This week we interviewed Penny from Perth. She is a succulent propagator, a collector and a whizz at making succulent arrangements. I asked a few quick questions and here's her story.
When did you start collecting succies and doing leaf propagation?
Its only been about 16 months and I started doing both at the same time. I’ve always loved gardening but this succulent, this has become quite obsessive. Its helped me through a hard personal time.
You are the propagation queen, what’s the slowest leaf prop so far?
You're too kind, its certainly been hit and miss. Bluebird and Monroe are definitely winning the slowest race so far, but oh so worth the wait!
How do you get your babies to stress but still look healthy?
Umm I kind of didn’t do that on purpose in the beginning. I read too many US and colder climate recommendations on desolate, gritty soil so they were totally deprived of moisture and probably too much of our harsh sun.
You mentioned that a caterpillar chewed your 8 month old leaf prop, what other challenges have you had with leaf propagation?
Yes the caterpillars are still munching their way through my garden, its daily warfare. I don’t really want to spray as it leaves a lot of marks and to be honest its all so crowded I would probably wouldn’t get everywhere anyway. My other challenge is finding enough space for all my propagation trays!
How do you manage to create such a tight arrangement?
Succulents are tough, I just keep poking them in till no more fit. The humble chopstick is my best friend here.
You’ve done succulent wreaths, birdcages, sea shells and tiny pot arrangements. What’s the most challenging succulent arrangement you’ve ever done?
The birdcage as they are quite awkward and also I don’t have large enough plants to fill them out nicely like Air at Charming Succulents can. The mini birdcages and wreaths as they are very fiddly and time consuming.
You did a lot of succulent wreaths last Christmas & eventually ran out of succies. You ended up having to outsource them in order to fulfill the customers orders. Has your garden made a comeback since then?
Ooo you know so much Jules…yes, that was my excuse to buy more plants! In the last couple of months I’ve started investing in large 5-10 litre size pots so I can take all my own cuttings come wreath making season.
Thank you for your time. Penny has an outlet at Jarrah Infusion and occasionally sells at the local market. Follow her instagram @contrivecreations and facebook to see her creations and her announcements for market stalls. Please note that WA has strict quarantine measures in place. To find out more visit their website here