Succulents and more in the front yard, late September 2016

This post picks up where I left off here. Let’s take a look at the succulents and other goodies growing outside the fenced-in front yard proper.

This the entrance to the fenced-in front yard:


Facing the view you see in the photo above, you would have the driveway in your back. Turn around, and this is what you see:


There are still a few flowers on the palo verde! This tree has been an impressive performer at all levels.

The strip between our house and our neighbor’s house is a another small succulent area. Two trees anchor it: the Bearss lime tree at the sidewalk end, and the ‘Desert Museum’ palo verde at the garage end.

The succulents between the two trees (plus the three Dione edule ‘Palma Sola’) are starting to come into their own.




LEFT: Agave parrasana  RIGHT: Agave ‘Mad Cow’ (Agave colorata × bovicornuta)


LEFT: Agave parrasana  RIGHT: Agave ‘Mad Cow’ (Agave colorata × bovicornuta)


Dioon edule ‘Palma Sola’, Agave ‘Felipe Otero’ (often misidentified as Agave titanota), Agave ‘Snow Glow’


 Agave ‘Snow Glow’, a variegated sport of ‘Blue Glow’


Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’, Cotyledon orbiculata, Aloe cryptopoda. It’s getting tight in here!


Agave ‘Joe Hoak’ (check out this post from January 2014 for comparison!)

This Agave parryi var. truncata in the driveway has thrived in this metal pot.


However, a few weeks ago I noticed this:


Mealybugs! The bane of my existence! I sprayed them repeatedly with isopropyl alcohol and sprinkled system insecticide granules on top of the soil (as much as I could reach). Keeping my fingers crossed I’ve nipped the problem in the bud!

Now let’s walk around the outside of the front yard.


You know fall isn’t far away when the California fuchsias (Epilobium canum) are in bloom


×Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’ flowered and promptly turned into a mess of pups. Time to separate them! I much prefer one individual rosette as a time.


Agave weberi ‘Arizona Star’ has been slower than I thought but it’s finally coming into its own


Ever reliable: Russelia equisetiformis


New this summer: Agave ‘Grey Ghost’, a gift from a friend. ‘Grey Ghost’ is thought to be a hybrid between Agave salmiana var. ferox  and Agave asperrima. It was available for a short period of time through Plant Delights Nursery.


Aloe excelsa in front of Grevillea plurijuga ssp. superba


Grevillea plurijuga ssp. superba. Don’t be fooled by the feathery-looking foliage. It’s bristly, not soft. It hasn’t flowered yet, but the flowers look stunning.


Aloe marlothii, one of two in the front yard (I have a third in the backyard). Not a fast grower by any means! The foliage behind it is from Salvia discolor.


Aloe arborescens (variegated on the left, green on the right) under the city-owned-and-hence-untouchable Bradford pear (aka the nastiest tree in existence). Salvia discolor on the lower left.


I love the contrast: Manihot grahamii on the top and Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ on the bottom


Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’ being swallowed again by Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)


Yucca linearifolia, Calliandra californica, Aloe ferox (continued below)


This Agave zebra will soon be squished by Aloe ferox. Time to replant it!


I had been hoping Aloe ferox would grow enough of a trunk to lift itself off the ground before it got too close to Agave zebra, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening.


Agave parrasana × colorata, Agave parrasana, Aloe broomii. The shrub is Leucophyllum frutescens ‘Compactum’.


Agave mitis, Aloe petricola, Agave macroacantha, Aloidendron ‘Hercules’


Aloe petricola, Agave mitis, Agave macroacantha, Aloidendron ‘Hercules’


Agave macroacantha


Aloe ‘Moonglow’, Yucca rostrata, Agave americana ‘Medio-picta Alba’, Agave ovatifolia. Aloe hereroensis


This Leucophyta brownii has turned into the tumbleweed-shape I had been hoping for. I’m so fond of it, I will plant a few more for repetition.


Agave deserti var. nelsonii, Aloe capitata var. quartziticola, Leucophyta brownii. Agave deserti var. nelsonii and an Agave palmeri (dwarf form) hiding behind the Leucophyta brownii will have to be moved this fall.


Wider view towards the front of the house. The tree is ‘Sonoran Emerald’ palo verde.


Agave schidigera ‘Durango Delight’


Aloe ‘Erik the Red

Considering that so much of the front yard looks reasonably good after a long, hot summer, I have high hopes for the fall. I can’t wait for the first real rain to wash everything clean.


  1. Looks really good! Your Palo verde branches are muy verde--that is so attractive.

    Appears you will be moving a few things in the near future--so many plants, never enough space. We all wish we had Ruth Bancroft's, or Madame Walska's, amount of garden space.

    1. I'm very happy that the two palo verde hybrids we have ('Desert Museum' and 'Sonoran Emerald') both have very colorful bark.

      I so wish I had more space. Even just an acre (instead of 1/5). My ambitions (and purchases) far exceed the space I have available.

  2. Wow looks fantastic! I need to water more. You have things set up perfectly. I know what you mean about the mealies! I too have a terrible problem at this time of year.

    1. Stuff generally gets watered once a week for 25 minutes (drip). The succulent mounds that replaced the front lawn are on a 10-day cycle. Seems to be enough.

  3. Yesyesyes, I agree .... everything looks so good, so well cared for. The rain WILL come! Won't it?

    1. I've never wanted the rains to come as badly as I do this year. Everything looks dirty and needs a good washing. I finally had our old Honda Civic washed that sits in the driveway. What a difference it made!

    2. Hey, I've got an old 1998 Honda Civic, too, but I bring it out to the driveway only when it rains. I must say it's pretty dusty right now.

  4. Everything looks amazing! And I think I just said this on part one, but I am so happy to have just seen it in person.

    Mealys, damn. I am getting ready to start the great migration and had meant to repot a few things (after a good root scrubbing and pot cleaning) which I was concerned might have them in the soil. Where does time go??? Hope you caught yours in time.

    1. From my casual observations, it seems that mealybugs mostly infest plants that are predominantly in the shade. I hate the buggers!

  5. So nothing much to look at here. ;) Just amazing. So unlike my own garden, where I can (and must) brush past most plants. :)

    One thing: Agave marlothii? Typo?

    1. Aaah, Aloe marlothii. Good catch, I fixed it. That's what you get when you're exhausted :-).

      I think all of us tend to pay less attention to our own garden than to the gardens of others. Human nature.

  6. All the succulents look great - they're clearly happy. I love that 'Mad Cow' agave and I'm envious of the 'Snow Glow' agave, which I've yet to find at a price that doesn't make me choke. A friend and I have a trip to the Australian Native Plants Nursery planned for early October and I'm going to make a point of looking for that Grevillea, which I haven't seen before - I'm sure I can squeeze in another (somewhere). Good luck conquering the blasted mealybugs!

    1. Kris, believe it or not, I bought that Agave 'Snow Glow' in a 4-inch pot for $8 at the 2012 fall plant sale at the Ruth Bancroft Garden! I actually believe it was labeld 'Sun Glow'. I wish I could find the original tag. On 'Sun Glow' the leaf margins are more yellow, on 'Moon Glow' more white. Mine plant first had white margins that have become more yellow over time. So who knows which of the two it is.

      You're so lucky to be able to go to Jo O'Connell's plant sale. I'd been toying with the idea, but it's just too far. Do ask her about Grevillea plurijuga ssp. superba. She has it listed on her web site. I got mine as a gift from Troy McGregor, the nursery manager at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. I believe they were seedlings he had started.

    2. Forgive me for jumping in, Gerhard, but I just saw on Piece of Eden (I'm so behind on my reading) that you were still looking for a 'Moon Lagoon.' If you're planning a trip south this winter and want mine, it's yours. Needs to be in the ground, and what little bit of earth I can plant in, here, I'm reserving for coastal sage scrub natives. Can send photos, if you like.

  7. Knowing the kind of heat Davis has had this summer makes your new garden all the more remarkable. These plants love you as much as you love them! I don't know what I'd do without these dry garden plants -- probably fall into a deep depression! And I have to say that 'Mad Cow' is a standout for me too.


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