A socially distanced visit to Southern California's Piece of Eden

Piece of Eden is one of the gardening blogs I've followed the longest. It's been so inspiring to see how blogger Hoover Boo's Southern California garden has evolved over the years. While her climate is noticeably milder than mine (especially in the winter), I've been able to successfully grow many of the same plants featured in her garden—although with ½ acre at her disposal, her canvas is decidedly grander.

On my recent trip to Southern California, I had the opportunity to revisit this spectacular garden, COVID-19 precautions and all. This visit was far more socially distanced than my previous visits (December 2017 | July 2019), with no hugs, but it was rewarding nonetheless. How could it not be when this is what greets you as you get out the car:

Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak'

But let's start with what Hoover Boo calls the front slope:

Hoover Boo has done a lot of replanting on the front slope. By next year, this will look much fuller.

Aloe rubroviolacea

Aloe reitzii

This patch of Opuntia microdasys looks great, especially since this is the monstrose form, but it's best admired from a distance—this prickly pear species sheds glochids like crazy

Agave 'Mr. Ripple'

Agave marmorata, Agave guiengola, Agave parryi var. truncata

Two Yucca queretaroensis and Yucca rostrata

Dasylirion wheeleri

Yucca 'Bright Star'

Agaves and aloes

Agave stricta

Silver beauties, with Aloe dhufarensis in the foreground

Various Agave titanota and Agave parrasana

The area next to the driveway is one of my favorites, seeing how it features a beautiful Aloidendron 'Hercules', an ever-blooming Grevillea 'Superb', a mass planting of Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak' (some of which are now pushing flower stalks), and the lushest carpet of Dymondia margaretae I've ever seen:

Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak' and Aloidendron 'Hercules'

Quartet of Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak', two of which are getting ready to bloom

Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak' with emerging flower stalks

This is the most successful Dymondia margaretae planting I've seen

Agave pablocarrilloi 'Ivory Curls' and Grevillea 'Superb'

Lagerstroemia 'Ebony Embers' and Aloidendron 'Hercules'

Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak' and Aloidendron 'Hercules'

Plantings near the house:

View of the aloes and agaves on the front slope from inside the courtyard in front of the house:

Some highlights from the back gardens:

Aechmea blanchetiana, Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty', and others

Agave parryi var. truncata 'Lime Streak'

Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' nursery; these are bulbils from a 'Stained Glass' that bloomed in a neighbor's garden in 2019

Agave ellemeetiana

Agave attenuata 'Ray of Light'

Syzygium paniculatum (left), Cordyline 'Festival' (right)

Protea 'Sylvia'

Protea 'Sylvia'

An Agave desmettiana with particularly striking variegation; it was a bulbil from a previously flowering plant

View of the back of the house from the west slope 

Silver-leafed Maireana sedifolia (left) and Leucophyllum candidum ‘Thunder Cloud’  (right), with green Aloe thraskii (back), and grayish Aloe pseudorubroviolacea (front)

With my younger daughter going to university in Orange County, more visits to Piece of Eden are in my future. And that makes me very happy.


  Hoover Boo's Piece of Eden blog
  Piece of Eden truly is a slice of paradise (my December 2017 visit)

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  1. What a treat to be able to visit HB and her gorgeous garden. Always fun to see a garden through someone else's eyes. Did you perhaps subtly encourage your daughter to go to school here so you would have an excuse to visit more often? Hmmmm...

    1. Actually, I can't take credit for daughter #2 choosing to go college in Southern California. Her top 3 choices were all in Southern California. I'm not sad, if you know what I mean!

  2. Hercules rising up from the flat plane of dymondia is just so great. Glad you managed a meetup! Wasn't sure if your daughter would be attending in-person classes at UCI this term.

    1. Daughter#2 wanted to go back to Irvine to have a semblance of a college life even though her classes are all online. Her roommate has some in-person labs, I think.

  3. HB's garden is looking great but then it always does! I didn't realize that so many of her 'Joe Hoak's' are preparing to bloom.

  4. Fantastic garden! I'm sure everyone is salivation over Aloidendron 'Hercules'.
    I love how rays of sun are tap dancing on Agave attenuata 'Ray of Light'; it a great photo.

  5. So many beautiful plants and I'm sure countless hours spent working in the garden over the years to get it to this point.

  6. One of my favorite gardens, and if I can't be visiting myself it's nice to have a friend take excellent photos and share them. So many blooming Joes!

  7. We've been here over 30 years and many people are planting there yards now in Cactus. We have to think about the drought so it helps having plants that don't take so much water .I have shared lots of plants with my neighbors too. I've been given lots of Agave bulbils from my neighbor.

  8. I follow Hoover Boo's Piece of Eden blog-- thanks to Loree's Danger Garden (that's how I found yours too, Gerhard!) This garden is so wonderful and a nice contrast to yours and Loree's! I love them all! I'm here in Phoenix in my little desert garden where I struggle more but you all inspire me so much!


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