supposed to only kill grasses, but it didn't kill the grasses. I'm almost to the point of digging up all the cacti to get rid of the grass and then replant. I hate to set them back because they are all doing so well, but the grasses are so unsightly. It's too many to hand pull or snip.

I've never been to the Santa Fe botanical garden. We'll have to plan a trip there. Our favorite garden is the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. It's wonderful in all seasons.
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2018 5:47 PM CST

Moderator

It is so easy to maintain the cement block beds. We put down a layer of hardware cloth and assemble the beds on top of it. We make them two rows high, hammer the rebar into the ground about 8 inches in both holes on the inside surface. Add course gravel to the top of the first block and the rest is sandy loam to the top. We have never had water pool on the surface, or not drain away very quickly.
So far this has worked with keeping the Campanula punctata contained in the holes. It has been in several beds for about 3 or 4 years. Crossing Fingers!
I can see that it could be quite invasive. Kevin got rid of his, he had it planted in the ground and it was starting to spread. The bloom on this one is quite unusual.


I've also been growing mint in some of the holes. So far so good on this experiment.

I put the raised cement block beds in because I can no longer keep the borders weed and grass free. The beds are so easy to maintain.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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dirtdorphins
Jan 13, 2018 6:24 PM CST
ugh--grasses Grumbling and other
this fall I dug out and sifted a section of neglect that was infested with bermuda grass and saponaria officinalis, pitched most of the perennials that were in there as unsalvageable.
sad part is, I couldn't go far enough into the neighbor's yard or far enough into my own fruit trees to get it all so I didn't really fix the problem...looks better, for now, but I know better.

Lynn, your beds are ingenious!
Pretty soon, when I'm done hopping around on boulders, and can't take another winter, I'm moving to someplace green and I'm gonna copy you! Green Grin!
[Last edited by valleylynn - Jan 13, 2018 6:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2018 6:43 PM CST

Moderator

The Willamette Valley????? Hurray!
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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dirtdorphins
Jan 13, 2018 7:28 PM CST
maybe so--we sure liked it out there and are looking forward to coming again this spring Smiling
Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
Birds Seed Starter Hybridizer Sempervivums
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AntMan01
Jan 13, 2018 8:35 PM CST
Lynn: I know that Campanula punctata form, be sure to dead-head, and watch out for any tiny white rhizomes that could escape through the seams between concrete blocks.

Here's a photo of my nightmare, I can't possibly dig them all out (they're spreading into my lawn and the surrounding woodlands now), but to curb the seeding I yank out any and all flowering stems. Pretty monster isn't it Blinking
Campanula punctata (syn. C. takesimana, C. punctata var. takesimana)

Thumb of 2018-01-14/AntMan01/24de82

Dirt (I feel odd calling you that, but that's your forum name): if looking for a new State and green place to garden, I recommend doing your research to make sure of the move. I moved from my home State of Massachusetts to the Seattle area back in the early 1980s, stuck it out for 4 years. Often touted as a great place to garden, the shock was discovering certain realities of gardening in that climate, the major one being armies of giant slugs that decimate herbaceous plants of most any type. For this die-hard New Englander I found the Pacific Northwest climate not to my liking, the long periods of cold rain & drizzle to be utterly depressing, so I moved back and have been here 30 years.
Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
Allium 'Millenium' - 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year:
http://www.perennialplant.org/...
https://www.waltersgardens.com...
[Last edited by AntMan01 - Jan 13, 2018 8:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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dirtdorphins
Jan 13, 2018 9:40 PM CST
Yikes! I'm still battling one like that (cherry bells)--evil
at least it is contained to a relatively small and convenient area with loose soil so I can rip it out fairly easily whenever I see it dare to surface
Don't worry, I like to be called Dirt Smiling and is good advice--I spent 10 loooong yrs in Minnesocold in the winter and sohotandhumid in the summer, on a bad move. It was a great place to garden though, in farm country, in the middle of nowhere on the prairie, with 4 feet of black gold top soil. Oh, I had some magnificent weeds there! no such thing as bare soil Hilarious!
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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goldfinch4
Jan 14, 2018 5:16 AM CST

Moderator

The biggest weed problem in my semp gardens is Norwegian Thistle. We have a county park across the road from us that is kept "natural". The only problem with that is that it's full of Norwegian Thistles. When they're in bloom and it's windy out, it literally looks like a snowstorm outside. I have to keep on top of those and remove them as soon as they sprout or they're a nightmare to get out of a clump of semps.

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