Garden in early June: firing on all cylinders

There are times of the year when nothing much changes over a period of two weeks. Not so in late spring. I was in Germany for just 15 days, but due to a mini heatwave, things moved along at a brisk pace while I was gone. As a result, there are noticeable differences between before and now. Many plants seem to be working in overdrive to put on as much growth as possible before the heat of the summer. Let’s take a look.

This Yucca rostrata, now about 10 years old, is getting ready to bloom for the first time. Its plume of flowers will be visible from quite a distance.

These ‘Strawberry Fields’ California poppies (Eschscholzia californica ‘Strawberry Fields’) started out as one flower in a 4" pot. I can’t believe how many flowers there are now! I’m letting them go to seed in hopes of even more of them next year.

‘Danish Flag’ poppy (Papaver somniferum ‘Danebrog’) has spectacular flowers, but they’re woefully short-lived. Kinda like cactus flowers!

Groundcover magic along the sidewalk

Malephora crocea and Calylophus ‘Southern Belle’

My favorite vignette in the garden right now: ‘Winecraft Black’ smokebush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Winecraft Black’ ) and ‘Harmony’ kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos ‘Harmony’)

‘Winecraft Black’ smokebush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Winecraft Black’), ‘Harmony’ kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos ‘Harmony’), and orange-flowering horned poppies (Glaucium flavum var. aurantiacum)

Cotinus coggygria ‘Winecraft Black’ as seen from inside the front yard fence

After flowering for the first time last fall, Yucca gloriosa ‘Bright Star’ has (predictably) split into three heads. This is not a look I want. I will leave it be through the summer and then remove it. The new heads will be rerooted separately.

Still only one flower stalk but such a great color: Hesperaloe ‘Sandia Glow’

Agave ocahui complemented by golden dogweed (Thymophylla pentachaeta)

Helichrysum thianschanicum ‘Icicles’ (yellow) and Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica, red)

Aloe marlothii × zubb in front of an all-engulfing giant fennel (Ferula communis). As temperatures heat up, it will die back and go dormant. Behind the fennel on the left is a rather large Agave ‘Ripple Effect’. I’ll have to cover it with window screen to prevent sunburn.

This aloe is flowering for the first time. I have no recollection of what it is, but based on the distinctive flowers, it appears to be an Aloe porphyrostachys or Aloe rubroviolacea hybrid.

Another favorite view: Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’ and Alyogyne ‘Ruth Bancroft’

Alyogyne ‘Ruth Bancroft’ and Eucalyptus macrocarpa

Alyogyne ‘Ruth Bancroft’ has more flowers right now than I could possibly count

Alyogyne ‘Ruth Bancroft’

Two agave flower stalks dominating the front yard: Agave bovicornuta and Agave shrevei var. matapensis × Agave guadalajarana. Maybe the two will hybridize each other?

Agave bovicornuta

Cylindropuntia × campii and Hechtia ‘Silver Star’ in front of Agave bovicornuta

Agave shrevei var. matapensis × Agave guadalajarana, Ferocactus rectispinus, and Thymophylla pentachaeta

Eriogonum nudum ‘Ella Nelson’s Yellow’ is a volunteer seedling from the mother plant nearby

The mother plant of Eriogonum nudum ‘Ella Nelson’s Yellow’

I never get tired of this Dudleya brittonii hybrid

Dudleya ‘Frank Reinelt’ has more flowers than ever before

Another doomsday flower stalk, Mangave ‘Inca Warrior’

The cactus flower extravaganza is continuing (see here for the cacti the flowered while I was in Germany):

Echinocereus × roetteri, flowering for almost 10 days straight

Echinocereus × roetteri

Echinocereus dasyacanthus

Echinocereus reichenbachii subsp. albertii (purple), Parodia scopa var. neobuenekeri

Thymophylla pentachaeta and Acanthocalycium spiniflorum

Parodia mammulosa

Mammillaria duwei. This is a tiny cactus. For scale, it’s in a 4" pot!

Seeing so many wonderful sights in the garden has given me a new boost of energy after a period of dissatisfaction and frustration resulting from the havoc wrought by our historic winter.

© Gerhard Bock, 2023. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. Wow, those Poppies and Cacti are incredible! Actually, everything looks great, and I'd never know you'd been away for a while. Glad you had a great trip!

  2. Your garden's wonderfully colorful, Gerhard. I think maybe you need to time future trips to Germany outside the spring window. I love the Alyogyne and I think you've single-handedly sold me on the value of cultivating cactus.

    1. Alyogynes are becoming much more available. A neighbor a block away planted two in their new front yard. I think they'd look awesome in your garden, maybe on your back slope? There's even a yellow cultivar now.

      As for cacti, you can plant them away from high-traffic areas and never need to touch them--just enjoy their flowers.

  3. Sometimes we forget how resilient plants can be. Everything is recovering very well. Those cactus blooms are so beautiful. The Alogyne is gorgeous. How long will it bloom for?

    1. The Alyogyne has been blooming for a good month now and will continue until it gets really hot. There'll be a smaller wave in the fall. It's a great shrub but it needs to be kept in check by pruning.

  4. Your garden is really in a beautiful groove right now! Seeing your Alogyne in full bloom, I'm regretting not picking one up at Waltzing Matilija. Love all the blooming cacti.

    1. Troy still had Alygoyne in stock when I was there 10 days ago.

  5. I was feeling thrilled by how many of my succulents were blooming, then I saw your photos! Your garden is beyond beautiful. Thanks for sharing your treasures. Inspiring. Think I'll go plant some more succulents!

  6. "This is not a look I want" (3 headed yucca) for some reason this struck me as hilarious. I almost spit out my coffee. Your garden is looking fantastic. I felt a little melancholy when I saw your cotinus. I took mine out this spring. It was the right thing to do, but I will miss that dark foliage.

    1. Cotinus 'Winecraft Black' is supposed to be a "dwarf," maxing out at a height of 10 ft. I will keep it pruned shorter than that. It's the only cotinus I've tried that retains the purple color through the summer; others turn a muddy greenish brown.


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