‘Classical Still Life with Cactus Apples and Aeonium Blooms”
All the varieties of succulent called aeonium are standouts, their flower-like rosette forms and gorgeous colorations appeal to even those who claim to dislike succulents. I love them all, but my absolute favorite is called schwarzkopf or “black head” in German. Their dark presence in the garden adds visual tension, and when used with plants of complementary colors provide dramatic contrast. This time of year, however, aeonium schwarzkopf adds to its usual noir show with a touch of gold …
Suddenly purple-black rosettes are joined by tall stems ending with dense cones of bright yellow flowers, each with delicate little stamen explosions. It was this appearance of gold up-top that inspired the still life photo; I loved the idea of the bright yellow flowers replacing the missing head of a metal Roman figure I bought at a garage sale … To lend further background contrast I added a flea market paint-by-numbers head of a Roman emperor, a distressed, intricately tooled leather portfolio from Mexico, weathered wood, and a cactus branch with dark fruit … My aeonium blooms are now the focal point — and surreal sunshine — in this dark, textured landscape.