The Missing Garden Ingredient: Patience

Tricolor Sedum Spurium, a ground cover Stonecrop

A favorite mini garden "bedding plant" with green-gray leaves lipped in creamy white and touched with pinks.

The Missing Garden Ingredient: Patience

Patience is not spoken about often enough in the multitudes of gardening advice found online these days. There are many blogs, articles and videos extolling the virtues of how, when, what and why to grow what you grow – but there’s not a lot of chatter about having “to endure the waiting calmly.”

Waiting for the plant to grow.

Waiting for the plant to flower.

Waiting for the plant to look its best.

Patience came to mind as I was cutting back one the groundcovers that use for miniature gardening. While all the plants that are recommended for this scale of gardening are carefully thought out and chosen for their color, small leaves and growth shape, it should be noted that plants can’t look their best all the time – in life-sized and in miniature gardens.

Just like we don’t look our best all the time.

Fortunately, we can nurse and nest ourselves until we feel better, why wouldn’t we expect plants to do the same thing?

That’s where the patience comes in.

A mini garden for full sun with Blue Pygmy Juniper and Tricolor Stonecrop

The green-gray of the Tricolor Sedum is fun to match with similar colored plants.

Sedum spurium, or the groundcover Stonecrop Sedum, is a favorite for miniature gardening with the little rosettes on the end of each stem, perching just so. The “bigger,” flatter leaves (talking mini gardening here) add a solid texture when paired with tiny-leafed Thymes or Dwarf Mondo Grass, for example. It’s varying the texture of the foliage that add depth and drama to the mini garden scene.

The varieties of Sedum Spurium lend a range of color to the mini garden palette. The Dragon’s Blood Stonecrop Sedum has a wonderful deep wine-red colored leaf, the Tricolor Stonecrop Sedum has pink, cream and grey-green leaves that is a real charmer – and even the “regular” Stonecrop Sedum ‘Alba’ is a bright, cheerful green color.

For most of the year, this plant is a well-behaved miniature garden “shrub” but come July/August, the branches reach out and bloom for us in wee bunches of pink flowers. After which, the plant is leggy, droopy (a technical horticultural term ;o) and looks a bit barren.

Sedum Spurium, a ground cover Stonecrop

New growth at the crown or base of the this ground cover Stonecrop.

But look a little closer at the base of the plant (called the crown) and you’ll see the new growth start to emerge as tiny, new buds poking up from the bottom and sides of the leggy stems. That’s when you shear off the gangly branches just above the new buds, which will trigger the new growth to flush out quickly – and start the process all over again.

Sedum Spurium, a ground cover Stonecrop

Tiny pink buds at the base of the this plant signals that it's time to shear the leggy branches back.

And it is patience that will get you over this wee hurdle and loving your mini garden again – wait for the new growth to emerge before shearing it back. It’ll reward you with months of looking great… until next August.

Look for your other ground cover Sedums to do the same and shear them back too – once you see the new growth.

PS – I’ll have them back in the store in the fall – when they look their best!

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  1. Ilona said

    I love your blog and your Miniature garden center! I’m going to add them as resources to my fairy garden page.

    You do lovely work with so much creative pizazz.


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