Monday, June 09, 2008

'Heirloom' Yellow Sedum

We consider this yellow Sedum (Sedum sarmentosum aka: Graveyard Moss, Stringy Stonecrop and Gold Moss) as one of our 'heirloom' plants because it was here years before we arrived, and it will likely never go away.... At first, it used to virtually carpet our original, quite small bed out front and we were continually pulling it away from our valued perennials and annuals ... but it just kept coming back no matter how much we pulled. Finally we made a sort of peace with it, because it is really pretty when it blooms! But since the construction of the boulder bed in 2003, we have truly come to love it and give it its place among the rocks out front, but then again, by itself, it has virtually demanded 'a place in the sun.'

We still pull it when it's taking space from a more desirable plant, and either just toss it up in the air to land where it will, or we'll tuck it into a space in the rocks that has managed to remain free of some sort of creeping vegetation. An example: there's a fire hydrant in our front parking and there's a square spot around it where nothing wants to grow ... so a couple of years ago, as I pulled it, I just tucked it in around the hydrant, and in no time, it had filled this trouble spot. Its advantage (and probably its strategy) is that it never grows high enough to be subjected to the blade of the mower, and requires absolutely NO attention whatsoever. The tiniest bit of this sedum can rapidly produce another plant, and it grows in any kinds of conditions ... wet, poor dry soil, sand, xeriscape, you name it. After all that you're probably saying, hmm, kind of invasive is what you're saying, right? Well, yes it does have that potential, but as we've found, invasive can sometimes be an advantage, especially if you have a rock wall or stepping stones or some other such problematic space for most other plants, and for these purposes S. sarmentosum makes itself a quite good candidate to fit your needs.

We have another species of Sedum that hails from my sister's backyard ... I have yet to identify it, but when it's blooming (which will be soon), I'll post what I've found. It too is another tough Sedum. We've always loved succulent plants, and these members of the Crassulaceae (which also includes the always popular 'Jade Plants') are hardy enough (from Zones 3-8!) to indulge us with a carefree, pretty perennial that, when frost comes, just disappears into the garden until it emerges again the following spring ... no clean up necessary! (That's another advantage I really like, given all the other end of the season detritus we have to clean up!)

It's a good thing that Fernymoss took these shots on 5 June before the catastrophic rains of that night which provoked the flooding of 9 inches of water into our basement (the drains filled and it all just backed up into ours, thus causing the flooding). We were cleaning up down there again today and have entirely filled our trash cart for the week ... it looks like we'll have to rent a dumpster to dispose of the rest of the waterlogged stuff down there (I'm estimating about 75% of what we had stored down there). The first time we've ever had water to this extent in our basement in nearly 10 years (we've had some previous, mild seepage, but nothing like this!) After working a few hours down there today, I sprayed all over with Lysol, but this job is going to take weeks to clean up to our satisfaction. *SIGH* We're already resigned to the fact that a lot of sentimental stuff is going to have to go, but it still ... it's really disappointing. We had more heavy rains again today (primarily this morning), but no new flooding so far. I hope this is the last of it, though local folks are already making ominous references to the 'Great Flood of '93.'

Iowa saw some of its worst flooding in more than a decade, Gov. Chet Culver said in a statement as he declared an emergency in nearly a third of the state's 99 counties, freeing up state resources.

A levee broke along the Winnebago River in Mason City, and its water treatment plant was shut down. Residents of the city of nearly 30,000 have been asked to avoid using tap water.

Officials said water levels on the Iowa River at Iowa City could be like those during the historic floods of 1993, which put much of the state underwater. The University of Iowa plans to move several classes starting Tuesday.

Full article referenced is here. We weren't alone these past few days, and many have suffered great damages as well. All in all, I guess we were pretty fortunate after all....


Dirty Fingernails said...

I love sedum.. My blooms are long gone, but sure still love the little succulent leaves.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I wonder if this is the same as my "heirloom" Sedum. It sounds like it does the same thing too, as I had to cut off large chunks of it to see the rocks it was growing over.
I hate when storms get into a rut. I feel so bad for all of you in Iowa & central Illinois & Indiana. Here in the Nothwest suburbs, we've been spared the worst of it (so far).

boran2 said...

I'm sorry to read about the flooding, IVG. I hope that it subsides soon.

That heirloom sedum took me way back. Many years ago I used to work for a landscaper during the summer. He used that same sedum in many different gardens. I haven't seen it in many years and would love to have some. It really is a wonderful plant. And when it does get to be a little much, it is easily removed to another spot.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Dirty Fingernails! Thanks for stopping by, and come again! Yeah, sedums are really cool plants, even if they can be a bit pesky at times. What's always impressed me is that we can actually grow a real succulent in our climate and have them be so easy!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi MMD! This could well be what you have too, because it's really common around here (at least) ... makes you wonder who was the first one years ago to turn this loose in the neighborhood! Now if I could just nail the culprit who introduced 'Creeping Charlie' here, I'd give him/her a good talking to!

Thanks for the kind thoughts about the rain (it's doing it again as I write!). With any luck we'll get out of this nasty weather pattern soon!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2! Thanks ... as long as the basement doesn't flood again, we'll make it through this rough patch.

Hey, if you want some of this sedum, just drop by any time and we can send you home with a bunch! Short of me sending you some to NY, I bet you might be able to find some around there if you go looking. According to that Davesgarden page I link to, some members there have it for sale. (Alternately, I could send you some if you really want some!)

FARfetched said...

Yellow Sedum… so that's what it's called! There's a couple of patches around FAR Manor that have sprung up around stumps or trees. I took a picture, cataloged it as another of the many flower-weeds we have around here & left it at that.

Invasive… heh. You have noooo idea. :-) Butterfly bushes are bad enough (and we giggle when we see Home Despot selling them for $16 each!), but kudzu *defines* invasive.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR ... I'm glad I was able to ID this for you. We have another variety that will be blooming very soon and I'll be sure to post it. You might just have that one too.

Oh, I know all about Butterfly bushes being invasive in certain climates (apparently they're horrid pests in the Pacific NW), but with our winter climate that's never a problem here. I *shudder* just remembering Kudzu (and Brazilian Pepper trees) from my time in the mutant string bean state and am so glad that they couldn't survive our climate. We have plenty of other things almost as nasty (such as Crown Vetch) to contend with!

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