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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Sedum Elsie's Gold

Some gardeners and garden writers are so quick to look down upon big box retailers, that they overlook the fact that mega retailers not only make a significant contribution to the financial success of the horticultural industry but that they also contribute to the gardening pleasure of their customers. Satisfaction depends upon which big box retailer one chooses. Some are clearly better at servicing gardeners than others.

Last season, I purchased a bag of 5 plants of Sedum Elsie’s Gold at Costco. Imagine that? No other nursery in my area had ever stocked this plant before. And if that had, it might have been for one season only, as a novelty. I was glad to have found it. Its unique coloration made me happy. Although it was slow to establish, one year later, I have two respectably sized plants and three that are still in their seedling state. That’s unusual for Sedum. However I should remember that buying perennials in April that were packaged overseas in January and not planted until end May was a sure way to stifle any plants growth.

Sedum Elsie’s Gold has an unusual color combination. Unlike the monochrome jade or purple varieties of most Sedum that blend easily into garden compositions, this perennial succulent stands out from all others. It requires a different design approach. And that is in spite of its beauty. Wherever I placed it just didn’t seem right because the yellow in its foliage was difficult to visually anchor in flower beds that had no other yellow flowers. To complicate design strategy, by the autumn, when it flowers, the yellow edging will have turned to cream.

Rather than struggle with it in the composition of a flower bed, I have decided instead to use it as a focal piece in a composition of succulents for a large concrete flower pot. The rules of plant composition in containers tend to be bolder and more adventurous so that almost anything is possible. I will report on its success as soon as the incessant rains cease so that I can go outdoors to admire my first attempt at a succulent based container garden.

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Reader Comments (2)

I have not seen this sedum before, love the variegated leaves. I have no problem shopping at the big box stores especially if they have something that I have no seen anywhere else.


May 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGatsbys Gardens

Hi Allan, I think big box retailers are great for the knowledgable or self-serve customer, who is after well priced items, but needs little assistance or advice. If I am looking for something in particular or if I need other assistance, I find big box stores to be very frustrating, to say the least. In your case, you knew you were looking at a great plant at a good price. And you are probably right that growers benefit from the large volume order that big box retailers generate.
I am not sure I have this exact variety of sedum, but I have something similar. I love the variegated leaves.
I look forward to your progress report on the container planting. Hopefully, we get some sunny weather this weekend.

May 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

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