Succulents and more outside the front yard fence

In my last post I showed you the progress and recent changes happening in the front yard inside the fence. Now let’s venture outside the fence. The planting strip that runs along the sidewalk bakes in the sun. I’ve had some failures here over the years (remember this beautiful Leucospermum ‘Scarlet Ribbon’?) but they’ve taught me to rely more heavily on heat-loving—or at least heat-tolerant—succulents as well as perennials from other Mediterranean climates.

I feel good heading into winter (and, beyond that, into the next summer) but there are always unexpected surprises. But that’s what makes gardening so fascinating. Let’s face it, we need at least some plants to die here and there to justify our ongoing plant purchases!


Agave weberi ‘Arizona Star’ and Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’. Both will be much bigger a year from now.


Agave colorata, Banksia blechnifolia, and a lavender I lost track of (I do believe it’s Lavandula lanata × angustifolia ‘Ana Luisa’ but I’m not 100% certain)


DIfferent view of the Banksia blechnifolia and the NOID lavender. For a while I regretted planting the banksia so close to the lavender, but now I really like how the two are intermingling.


Two new additions: Lavender allardii ‘Meerlo’, framed in green, and Banksia repens, framed in red. (Banksia repens is very similar to Banksia blechnifolia.)


The lifesaver plant (Huernia zebrina) living in a shallow pot on top of the front yard fence is still blooming—more than three months after it started


I’m going to give this Aloe ferox a cultivar name, Aloe ferox ‘Leaning Tower’. Dude, your posture is terrible. The way you’re going, you’ll never be able to support your head above your body!


Aloe cameronii constantly in danger of being engulfed by this Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)


Getting ready to bloom: Aloe glauca (left) and Veltheimia capensis, a South African bulb (actually three now), in front of Aloe capitata var. quartziticola (right)


Non-stop bloomer: Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica)

Finally a look at the succulent bed next to the driveway. It separates our property from our neighbor’s and is anchored by the ‘Desert Museum’ palo verde you see on the right in the next photo:


From right to left: Agave ‘Mad Dog’ (hybrid between Agave colorata and Agave bovicornuta), Agave parrasana, Agave ‘Snow Glow’,  Agave ‘Felipe Otero’, Dioon edule ‘Palma Sola’ and more


Agave parrasana, Agave ‘Mad Dog’ (Agave colorata × bovicornuta)


From right to left: Agave ‘Snow Glow’,  Agave ‘Felipe Otero’, Dioon edule ‘Palma Sola’, Senecio vitalis (top left)


Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’, Cotyledon orbiculata, Aloe cryptopoda.


Good ole jade plant (Crassula ovata) getting ready to bloom


Yucca rostrata getting big—a good 5 ft. high by 4 ft. wide. But no trunk yet. Or maybe it’s hidden beneath those spiky leaves?

Next post: a sneak peek at what’s going on in the backyard.


  1. It's looking good. I love the name Baja fairy duster, it always makes me smile. I wish I could get Bouteloua to thrive in my garden.

    1. So far so good on the Bouteloua. But I've only had it for a few months. I have high hopes, but that doesn't mean it'll cooperate.

  2. I was enjoying perusing the photos when I was thrust into plant envy by that Veltheimia capensis..where did you get that ? Please advise because I think I need one pretty bad. I will also report that the cuttings you gave me of the Cotyledon are doing just splendidly, all in pots at the present.

    1. Kathy, I was stumped for a minute as to where I got my Veltheimia capensis from. It turns out I bought it from Nick Wilkinson (GROW Nusery) when he gave a talk at the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society in November 2011 (see here).

      If you can't find one, I'll be happy to give you one of mine pups.

      Great news about that cotyledon. It's soooooo white! I think I got it at Annie's Annuals.

  3. That Agave 'Mad Dog' is a pretty thing! I'll have to check if there's any sign the Veltheimia I planted has reappeared - it went underground when the weather got hot here and may still be waiting on real rain before it surfaces (if it comes back at all).

    1. Agave colorata x bovicornuta is awesome. I got mine from Greg Starr. He still sells it on his web site:

  4. Sweet! Everything looks just wonderful. I'm especially enamored with your Agave weberi ‘Arizona Star’.

    1. Me too! It's finally coming into its own. It lost a few old leaves to sunburn after I planted it, but the new ones are perfectly adapted to the hot sun.

  5. OH, how I wish I could get Bouteloua to grow's just splendid when it's happy!

    1. Is it the heat? Although Portland gets plenty hot in the summer.

  6. So many beautiful plants in relatively small space. You chose wisely. Now that I admire it, 'Arizona Star' might be a fine companion to Phylica pubescens, IF the Phylica can get enough water.

    The Cotyledon is striking--so white white. The ones I've seen are not so dramatically colored. What a fine trio it makes with the Aloe and Agave.

    1. YES! I think Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' would look great next to Phylica pubescens.

      I believe that white white white cotyledon came from Annie's Annuals. It seems to get whiter as it ages.

  7. My Banksia repens made it through summer but is now going to be in a lot of winter shade, so who knows what to expect this spring. I love your extremely savvy curation of plants, Gerhard!

    1. Denise, I think your Banksia repens will be fine. I'm still trying to figure out how much difference there is between Banksia repens and Banksia blechnifolia. I have both now.


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