A year or so ago, James Hitchmough (the English Landscape Architect) came to Denver and gave a talk. One of the themes of that talk was that the general public likes COLOR and lots of it. Well, who doesn't? But those of us who regard ourselves as sophisticated plant nerds tend to like the unusual, where form trumps color. [My God, he's ruined the word forever]. The flowers of this little foxtail succulent are pinkish--but not much showier than the budded stems above. But it does have form!
It's undeniably....well...upright and somewhat suggestive perhaps. Not terribly complicated...my first starts were a gift of John Trager of the Huntington who told me they were collected on the rooftops of Suzhou. When I visited that city twenty years ago, I kept looking at the roof tiles, and did see some sedums, but never these--so I better go back and check again don't you think?
Here's an old picture showing the flowers starting to open--quite pretty in a subdued fashion...This May ACTUALLY BE Orostachys japonica now that I look at it--but the flowers are very similar...
I published this picture before...years ago as a matter of fact. But I think it really shows the rusty color dusted with a bit of flour that make the rosettes irresistible.
Now at the tail end of the growing season, when asters, rabbitbrush and the rabble of annuals are all at their peak, this subtle little gnome of a plant gives me special delight. Love is irrational for sure: how do we explain our whims and megrims to others? Well, we can't. But we can share them!