Late-afternoon snapshots from our garden

One of the best features of fall is the golden light of late afternoon. The way it backlights and sidelights the (spiky) plants in our garden is nothing short of spectacular. Here is an assemblage of snapshots taken over the last few days to show you what I mean.

This is one of those instances where I’m glad I’m a maximalist when it comes to the garden, squeezing far more plants into a small space than conventional “wisdom” dictates. All I can say is this: Long live cramscaping!

What you see as you enter the front garden from the driveway

Hechtia ‘Silver Star’, a hybrid between Hechtia argentea and Hechtia marnier-lapostollei

Hechtia ‘Silver Star’ and Agave nickelsiae

Hechtia argentea

Ferocactus pilosus, Agave applanata ‘Cream Spike’, Aloe peglerae

One of my favorite views

Dasylirion longissimum in tall Corten planter, Hechtia ‘Silver Star’ (yes, another one) bottom left, and Hechtia ‘Oaxaca Sunset’ bottom right

Hechtia ‘Silver Star’ top, Agave parrasana ‘Fireball’ bottom

×Mangave ‘Lavender Lady’, Agave cerulata var. dentiens, Echinopsis ‘June Noon’, Cephalocereus senilis, and Thymophylla pentachaeta (yellow flowers)

Echinopsis ‘June Noon’ and Thymophylla pentachaeta

×Mangave ‘Lavender Lady’

View from the front porch. The well-armed variegated plant at the bottom is Bromelia pinguin ‘Qué será’.

Tylecodon × dinteri (believed to be a hybrid between Tylecodon wallichii and Tylecodon paniculatus) and Agave ‘Desert Love’ (purportedly Agave ovatifolia × parrasana)

One of several Agave victoriae-reginae, this one a particularly striking form

Another favorite view, bathed in the golden light of early evening

The pale blue agave on the left is Agave titanota, with Agave titanota × isthmensis on the right. The cycad is Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi.

Yucca queretaroensis (left) and Agave ‘Blue Glow’

Yucca queretaroensis (left) and Agave ‘Blue Glow’

Echinocereus pacificus (in bowl) framed by Cotinus coggygria ‘Winecraft Black’ (left) and Leucadendron ‘Jester’ (right)

Echinocereus stramineus and Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Agave utahensis var. nevadensis

Kalanchoe luciae ‘Fantastic’

Agave ‘Chisum’ (Agave pablocarrilloi × colorata F2) top, Eryngium maritimum bottom

From top to bottom: Agave bovicornuta, Cylindropuntia × campiii (C. acanthocarpa × C. bigelovii), Hechtia ‘Silver Star’

Agave bovicornuta, Cylindropuntia × campiii

Acacia aphylla and Aloe vaombe

×Mangave ‘Artic Fox’

Three baby Mexican fence post cactus (Pachycereus marginatus)

Asparagus plumosusi next to the garage door, looking great after a long hot and dry summer. It gets watered every 1-2 weeks, whenever I get around to it.

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


  1. You have a lot of ‘ouchy’ ones for sure! The light is gorgeous here in Phoenix at this time of year also. So special! I so enjoy sitting on my patio and watching the plants especially in late afternoon/early evening! Mine are pretty ‘ouchy’ too! But no Hechtia! Nancy Mumpton

    1. Ouchy plants keep people away so they're never banged into. That keeps them pristine, haha.

  2. Those metal pot stands look great in the first photo. Are they a new addition? I don’t recall seeing them before.

    Your ‘Lavender Lady’ is such an elegant plant - what a pristine specimen. Wish I could source it here in Aus.

    An unrelated question if you’d be so kind: I’m in the process of setting up irrigation for my potted plants
    (a LOT of them) and I remember a post where you mentioned the staked drippers you liked to use in your garden. From memory they could be purchased in bulk. Do you remember the brand/ source? Thanks very much.

    1. I found the metal pot stands at a salvage yard!

      I use this type of adjustable drip emitter:

    2. Thanks, Gerhard!

  3. Everything looks great Gerhard ! An extra bonus of this fall is no fires nearby for a change-one can sit out at sundown comfortably-not to mention the pleasant temps of late. Where in the world did you get that Eryngium maritimum ?? Another elusive one .

    1. So true about the wildfires. Fingers crossed it will stay this way!

      I bought Eryngium maritimum at Xera Plants in Portland a number of years ago. Why is it not sold here in Northern California??? It's done so well in our garden, even in 114°F heat!

  4. The 'golden light' really makes everything look extra special. Nothing like a little back lighting for thorns and colours to glow. The asparagus is very cool.

    1. I'd tried other plants in the spot where the asparagus is, but they stuck out too far into the driveway. I never expected this asparagus to do so well, especially since it's typically sold as a houseplant!

  5. Ferocactus pilosus! I'm so enamored by those red thorns I rarely notice anything else after that (although you have many drool worthy specimens!).

  6. Is there a reason some plants are in pots? Do you bring them in during cold snaps or do you just like the look?

    1. Pots are a great way to raise plants above ground so you can see them up close, or to add vertical interest in general. In addition, you can adjust the growing medium to the preferences of each plant--something you cannot easily do in the ground. Ultimately, though, I simply like the mix of potted plants and plants in the ground.

  7. Beautiful scenes indeed Gerhard. Your rectangular pot with the three baby Pachycereus marginatus looks so familiar. I had one planted up like that for years. Finally the three cactus got so big that carrying the pot (which was quite heavy itself) indoors for the winter was difficult. I had to move them to an easier to manage round pot... not nearly as dramatic.


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