Random things in the garden that make me happy

All too often I'm focused on the areas that still need to be improved or redone. This mindset isn't bad in and of itself, but it makes me lose sight of the many things that are done—and, more importantly, that I'm happy with. Here are some of them.

It can be as simple as a concrete face on the backyard fence:

Or a new hanging pot:

I'd been looking for these tentacle pots for quite a while. With the help of my blogger friends Loree (Danger Garden) and Pam (Digging) I finally found out who makes them: Diana Moulds in Phoenix, AZ. I ordered this one directly from her through her website Tentacle Arts, but now I have a source much closer to home: Plant Foundry Nursery in Sacramento, just 20 minutes from my house.

Or new chairs:

I still love the color combo

But most of the time it's plants that make me happy.

Parodia magnifica

One of the three ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) in the front yard is flowering

The bees are in a frenzy (click on photo to see larger version)

Petals from ponytail palm in a cobweb next to a Dudleya farinosa

Outside the front yard fence

Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer' has proven to be an unexpected beauty

Not a great photo, but my Grevillea 'King's Fire' is finally producing more than one flower at a time

For sheer flower power, the firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis) is hard to beat. It literally blooms 12 months out of the year.

Agave 'Crazy Horse' (reputed to be a cross between Agave cupreata and Agave asperrima)

The Eucalyptus gunnii 'Silver Drop' behind the agave has exploded in recent months. I really need to whack it back, otherwise it'll become a 30 ft. tree. According to the Annie's Annuals website (where I got mine), it can be cut back to 6" (!) in the spring to maintain a 3-4 ft. height.

Alyogyne 'Ruth Bancroft' (love that soft purple hue), on the left with Aloe 'Nick Deinhart', a hybrid between Aloe speciosa and Aloidendron barbarae

Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset', Centaurea gymnocarpa, and Aloe marlothii

Native to the mountains of Turkey and Syria, silverlace tansy (Tanacetum haradjanii) has proven to be an outstanding performer in the full sun

A new addition, Bougainvillea 'Bambino Baby Sophia' has weathered the hot sun beautifully

One of my recently planted abutilons, 'Orange Hot Lava', is starting to flower

I've been tempted to trim off the lower leaves on our largest Yucca rostrata. I bet I'd find a pretty sizable trunk.

Dioon edule 'Palma Sola' in a new Corten container outside the front yard fence

I have a love-hate relationship with this variegated shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata') in the front yard. I love how tall it is (5 ft.) and now it's flowering, but it gets leaf burn every winter and looks ratty for many months. Every spring I get the inch to take it out, but then it ends up looking so good again...

Manihot grahamii, looking great against the sky

Cordyline australis in the backyard, now easily 10 ft. tall

Agave chiapensis, reaching maturity

I'll never tire of this view: Ferocactus herrerae

×Dyckcohnia 'Conrad Morton'

Dyckia floribunda 'La Rioja'

×Mangave 'Purple People Eater'

More mangaves: ×Mangave 'Mission to Mars' (left), ×Mangave 'Silver Fox' (right). Silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea) is doing well in these metal containers—certainly better than Echeveria 'Imbricata'.

TGIF, as they say. That means a weekend of gardening is this close—heat and all.


  1. First time I've seen anyone else post a picture of A. chiapensis ... I was beginning to think I was the only person in N. California who had one. Beautiful plants, pretty tough and very tropical looking for an agave which is part of why they are one of my favorites.

    1. I agree! I bought my Agave chiapensis at the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley almost 10 years ago. I don't think I've seen another one for sale since.

  2. Lately I've been focused on the things that need redoing too. Sometimes it's hard to see the things that make you happy or that at least make you feel satisfied. I bet there is a large trunk on that Yucca rostrata, but it's so beautiful as is.

    1. I'm of two minds about the Yucca rostrata, which is why I've left it alone. Maybe I'll wait until the bottom leaves look ratty before I cut them off. Right now they still look good.

  3. Your garden is looking great, Gerhard, which is especially impressive in summer. The ponytail palm-spider collaboration made me smile. After our nuclear July 6th heatwave, I had a hard time seeing what was good about my garden and I still cringe when I see all the scorched foliage (and my sad Metrosideros) but the large numbers that survived do deserve a big thumbs up.

    1. Heatweaves are par for the course here, but I feel bad for you. You've had a lot more HOT HOT HOT weather in the last few years.

  4. Love that vignette with the Dioon in the Corten container -- ¡muy sofisticado! Are the white blooms in the foreground lavender, or...?

    1. I had that Dioon elsewhere where it didn't have the opportunity to shine. Much better here!

      Yes, those are lavender flowers--or rather, what's left of them. It's Lavandula × intermedia 'Grosso'.

  5. Oh! I like the fence face! I have a habit of focusing on the areas that need improvement/dynamite, too. Despite my latest post, though, I really do think I'm getting better at appreciating the good bits and stressing less over the bad. I love that whole area outside the front fence, with the Grevillea 'King's Fire', Russelia, and Eucalyptus gunnii.

  6. That Ponytail palm flower is a showstopper! Will it put out a flower every year or is it monocarpic like Agave?

    1. No, it won't die. The head will split so next year it'll have two. The largest beaucarnea of this trio flowered a few years ago but not since then. And the smallest one hasn't flowered yet.

  7. Nice photos, the shot with the Eucalypt and Russelia is a nice composition. My Russelia is just getting established, hope it looks like yours next year.

    1. Once you russelia has shifted into high gear, it won't slow down!

  8. Bougainvillea 'Bambino Baby Sophia'...hehehe, love that name.

    So glad you got your tentacle pot! And wowsa, that Parodia magnifica...fabulous! There is so much to love here.

    1. Don't get me started on 'Bambino Baby'. I also have a 'Bambino Baby Victoria'. Who comes up with these names???

      I just got the tentacle pot planted with a monkey-tail cactus (Cleistocactus winteri ssp. colademononis).

  9. So much is going right in your garden, no wonder it makes you happy! Love your new tentacle pot. They used to be available at several nurseries here but in the last year or two have vanished.


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