Mid-December vignettes from our garden

In my previous post I started to take a look at what's going on in our garden right now; this is essentially a continuation. Seeing how it's mid-December, things are slowing down. But with daytime highs near 60, there's still plenty of growing going on.

This is the view of the larger succulent mound from the front porch, outside the dining room:

I  never get tired of it. 

Wider view of the front yard from the walkway that leads to the front door:

The walkway is often where I deposit new plants after unloading them from the car. Right now it's a holding area for succulents... 

...that will go into the bed outside the front door (very top of the next photo):

On the left is the bed I'm talking about:

The Agave schidigera that flowered earlier in the summer is dying and needs to be removed. And the Yucca 'Margaritaville' behind it is simply too big for its space now. I don't mind a redo; change is good.

These two agaves—Agave cupreata and Agave guadalajarana 'Leon'—will stay, though:

I've been complaining a lot lately about leaves from all over the neighborhood ending up in our garden. This also includes leaves from the clumping bamboos in the front yard. These bamboo leaves, while numerous, are fairly small and light like air. That's why I was amazed to see this:

How can a bamboo leaf be impaled like that?

A look across the front yard to the bed on the inside of the fence:

The Meyer lemon tree is amazingly productive, considering I keep it small and compact (or, if you want to phrase it in less gentle terms, hacked back).

In the next photo, look at the ×Mangave 'Mission to Mars' in the metal container—amazing growth in just 15 months (it was in 4" pot when I bought it):

While I like to think of myself as an equal-opportunity plant lover, I profess that I'm partial to leaves in the red to purple range. That's what I'm so fond of 'Mission to Mars' above and ×Dyckcohnia 'Conrad Morton' below (an intergeneric hybrid between Dyckia marnier-lapostollei and Deuterocohnia lorentziana, two terrestrial bromeliads):

And let's not forget the reddest of them all, Hechtia 'Wildfire', an Andy Siekkinen hybrid:

One of my favorite new purchases in 2018 is Gomphrena haageana 'Strawberry Fields' from Annie's Annuals. It's been blooming for months now, and it looks awesome behind the silver stems of our small ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens):

More purple mangaves, this one (×Mangave 'Blazing Saddles') holding its color particularly well: 

×Mangave 'Moonglow' needs strong light for the best spotting, but it's worth it finding a sunny spot for it:

×Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' is a fairly slow grower for me, but you can easily see its potential:

I love how it looks in this awesome Susan Aach pot.

Often I'm too busy to stop and really look at my plants. See what I would miss:

Flowers buds ("nubbins" might be a better word) on Euphorbia 'Zig Zag', a hybrid between E. pseudocactus and E. grandicornis

Aloe burgersfortensis pushing its second flower stalk this month:

It may look like your typical spotted aloe, but the pattern is only on the top of the leaf surface, not on the bottom.

I finally hung my kelp-colored Diana Moulds Tentacle Pot on the front porch. The Hechtia guatemalensis I brought back from Solana Succulents in San Diego County is a good fit:

I know, I should have pulled out the plant tag before taking this photo.

The recent rains, while a bit on the reticent side, have benefitted a lot of plants. The potted beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) in the next photo is a bit slow on the uptake—literally—but it, too, will plump up eventually.

The jade plants (Crassula ovata) are very happy with the rain, This one has a lot of flowers:

Outside the front yard fence, things are finally beginning to look the way I want:

Look closely at the Aloe marlothii and you can see the emerging flower stalk. This will be the first time it's flowered!

More mangaves outside the fence, including ×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty' in a sea of Dymondia margarethae:

Agave colorata and a gaggle of Aloe dorotheae:

This clone of Aloe dorotheae is a rich apple-green year round, I wish it turned bright red like some clones do.

More aloes, including Aloe 'Nick Deinhart' (Aloe speciosa × Aloidendron barberae) and Aloe elgonica:

The brilliant red flowers are from Lechenaultia formosa. They go well with ×Mangave 'Purple People Eater':

A wider view of this area before we continue around the corner in the upper right:

I replanted most of this corner this spring:

Another outstanding performer from Annie's Annuals, Felicia echinata from South Africa:

Just about the perfect package between flowers and foliage!

Agave potatorum 'Cameron Blue:

More blue, or rather turquoise:

Fake-looking at first glance, but the flowers really are like that. It's yet another Annie's purchase from earlier in the year, Salvia bullulata 'Pale Form', hailing from northern Peru.

Moving from Peru to Australia, more specifically to Grevillea 'Bonny Prince Charles':

The flowers aren't big and showy like on 'Superb' and similar hybrids, but there are a lot of them. I bought it in February at the fabled San Rafael Home Depot, and it's been a strong grower.

What would a post like this be without at least one major YUCK. Here it is, courtesy of our nasty Bradford pear (a city tree so untouchable by mortals like us):

This is the ☠@✴# that ends up inside the house. You can sweep the sidewalk, and in a matter of hours the mess is back. I thought birds love fruit like this, but not even they seem to touch it.

Moving on to my favorite view on the side of the street:

Aloe ferox pushing a major inflorescence:

On the other hand, Aloe broomii has never flowered (apparently it's a shy bloomer), but I don't care, given how handsome it is. This is the one aloe that often gets mistaken for an agave:

Agave parrasana is a beauty, too (I don' want it to get jealous):

I keep forgetting the cultivar name of this Euphorbia characias, but I think it's 'Glacier Blue':

No mistaking this one, Baja fairy dusty (Calliandra californica), one of three in the front yard:

Remember the Myer lemon tree I showed your earlier? Here's its cousin, the Bearss or Persian lime in the driveway bed. We prefer to leave the limes on the tree as long as possible. They eventually turn yellow like lemons and fall to the ground. This is what I found after a windy night:

Enough limes for our neighbors to help themselves! And yes, they look and taste just like the limes you find in the supermarket.

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  1. I am with you on the purple foliage...your plants are wonderful! My jades are also blooming well...I have not figured out why some years they do and some they don't. I don't miss the Bradford mess...some year you can convince them it is dangerous and they will take it out.

    1. Bradford pear: I'm hoping pieces will start to fall off (without hurting anybody, of course) so the city will take action.

  2. You've developed a magnificent collection. I love the Mangave 'Blazing Saddles'. The Hechtia is perfect in that tentacle pot, which just reminded me that I'd wanted to put the latter on my Christmas wish list - too late now but a good reminder to put it on my b-day wish list.

    1. Thank you, Kris. I wish I could say I have a grand plan, but it's just a hodgepodge of plants that catch my eye...

  3. All beautiful! I wish my garden looked this good after long road trips...

    1. From what I've seen of your garden, it looks good *all the time*!

  4. you've managed to make plant choices that create a really nice winter garden. And blooming Aloes !

    1. Winter wouldn't be the same without aloe flowers. I'm so grateful that we get to experience that every year.

  5. Everything is looking simply gorgeous, thanks for the tour! BTW, that kelp-colored Tentacle Pot is fabulous!

  6. Still waiting on my Salvia bullulata to bloom so thanks for the preview. Incredible collection of stunning plants -- all your road trips really pay off!

    1. My Salvia bullulata didn't do much through early fall but it seems to be liking the cooler weather, like so many salvias. I'm still amazed by that unreal color.

  7. Your garden looks amazing and has really filled in. I love the photo of the side yard as you can see a strip of lawn on a neighbour's property. So boring compared to your lushness!

    1. Thank you! I haven't given up hope yet that at least some neighbors will do something interesting with their garden.

  8. Wow!!! It looks amazing!!!
    So much color and so many different plants. In love!


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