Front garden on Black Friday 2019

This is a continuation of my previous post, which was about the renovated bed next to the front door. The photos were taken on Black Friday, the last sunny day before a series of rainstorms that will stretch into the 2nd half of next week. I love the light at this time of year—warm and gentle because of the lower angle of the sun.

The front garden is full of plants that positively glow when lit from the back or the side. This sight, from the walkway that connects the driveway with the front door, makes me feel good about what is otherwise an eclectic hodgepodge of plants:

I'm an unabashed sucker for variegated agaves: Agave sisalana 'Variegata' above and Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' below (with Yucca queretaroensis next to it):

And I'm a sucker for plants that surprise me:

×Sincoregelia, a hybrid between two bromeliad genera (Sincorea and Neoregelia); the beautiful coloration becomes more intense in cooler temperatures

Outside the fence, along the sidewalk:

Aloe marlothii, Agave weberi 'Arizona Star', Bromelia pinguin

Aloe marlothii pushing an inflorescence 

Eremophila 'Blue Bells' and ×Mangave 'Mission to Mars'

Bromelia pinguin

Two different clones of Aloe dorotheae; the apple green clone never turns red

Continuing around the corner:

Felicia echinata getting ready to bloom, Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'

A lot happening here!

Salvia bullulata (pale form) from Annie's Annuals; the color is unlike anything I've seen in a flower

I hope the first real frost will hold off a while because it would spell the end of these flowers

×Mangave 'Mayan Queen', my favorite mangave at the moment

Grevillea 'King's Fire', thriving three years after I planted it from a #1 can

Grevillea 'King's Fire'

Agave potatorum 'Cameron Blue'

Agave potatorum 'Cameron Blue'

Agave 'Crazy Horse' (a hybrid between Agave cupreata and Agave asperrima) in front of Eucalyptus gunnii

Giant sea squill (Drimia maritima) in front Euphorbia characias 'Glacier Blue', a good 4 ft. now and one of my favorite shrubby spurges

This is the spot where the accursed Bradford pear used to be. The city finally removed it and ground out the stump, at least enough for me to replant.

The replacement tree is a Santa Cruz Island ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius), endemic to Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara but growing well in our climate (there's a small grove at the UC Davis Arboretum). 

Other plants include:
  • Agave zebra
  • Aloe africana
  • Aloe distans × comosa
  • Canary Island daisy (Asteriscus sericeus), replanted
  • Coral Canyon twinspur (Diascia integerrima 'Coral Canyon'), replanted
  • Dwarf silver bush (Leucophytum brownii 'Bed Head')
  • Felicia aethiopica 'Tidy Tips'
  • Hesperaloe parviflora 'Sandia Glow'
  • Prostrate blue juniper (Juniperus communis var. saxatilis 'Point George')
  • Saffron buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum)
  • ×Mangave 'Espresso'

Small Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' colony started with a few cuttings I was given by Hoover Boo (Piece of Eden)

Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), Agave gentryi 'Jaws', Yucca linearifolia, Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica)

Yucca linearifolia and Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica). The calliandra is growing in a Sleeping Beauty-like fashion. I'll cut it back in the spring.

This calliandra never stops blooming. There's not a single day in the year that it's without flowers—no exaggeration. The big aloe is Aloe ferox.

Aloe ferox pushing an inflorescence

Aloe ferox and Agave parrasana

Aloe petricola, with Agave macroacantha in the background

Hechtia argentea, turning red in the colder weather

Hechtia argentea close-up

The eastern end of the bed along the street is looking fairly orderly after I did some early trimming of perennials—and removing the neighborhood's leaf accumulation for the umpteenth time

This is what Aloe 'Erik the Red' typically looks like after a long dry summer. Now that the fall rains have started in earnest, the leaves will plump up quickly.

If, as I'm hoping, the rain will continue to fall gently and nighttime lows will hold in the mid to high 40s, the aloes in the early stages of flowering should make good progress. I'll post updates.

© Gerhard Bock, 2019. All rights reserved. No part of the materials available through may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of Gerhard Bock. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Gerhard Bock is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States and international copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Gerhard Bock. If you are reading this post on a website other than, please be advised that that site is using my content without my permission. Any unauthorized use will be reported.


  1. You used the light well in your photos, not that it wouldn't look great under any conditions. What a range of plants you have! The color of that ×Sincoregelia (another genus I've never heard of) is indeed fantastic. Congratulations on getting rid of that Bradford pear at last!

    1. ×Sincoregelia used to be ×Neophytum. Many Orthophytum species were moved to Sincorea, that's why the name change.

      Everytime I walk by the spot where the Bradford pear used to be, I have a big smile on my face!

  2. Your plants and garden look great. Aloe flower stems coming up here, too.

    My 'Kings Fire' is just a bad plant, but I haven't seen a good one for sale to replace it.

    1. I agree with you re 'King's Fire'. I think popular new introductions are sometimes rushed to market before the plants are ready. That's certainly happened to me with Acacia 'Cousin Itt'.

      Look for a 'King's Fire' with lots of new growth. I think what's in nurseries now is probably a more "mature" product.

  3. Things have really filled in since you gave us your last tour. Everything looks great. If I lived near you I would be visiting daily to see what's happening. Your neighbours are very lucky.

  4. WOW...looking great Gerhard! Thanks for the gorgeous photos.

    1. Thanks! Taking pictures really helps me focus and see things I might otherwise miss.

  5. That Salvia ! And I love that you finally got rid of the Bradford Pear-what a crap tree that is. I need to rig up some rain covers in the next few days-I'm behind on that.

    1. That salvia is insane! It's been through one winter already, and while the leaves fried, the new growth was more lush than before.

  6. Looking very nice Gerhard, and I'm envious of all the sun-loving things you can grow in your garden. Thank God for getting to play with client's gardens because I'd be frustrated all the time if I only had my own shady garden to experiment with!

    1. Thank you, David! We have plenty of shade in the backyard--the DRY kind. That's a difficult situation to deal with: Not a lot of plants deal well with shade + dryness + heat.


Post a Comment