August 27, 2022
Melissa has planted a variety of sedum in the front beds we are trying to turn over to the succulents. I wrote in May how the pink stonecrop (Sedum ewersii) in the front driveway bed had begun to flourish even while others have not survived the winters. We had replaced the mulch in the front beds with pea gravel as it provides good drainage for the succulents, but the gravel does not do much to keep out the weeds. Melissa has been holding back on buying additional succulents until she gets her business off and running, so I was surprised several weeks ago when two large boxes (back-to-back days) showed up at the front door. I was told these were not business succulents, they were housing succulents. These sedum carpet tiles had been purchased from a grower friend to start ground cover and keep down the weeds.
When I looked online, I found examples of the sedum carpet tiles we purchased. Each tile contains multiple varieties of sedum in a tightly packed mesh. The seller guaranteed them to be drought tolerant and to have the ability to overwinter in growing zones 3-8. The sedums will grow from 1 to 6 inches (2.5 to 15 cm) high depending on the variety, and although they grow slowly, should hopefully (eventually) spread over the entire bed. Each tile uses a coconut fiber base to ensure effective rooting. The tiles just need to be placed on a prepared bed or growing medium with sufficient moisture. The colorful foliage will flower from late summer to fall with white star-shaped blooms. The site said this can add color and interest to the garden and creates beautiful landscapes when paired with other perennials. Since we will not plant perennials, I am hoping it will also work well along with the established pink stonecrop.
When the boxes of tiles showed up, it was unclear where they were going to be placed and they sat in the front hall for several days. When we were predicted to have rain last week Melissa placed them outside under the Japanese Maple for some water. I knew two of the tiles were supposed to go in with the stonecrop and today I decided it was time to put them in place. Melissa was uncertain how well they would transport, so she got a flat and placed the tiles on it so I could move them. Turns out it did not matter. The 17 by 10 inch (42.5 to 25 cm) tiles had the coconut fiber base I had seen online and then a third-of-an-inch netting beneath the fiber to hold the tile together. Rather than falling apart, I struggled to cut through the layers. I brushed back the pea gravel, set the half tiles on the ground, then spread the gravel back around the sides. Two tiles in, eight more to go.
THOUGHTS: While I had never laid sedum tiles before (or heard of them) it is a lot like laying sod, which I did do for a landscaping outfit one summer. We would grow and cut our own sod in 40 by 12 inch (100 by 30 cm) rolls. The sod was laid in an alternating pattern, flattened in place with a roller, and watered in. The biggest part of the job was preparing the ground (tilling and leveling) prior to laying the sod. Good preparation meant a smooth and even lawn. Shoddy preparation meant an undulating lawn that collected water in pools that killed the grass. Preparation is the key for most good outcomes in life. We had prepared for the Ebola virus in 1976 and the Zika virus in 2015 and stopped them before they widely spread. We were not prepared and ignored the warnings for covid, and it became a pandemic. We can be sure another virus will arise and with globalization may spread. Ignorance is not bliss, and it may kill you. Act for all. Change is coming and it starts with you.