Misty January morning at UC Davis Arboretum

The UC Davis Arboretum is a 100-acre treasure on the 5,300-acre University of California, Davis campus . Unlike botanical gardens with fences, gates, and fixed opening hours, the UC Davis Arboretum is accessible to the public around the clock. It's without doubt the most beloved place in town—on any given morning, you'll see people bicycling, running, walking their dogs, pushing strollers, bird-watching, you name it. Since the UC Davis campus is in the heart of town, the Arboretum is no more than 15 minutes away for most Davis residents. On Sunday morning, I took our dog for a walk at the western edge of the Arboretum : the Shields Oak Grove, the Storer Valley-Wise Garden, the White Garden, and perimeter of the Teaching Nursery where in the BCE—the before-Covid era—the Arboretum plant sales were held. It was a misty morning, which paradoxically made some colors pop and others appear muted. It's been a cool December and early January with relatively little sunshine, so many

Apology for blog outage

As you may have noticed, Succulents and More was unavailable from Friday, January 14, until Monday, January 17. I'm truly sorry. This issue came as a complete surprise and was entirely out of my control. Some background: The domain for my blog,, is registered through Blogger (i.e. Google) with Enom , one of the largest domain name registrars in the world. On Friday, Enom performed a scheduled migration to a new data center. It was supposed to last for 12 hours and have no effect on DNS resolution . I assume that's why I didn't receive any advance notice. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. The outage, which was supposed to last for 12 hours, continued for 75 hours, and it made as many as two millions websites unreachable. This was not  supposed to happen in the first place, but apparently even large technology companies with hundreds of engineers are capable of FUBARing things—on a massive scale, too! Again, I apologize if you tried to visi

People-friendly agaves

Many gardeners like the beauty and grace of agaves but are afraid of them because of their often fierce armaments. It's true, many agave species have impressive (read: scary) teeth and spines. But there are plenty of others that are less likely to cause bodily harm when you get too close. Recently, I was asked which agaves are the most people-friendly. A dozen or so came to mind immediately, and a bit of research unearthed some others.  The meaning of “people-friendly” is open to interpretation, but for me, the major factor is the lack of rip-your-skin teeth along the leaf margins—they are the biggest cause of injury. Do bear in mind that many species with smooth leaves still have a terminal spine at the leaf tip, so maintain some degree of caution when handling. A good example is Agave victoriae-reginae : It has rigid but smooth leaves that terminate in a stiff spine. Below is a listing of agave species, hybrids, and cultivars with reasonably smooth leaves. The list is in two par