Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Return to Kay's Southern California garden

When I visited Piece of Eden a few weeks ago, garden blogger Hoover Boo took me to see her friend Kay who lives a few streets away--a repeat of what we'd done in December 2017. Kay and her husband bought their ¾ acre hillside property in the 1970s. Things have changed tremendously since then, but this hidden corner of Orange County is still peaceful and quiet, probably because most properties are large (½ acres or more).

Kay loves plants, and it shows.  As I walked through her garden, I recognized some plants from my previous visit, but others were new. Kay's garden, like all gardens tended with enthusiasm and passion, is ever-changing. 

As you'll see, the Goldilocks climate of Orange County where it virtually never freezes allows Kay to grow plants outside that would croak in a Davis winter, even in the milder ones we've enjoyed in recent years courtesy of climate change.

Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) in all its glory

Look at how happy this plumeria is (two plants, actually)

Mass planting of Sansevieria fasciata in a sheltered spot outside. This would never fly in Davis!

Who says benches are just for people!

Magazine-worthy!


Tillandsia bergeri on a rock in a sea of aeoniums

Aechmea in flower

Cardboard palm (Zamia furfuracea), a cycad from eastern Mexico

Cardboard palm (Zamia furfuracea)

Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), sago palm (Cycas revoluta), and crown of thorns (Euphorbia millii)

Crown of thorns (Euphorbia millii)

Sago palm (Cycas revoluta)

I wouldn't change a single thing if this were my garden!

Aloe barberae

Kay asked me to guess what this tree-like plant might be. Needless to say I had no clue. It's cotton! The genus is Gossypium, but I have no idea what species this is.

One Aloe marlothii and many Agave attenuata

Aloe aculeata

Aloe dorotheae

Agave attenuata

This photo illustrates perfectly what eventually happens to everybody who owns an Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor'. I've never had an agave that offsets more enthusiastically!

Aloe thraskii

My favorite vignette on this trip

Agave 'Mr Ripple' flower stalk

Agave 'Mr Ripple' flower stalk

Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)

Bougainvillea sp. I think it should be called 'Magenta Eruption'.

Aechmea blanchetiana

Neoregelia sp.

A self-contained habitat in the center of a Neoregelia

Dancing bones cactus (Hatiora salicornioides)

Euphorbia pseudocactus

Foxtail agave (Agave attenuata) and golden rat's tail cactus (Cleistocactus winteri)


Kay gave me a pair of pruners and a paper bag and told me to take cuttings of whatever I wanted. I didn't want to be greedy, but how could I say no? I ended up with cuttings of dancing bones cactus (Hatiora salicornioides), Euphorbia pseudocactus, and Tillandsia secunda. Plants given to me by other gardeners are the best kind of gift because every time I look at the plant, I think of them!


© Gerhard Bock, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of the materials available through www.succulentsandmore.com 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 www.succulentsandmore.com, please be advised that that site is using my content without my permission. Any unauthorized use will be reported.

20 comments:

  1. I think that is the most beautiful A. thaskii I've ever seen! It looks very happy. The hillside paths look spectacular, peaceful, private ... This mature garden looks like it has lots of treasures.

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    1. It's the best kind of mature garden because it's still dynamic, exciting, and inspiring instead of just settled and staid.

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  2. Well, jealous again! First I love all the Bromeliads. Most don't do well here in the summer. Also here the sun is so intense that it is difficult to get nice color on plants without burning them. I have burned so many plants over the years. I love seeing this garden and all its color!

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    1. Same here. I'm nowhere near as successful with bromeliads either.

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  3. A remarkable garden with some really gorgeous plants. A real gift to be able to take cuttings. The rat's tail and the dancing bones cacti are very cool. I wonder if A. lophantha's place in the desert is to act as hedging?

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    1. I think A. lophantha forms rather impenetrable patches in its native habitat.

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  4. Kay's garden looks great! I don't remember seeing the Caesalpinia or the Plumeria when I visited but they're magnificent. The spread of Agave 'Quadricolor' is a bit frightening (as I continue to remove pups on a periodic basis).

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    1. Hi Kris. Thanks for your kind words. Fingers crossed the A. quadricolor will fill in and help hold the hillside.

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    2. When not it bloom, the Caesalpinia and Plumeria don't stand out the way they do right now.

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  5. That was fun, I recognize a lot from my visit several years ago, good to see she’s still a bromeliad fan! Oh and I think of Kay all the time, thanks to her generous gift of tillandsia, they’ve even multiplied in my less than ideal climate.

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    1. Your IG photos are stunning. Glad the tills are thriving, but looking at your photos I think everything in your garden is outperforming itself !

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    2. Kay gave me a bunch of Tillandsia bergeri on my first visit, and they've multiplied in my garden, too. Arguably the best tillandsia for my climate!

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  6. Kay has done herself proud.That Hatiora.. if I ever see it offered anywhere I would buy it in 5 seconds.

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  7. See, I told you so: awesome garden! ;)

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  8. Wow ~ Thanks, Gerhard, for your great photos of my yard. Truth-be-told, the photos make the yard look much better than it does in person (!) It was fun seeing you again and I'm looking forward to our next visit.

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    1. My photos simply reflect what's there. Beauty in, beauty out!

      It was so great to see you. A real hug next time--hoping the pandemic will be over soon!

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