Justin's and Max's Oakland garden: the back
In part 1 of my visit to Justin's and Max's Oakland garden I showed the plantings in front of the house. This post is about the back garden.
While the front garden is more of a square, the back garden is a long rectangle along the side of the house, maybe a bit over 1,000 sq.ft. in size. But don't let that description fool you. What this area lacks in size it more than makes up for in visual impact.
As I mentioned before, Max is a horticulturist with a deep plant knowledge—an access to wealth of plant sources. Justin, an Episcopalian priest, may not be a plant professional, but he, too, knows a ton about plants. Both of them are drawn to plants that are anything but ordinary. This post is living proof.
|Iochroma 'Royal Blue' from Annie's Annuals. Iochromas are shrubs or small trees native to South America where they grow in relatively moist forest conditions. That explains why I've failed miserably trying to grow them in our garden in Davis.|
The back garden has a L-shaped planting strip that runs the entire length of the two fence sections as well as other in-ground beds. These are complemented by a large assortment of containers.
|One of several clusters of containers|
|Aloes, agaves, and even a cycad|
|A small but perfect specimen of spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla)|
|Justin setting out nibbles for lunch|
|Peruvian feather grass (Stipa ichu), often touted as a safer alternative to Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima), but in Max's experience it's equally invasive. It sure is pretty, though!|
|Lunch aftermath; I primarily took this photo to show the dozens of containers against the house|
|×Mangave 'Red Wing' and sandstone blocks for additional interest|
|Helichrysum and geraniums, another beautiful foliage combination|
|Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) with a semi-hidden seating area behind it|
|Rental unit on the left, hidden “room” straight ahead, seating area on the right|
|The green and yellow of the seat cushions and the table are perfectly chosen|
|Mexican weeping bamboo (Otatea acuminata var. aztecorum) on the left|
|Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' and Hypoestes aristata, a small South African shrub|
|Agave mitis var. albidior|
|×Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' and chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata)|
|Agave attenuata and Aloe arborescens 'Variegata'|
|Agave attenuata and wandering flower|
|Acacia cognata is a wonderfully airy tree. The prostrate form of Acacia cognata, 'Cousin Itt', is much more familiar to West Coast gardeners, but the regular tree form is a beauty in its own right.|
|Vintage recliner in the “hidden” room; notice the massive staghorn fern (Platycerium sp.) against the fence. It's one several staghorn ferns in the back garden.|
|Agave attenuata against the corrugated metal siding of the house (a great look)|
|Hohenbergia 'Purple Majesty', Hohenbergia leopoldhorstii, Euphorbia ammak 'Variegata', and Quesnelia marmorata 'Tim Plowman'|
|Repurposed galvanized containers (including a trash can on the right) from Urban Ore in Berkeley|
|The colors of these echeverias complement the gray of the metal containers beautifully|
|The aloe in the metal barrel is a tilt-head aloe (Aloe speciosa)|
|Aechmea recurvata with striking coloration|
|Aechmea 'Bert' in what used to part of a fan Max found on the street|
|The hummingbird feeders on the porch are Grand Central Station. I've never had so many hummingbirds zooming around my head!|
|×Sincoregelia, an intergeneric hybrid between Sincorea (formerly Orthophytum) and Neoregelia|
|Baby toes (Fenestraria rhopalophylla)|
|Tillandsia resembling a gnarly hand—perfect for Halloween|
|One final vignette|
|Quesnelia marmorata 'Tim Plowman', the largest and most perfect specimens I've never seen|
Max likes to call himself a plant hoarder, and while there are a lot of plants in the back garden, they are so harmoniously incorporated into the in-ground plantings and the container groupings that there is no visual clutter. That's no mean feat to pull off, as I'm sure you know if you've ever tried it yourself!
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