Mark R's amazing succulent and bromeliad garden (back)

In part 1 of this post I showed you Mark R's front garden in Oakland: a colorful abundance of succulents and bromeliads in all their glory. The back garden is a seamless continuation, with a few other surprises thrown in—even some tomatoes, as you can see in this photo:

The back garden is not a large space, but it comfortably held our group from the San Francisco Bromeliad Society (not everybody made it into these photos).

Whenever I'm with a group of like-minded people, I'm torn between wanting to talk shop and looking at the plants. In this case, we were on a schedule so I opted to focus on the plants. I hope I didn't come off as boorish.

Bromeliads and succulents make perfect bedfellows

Dyckia hybrid and Echeveria agavoides

Another Echeveria agavoides (and a few shirt-tail relatives)

Aloe betsileensis

Echeverias—and a hechtia?

Aeonium 'Sunburst' and Echeveria 'Mahogany Rose'

I don't think I've ever seen so many different types of succulents all planted together

Aloes, echeverias, aeoniums

Warty echeveria and neoregelias

This carunculated echeveria (probably Echeveria 'Barbillion') is so outlandish, it would have looked right at home in James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar

Graptoveria 'Fred Ives', Agave attenuata, and assorted other succulents and bromeliads

Outrageously colored bromeliads

Aechmeas, neoregelias, billbergias: all prime bromeliads for landscaping 

In one corner of the backyard, there even is a small cactus garden

Here's a wider shot

Aloidendron 'Hercules'...

...growing in a small raised bed held together by rocks

The teal-colored building contains a home office (if I remember correctly) and a greenhouse

After seeing so many succulents and bromeliads, it was quite a surprising encountering a banksia—in a container, no less

Clever way of displaying tillandsias

The corner between the small building you saw above and the house is bromeliad central

Tillandsias rakishly mounted on a tree

I assume the outdoor shower is primarily for rinsing off before getting into the hot tub off on the left, but it also comes in handy for spraying the bromeliads growing in narrow planters attached to the fence

Far corner

Aechmea chantinii 'Samurai'

Epiphytic bromeliads attached to the side of the house

Back patio and carnivorous plants growing in a metal tub (the tall pitcher plants are Sarracenia)

Magazine-worthy arrangement of potted aloes and echeverias

Here's a combination I've never seen: Japanese maple and aloe

Next to the tall aloe is what looks like the trunk of a dead tree fern converted into a perch for all kinds of epiphytic bromeliads

A great way to garden vertically!

So there you have it: a veritable cornucopia of succulents and bromeliads, my two favorite groups of plants. I have a feeling that Mark's garden is ever-changing, and I hope I'll get an opportunity to visit again in the future.


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  1. As promised Mark's back garden contains many more treasures. Too bad you were on a schedule as you could spend a lot of time discovering and admiring the many cool plants. A. Samurui and all the E. agavoides are real lookers.

  2. I can't even imagine living with this amount treasures tucked in everywhere. Wow.

  3. Oh for that enviable Peidmont-Oakland-Berkeley climate ! What a splendid collection.

  4. At first glance I took Aloe betsileensis to be Agave 'Blue Glow', then I saw the teeth. I'm impressed at how pristine all the plants looked - my bromeliads always seem to collect leaves and spiderwebs.


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