A few things I'm grateful for

Since we see our own garden every day, it’s only natural to focus on the things that need attention— an area that isn’t quite what you had envisioned, a plant that doesn’t fit in the way you were hoping, or a general feeling of discontent.

I’m not immune to this. But I try not to dwell on the negatives and instead refocus on the things that are working, that make me happy.

On that note, here are a few things in the garden I’m grateful for. Call it Mindfulness 101, September 2022 edition.

The tree in the middle of the front yard is a palo blanco (originally Acacia willardiana, then Mariosousa willardiana, now Mariosousa heterophylla)

I may not love every detail, but overall I continue to be excited about how the front yard has turned out (above and below):

This too:

I love many types of plants, like this one:

Nolina texana, aka Texas bear grass, one of the plants I brought back from the 2018 Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin, TX

Nolina texana

...but my heart belongs to spikes and rosettes—and, above all, to spiky rosettes:

Aloe helenae (top) and Agave parrasana (bottom). The tree is a ‘Desert Museum’ palo verde (Parkinsonia ’Desert Museum’).

×Mangave ‘Black Magic’ and Agave zebra

Yucca ‘Bright Star’, still a perfect rosette because it hasn’t flowered yet

Agave ’Blue Glow’

Agave ‘Chisum’, a hybrid between Agave colorata and Agave pablocarrilloi, with Hechtia lantana above it

×Mangave ’Man of Steel’, a hybrid between Agave striata and ×Mangave ‘Bloodspot’

×Mangave ’Iron Man’, a hybrid between Agave pablocarrilloi and Agave montana combined with Manfreda maculosa, underplanted with Argentine rain lilies (Zephyranthes candida)

I’m grateful that the rain lilies you see above produce simple but delightful flowers on a completely random schedule and that Echinopsis ‘June Noon’ below just flowered for the fifth time this year:

Echinopsis ’June Noon’

I’m grateful that plants come back year and year, often a little bigger than before:

Lachenalia aloides var. quadricolor, a hyacinth relative from South Africa. What started out as three or four bulbs has turned into a nice little colony, adding cheerful color to the garden in the middle of winter.

And that aloes produce flowers as we’re heading into the not-so-floriferous time of year (pollinators are happy, too):

Aloe fosteri

And I’m grateful that I’ll never run out of new plants to add to the garden:

Agave (potatorum ‘Spawn’ × isthmensis) × shawii, a new addition I just received from Jeremy Spath of Hidden Agave Ranch in San Diego County

And, finally, I’m grateful that the long summer is over and fall, my second favorite season, has arrived (spring is still my favorite).

© Gerhard Bock, 2022. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. Beautiful plants and garden! I like Fall best here in Phoenix. I guess it is relief from the hot hot summer!

    1. The relief moving from summer into fall must be evenn more acute for you!

  2. Kudos for looking at the garden and seeing all it's beauty instead of all it's warts which is what gardeners tend to do. We sometimes lose sight as to why we create a garden: "It's a place to lose oneself and then find oneself again".

  3. You've created a wonderful mix of plants that would delight anyone who visited a botanic garden, much less a private one, Gerhard. You've shown me how beautiful many of my Mangaves will be one day (like 'Black Magic') too. And I'm planning to copy your idea of using rain lilies as a periodic accent for some of my Agaves or Mangaves ;)

    I look forward to fall each year as well. With another heatwave underway, SoCal isn't quite there yet but it's on the horizon at least. I recently published a post on the plants that thrived this summer but I also gave a nod to those that died as they've helped educate me about the tolerance level of our changing climate.

    1. I love ephemerals like those rain lilies. They make for wonderful unexpected surprises.

      Your observations are always helpful because you and I grow many of the same plants. (The list Kris is referring to can be found HERE.)

  4. Lots of beauty here Gerhard, lots to be thankful for. That Agave (potatorum ‘Spawn’ × isthmensis) × shawii is toothy!!!

  5. Facing another year of drought and tighter water restrictions, being grateful for what is good is very wise--it helps to relieve the despair. The Zephyranthes have been a joy in my garden as well--excellent edger.

    Your new Agave x x x is awesome.


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