November 2022 wrap-up

It’s hard to believe November is almost over. We’ve had dry, warm days (low 60s) and nights in the high 30s or above. That’s going to change, with a major system on the way. It’s supposed to bring rain (almost an inch on Thursday) and night-time lows at or even below freezing. I will have to move some sensitive plants onto the front porch to keep them out of the elements!

In the meantime, here are some garden highlights from November when frost was just an abstract five-letter word:

The light has been lovely, soft and warm. I love how it illuminates the entrance to our front garden.

This Pachypodium geayi is one of my newest purchases. It’s almost 6 ft. tall. It’ll have to be moved under cover to protect it from the rain and freezing temperatures.

Pachypodium geayi (left) and other potted favorites like Ferocactus histrix and Hechtia lanata

The flower stalk on Agave bovicornuta has been in a state of arrested development. I think it will do what Agave parrasana does: wait out the winter and then resume growth in the spring.

Agave ‘Blue Glow’ × mitis flanked by Echinopsis ‘First Light’ (left) and ‘Flying Saucer’ (right)

Agave ‘Blue Glow’ × mitis is just so cool

Cephalophyllum aureorubrum surprised me with this cheerful flower. I bought a small cutting of this ice plant at the Ruth Bancroft Garden last year and had forgotten all about it.

Kalanchoe luciae ‘Fantastic Crested’ looking, well, fantastic. I got it at OASIS in San Diego County in February, Altman Plants’ retail outlet, but I’ve also seen it at local Home Depot garden centers.

Selenicereus anthonyanus, one of the plants It was one of my purchases from the Huntington at their fall plant sale, looking great backlit. It’ll have to be protected from freezing temperatures.

Hechtia argentea on the right has bounced back from its bleached summer look. Mangave ‘Red Wing’ on the left hasn’t lost its intense coloration yet.

Two more newish mangaves: Mangave ‘Pineapple Punch’ (top) and ‘Night Owl’ (bottom)

Mangave ‘Foxy Lady’ is coming into its own

I planted this Mangave ‘Black Magic’ in December 2020. Now, two years later...’s sending up a flower stalk

The jury is out on whether it will die after flowering like an agave would, but I’m hoping for a few offsets if it decides to die

I’ve had this Hesperoyucca whipplei for a while and it languished in a pot. Now it’s in the ground, and I’m hoping it will thrive. I originally got this from Jeremy Spath of Hidden Agave Ranch in San Diego County; it’s a seedling from a plant that flowered on his property.

This Chinese pistache tree (Pistacia chinensis) in the backyard is our main source of fall color. This year it’s more brilliant than it’s ever been.

Backyard vignette, with an unknown Hechtia species or hechtia on the right, and a bowl full of Dudleya pachyphytum. The dudleyas are actively growing now.

Aloe menyharthii, a rarely seen species from Malawi and Mozambique, is going to flower for the first time. The typical flower color is red, but there’s a white form, too. That’s what I’m hoping for. Nothing better than a white flower on an aloe, except white and fuzzy (like Aloe tomentosa).

As I look out the window, I see a beautiful fall day. Winter is coming, but I choose to remain in denial as long as I can.

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


  1. Wow, your garden is looking spectacular in its late autumn glory. Love your new Pachypodium geayi acquisition. How do your mangaves cope with frost in their in- ground positions? Do you cover them when freezing temps are predicted? I managed to find some here in teeny tiny tube stock sizes - they are rapidly growing. Very exciting!
    - Horticat

    1. Here I don't need to cover any of the mangaves. We haven't had temperatures below 28°F in years. And even on really cold nights, temperatures are rarely below freezing for more than a few hours.

      Since yours are tiny, I would err on the side of caution and cover them. Even if it's just to prevent cosmetic damage, like black spots caused by frost.

  2. So many gorgeous mangaves and hechtias. I have a number of mangaves but very few look as good as yours do. A lot don't seem to care for pot and indoor winter culture. The Pachypodium is impressive but dangerous looking. There is one in our local botanical garden conservatory and it of those plants you never see anyone touch. Hope the cold snap isn't too severe. Even in warm California you still have to protect plants. Gardeners seem to be the same everywhere/

    1. LOL, gardeners are the same, no matter where they live. There are always plants to protect, whether it's against cold, heat, or precipitation.

      The Pachypodium isn't quite as dangerous as it looks. I'm able to carry it around without getting poked; the spines don't penetrate the way cactus spines would.

  3. Everything's looking great, Gerhard! The light in the front garden is perfect, as is the fall color on the Chinese pistache tree. I may need to make a visit to HD to see if I can find myself a Kalanchoe 'Fantastic' as those colors are downright yummy. Your post is also another reminder that I should probably move my Mangave 'Black Magic' from a pot into the ground, as it's finally gained some girth this year.

  4. Looking good Gerhard. What a great fall it's been , other than the frigid mornings-if I look back over my records for November we've had frosty nights for about 80% of the month and numerous high to mid 20's. I hate to see what my PGE bill is going to look like.

    1. The fall color here has been better than I ever remember. Some trees look like they're on fire.

  5. Rain is good right? I mean you all are still in need of water from the sky? We've had over an inch in the last two days, that makes the fallen leaves ultra soggy. That Agave ‘Blue Glow’ × mitis is SEXY!

    1. Rain is GOOD, definitely. It's actively falling right now. Even more important is snow in the mountains, and fortunately, it looks like this storm and the next one expected for the weekend will bring lots of snow.

      I covered a few recently planted cactus because they're better off staying dry, but the rest of the garden will greatly benefit from the rain.

  6. I love the light in your front entrance and the Chinese pistache tree, which I can't recall seeing here.

  7. So loved this tour, thanks! Snow and slushy rain here, beautiful to see on the mountains.

  8. Garden lit as it is looks magical. It's all about the light. Pistache tree--wow! Very nice Pachypodium there, too. Has been a bit chilly here for November at night, but a long string of warmish days.

    Hope you got some good rain.


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