Monday, June 28, 2010

Succulent Clock

One of the hottest items in contemporary floral design today is the use of the so-called "succulent" plants. Most popular are the echeverias and the aeoniums, as well as some crassulas and sempervivums. A key attraction is that they are  xeriphytes, and as such are extremely hardy. But probably the two principal attributes that have really stimulated interest in their use in modern floral design is firstly the extremely hip color palette that they are available in: You can find all shades of gray, from light to dark, as well as glaucous gray-greens to bright glossy greens, as well as rusty browns and dark glossy black. Many are edged with scarlet tones, and stilll others are mottled in antique rust. Secondly, the distinct, well-formed and clean symetrical rosettes of many varieties has endeared them to floral professionals with minimalist tastes on the one hand, and are also used with gusto by designers who favor highly detailed and articulate design work on the other.
Yet as seemingly novel and fresh as they seem in contemporary floral design, their use has been employed and appreciated for many years in the somewhat quaint yet delightful "Flower Clock" in the Northeast corner of the Princes' Street Gardens, in the center of Edinburgh, Scotland.
On my recent trip to Edinburgh, childhood memories were stirred when I revisited this landmark for the first time in a couple of decades at least. Yet the craft and handiwork, which I had always taken for granted in my youth, was quite impressive and to be admired. The designers and gardeners clearly were using the rosettes of the echeverias for the same reasons that they are popluar with florists; namely the distinct sculptural form, the sublime coloring and the hardy nature of the product. And yet they have been using these items for several decades in the clock.
The clock itself dates back to 1904, when it was first created in the Princes' Street Gardens, and is believed to be the oldest floral clock in the world. For many years it was purely decorative, but a couple of years after the Second World War, the clock incorporated a theme. This year, 2010, the theme celebrates 100 years of Girl Guiding, or the Girl Scout Movement in England. Not only is the fascia decorated with plants, but also the hands of the clock are specially designed to be able to be fully planted with flowers. After planting, the entire clock is continuously preened , clipped and manicured to not only keep the "garden" looking at its best, but also to make sure no stems or leaves interfere with the mechanism of the clock.
The predominant echeveria being used in the clock's design is the Echeveria secunda, sometimes called "Hens and Chickens" and is one of the most popular for floral design as well. In cooler weather, or in locales where there are cold nights the edges of the rosette are limned with red. At Mayesh we offer these flowers, as well as several others on a daily basis, and have access to about sixty distinct varieties of succulents which are available by special order. For further information on this please click shipping to contact one of our sales associates.

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