Pre-Thanksgiving front garden favorites

I find it hard to accept the fact that it's almost Thanksgiving. What a strange year it's been. Sometimes it seems like we've been stuck in 2020 for an eternity, and yet at other times, it feels like time has flown by even faster than usual. 

We had a little rain last week (emphasis on little), and while it wasn't enough to soak the soil, it did wash away the worst of the surface grime. A good opportunity to take a look at some of my favorites in the front garden!

Entrance to the front garden. I still can't believe these ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) are taller than the garage roof now!

Beaucarnea recurvata and Agave 'Red Margin' (A. attenuata × A. ocahui; same parentage as 'Blue Glow', but this hybrid was created earlier by a different grower)

Dioon edule 'Palma Sola'

Redone bed next to the front door. Hard to believe it's been a year since we overhauled this area.

×Sincoregelia 'Galactic Warrior'

NOID ×Sincoregelia, Deuterocohnia sp. nova (from Tucumán, Argentina), Hechtia lanata

Hechtia lanata

Hechtia argentea, classic silver form

Left: Hechtia 'Silver Star' (H. argentea × H. marnier-lapostollei)
Right: Hechtia 'Oaxaca Sunset' (unknown parentage)

Bromelia pinguin 'Qué será', beautiful but formidably armed

Dyckia delicata

Agave attenuata 'Boutin Blue'

Rhipsalis baccifera; this started out as a few cuttings from the danger garden

Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' and Agave bovicornuta

Agave ×leopoldii

Aloe deltoideodonta 'Sparkler'

×Mangave 'Tooth Fairy' looks even more striking when the sun hits it from just the right angle. The teeth reveal the Agave shawii parentage.

×Mangave 'Man of Steel' (Agave striata × ×Mangave 'Bloodspot')

Dudleya pulverulenta

Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' (the variegated octopus), and Agave xylonacantha. The backlit cycad on the left is Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi.

Puya coerulea var. coerulea

Aloe fosteri (one my favorite aloe flowers) and Arctostaphylos pungens

Leucadendron 'Ebony' and Euphorbia 'Glacier Blue'

Aloidendron 'Hercules' (left) and Agave parrasana with its massive asparagus-like flower stalk

The flower stalk of Agave parrasana starts in the summer, stops for the winter, and then pushes flowers the following spring. This is to prevent the flowers from being damaged by the cold in its native habitat.

Agave parrasana inflorescence

Agave schidigera 'Durango Delight', Yucca baccata var. vespertina 'Hualapei Blue' (a Cistus introduction)

Top: Yucca 'Bright Star'
Middle: Hechtia argentea
Bottom: ×Mangave 'Red Wing' 

Hechtia argentea, red form

Top: Aloe capitata var. quartziticola
Bottom: ×Mangave 'Kaleidoscope'

The garden has done well this year, and for that I'm thankful.

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  1. Your plants DO look happy, Gerhard. I love the spiky bromeliads shown in photo #6. Your Mangave 'Tooth Fairy' makes mine look even more pitiful - I have to move it into a more substantial pot before it gives us on me, which would be terrible as it's one of my favorites.

    1. I have another 'Tooth Fairy', the original plant I received from Walters Gardens, and it's much smaller. The one you see in the photo came from Green Acres Nursery in Sacramento. It was already a good-size specimen. 'Tooth Fairy' is a very slow grower, in my experience.

  2. Okay first of all you have accumulated quite the impressive collection of spiky members of the bromeliad family! I am in awe... and quite jealous.

    Secondly, WOW! I remember you saying the rhipsalis cuttings had taken off, but that's incredible. What are you feeding them?

    I look at that Agave parrasana spike and I think about it falling over, what with the seasonal wind storms and ice. Then I realize I'm thinking about my garden, not yours. Everything looks fabulous!

    1. LOL, I wish I could say your rhipsalis cuttings have taken off because of my green thumb. I hardly ever fertilize the potted plants outside even though I regularly vow to be better about it. I think it just likes the spot. Warm and yet fairly protected from the direct sun.

  3. What an impressive collection, and in outstanding condition! Thanks so much for sharing your treasures with us, Gerhard. I feel warmer already... (sunny today, but with a stiff, nippy wind).

    1. It's not so warm here either. Lately it's been in the high 30s or low 40s in the morning. It does still get into the 60s during the day.

  4. The correlation between our gardens begins and ends with the ponytail palm... which I've grown in a pot indoors for over 20 years. Although it looks happy enough, I sometimes feel sad it will never reach its full potential (or the roof line).
    You have perfect toothy specimens, not a blemish in sight. The newly overhauled bed near the front door is looking great.

    1. When I bought these ponytail palms (all three in a 2-gallon pot!), everybody said they'll never survive outside. And yet, here they are! I think it's a tougher plant than people give it credit for.

  5. Looks like 'Stained Glass' is getting its lower leaves cut off to make room? That's what I'm doing too, keeping it to a more manageable girth. Really like 'Man of Steel' mangave with the striata influence so prominent but a beefier leaf. So many beautifully grown specimens. Just noticed today I get to join the flowering agave club -- A. pygmaea 'Dragon Toes' is expecting!

    1. 'Stained Glass': I usually just cut off the desiccated leaf tips. The lower leaves seem to dry up on their own. Yes, 'Stained Glass' does take up a goodly amount of real estate but because of its growth habit, it's still easy to plant next to it.

      Congratulations on your pregnant 'Dragon Toes'. How old is it?

    2. The blog says DT was purchased March 2012 -- so over eight years old!

  6. The hectias and dyckias are gorgeous. They look so much alike how can you tell which genus they belong to? Have a NOID silver one that looks like it could be either. Have a great Thanksgiving.


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