June gloom visit to Piece of Eden

When it was in Southern California a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to check in with Hoover Boo, who documents the evolution of her garden on her blog Piece of Eden. I’ve visited on multiple occasions (see links at the bottom of this post), but since she’s such an active gardener, there’s always something new to discover.

Hoover Boo’s property is ½ acre, almost three times the size of ours. Over the years, she’s created her own botanical garden with plants from around the world. There are aloes from Southern Africa, agaves from Mexico, natives from California, shrubs from Australia and New Zealand, as well as roses and a multitude of perennials. Hoover Boo’s plant palette is much larger than mine, and she uses it masterfully. The mild zone 10 climate (no frost!) does the rest.

Let’s talk a walk, start on the west side of the driveway:

The pincushion bushes (Leucospermum) were in full bloom in front of the house

Leucospermum ‘Yellow Bird’ and Agave desmetiana ’Joe Hoak’

Agave pablocarrilloi ’Ivory Curls’ and hairy canary clover (Lotus hirsutus, formerly Dorycnium hirsutum)

Aloidendron ‘Hercules’ getting ever more majestic

A massive Agave marmorata and a handful of Agave ’Blue Glow’ on the slope above the driveway

Continuing along the front slope:

Leucospermum ’Yellow Bird’ pairs nicely with silvery blue agaves and aloes, including several selections of Agave titanota, Agave parrasana, and Aloe dhufarensis

Leucospermum ’Yellow Bird’ and Agave titanota

More aloes and agaves

Looking towards the far side of the front slope

Agave ovatifolia, one of several

Agave salmiana var. ferox ’Mediopicta’ and yet another Agave ’Blue Glow’

Aloe rubroviolacea in a sea of Senecio mandraliscae

These aloes are turning into fairly mature specimens. On the right, a Mexican grass tree (Dasylirion longissimum).

More silvery blue agaves tucked away...

...and along the sidewalk

In front of the house:

Many roses up against the house

A picture-perfect Cuphea ’Vermillionaire’

Sweet peas still looking good in June!

Check out the massive Aechmea blanchetiana ‘Orangeade’ in the blue pot, behind the blue chair

Agave ’Snow Glow’ looking like it might be working on a flower stalk

Down the garden path and through the gate into the veggie/cutting area

Clematis ‘Perle d’Azur’

Hoover Boo’s “nursery” bed for small and ailing plants, mostly agaves and aloes

Hydrangea! That’s a shrub I don’t see much in our area.

Mangave ‘Kaleidoscope’

Another Aechmea blanchetiana ’Orangeade’

More sweat peas and another Cuphea ’Vermillionaire’

Onion harvest...

...drying on a table on the patio

Walking across the patio down towards the gully separating Hoover Boo’s house from the neighbors:

Agave attenuata and Aeonium arboreum

Self-sown Mexican tulip poppies (Hunnemannia fumariifolia)

Looking up towards the wall surrounding the patio

I love this tapestry of colors and textures

Podocarpus elongatus ‘Icee Blue’ on the right, perfect for areas where you want height without much width

Looking towards the west slope

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is a common landscaping plant all over California, but it rarely looks this good

Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ in front of Leucophyllum candidum ‘Thunder Cloud’

Aloe ’Hellskloof Bells’ in the middle

Looking towards the house from the west slope

Aloe thraskii on the left, Aloe pseudorubroviolacea center right

Senecio ficoides ‘Skyscraper’ aka ‘Mount Everest’ (it’s sold under both names)

Another Agave desmetiana ’Joe Hoak’ next to another Cuphea ’Vermillionaire’

Hoover Boo has a large canvas to play with, and she fills it to great effect. “Repetition, repetition, repetition,” landscape designers keep saying, and Hoover Boo has enough space to heed their advice. Me, I have one Agave ‘Blue Glow’, one ‘Joe Hoak’, and one ovatifolia, Hoover Boo has half a dozen. Size isn’t everything, but it sure makes things easier!

P.S. June gloom was in full effect the day I visited, creating the kind of even light that is great for photography and keeping temperatures in the low 70s—perfect, as far as I’m concerned.

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


  1. You've done a masterful job of presenting HB's beautiful garden, Gerhard. It looks much better than my local botanic garden and it's much more cohesive too ;) Always giving a lot of thought to her plant combinations, she has an incredible number of wonderful, drool-worthy vignettes. Thanks for sharing all those broader shots as well.

  2. Beautiful photos of a breath-taking garden! Gorgeous plant combinations in the land of milk and honey. She has aptly named it Piece of Eden.

  3. I'll say it again: Oh, to live in Southern California! We are having at least 2 weeks over 112º and the worst is the night next week will be over 85-90º all week. Ugh. I have already lost a couple of plants.

    1. I was just looking at the Phoenix forecast for next week... it's harsh!

  4. You are very lucky to have another opportunity to visit this stunning garden. From reading the blog for a while, most was familiar but with a new angle; a visitor's point of view.
    I peeked at the 2018 2-part posts just to compare: some of the agaves really took off! Agave marmorata above the driveway is fabulous monster!
    I was drooling over the photo of Agave pablocarrilloi ’Ivory Curls’ surrounded by hairy canary clover on one side, and the white daisy-like cutie on the other. That's perfection to my eyes.

  5. Hard to believe 6 years have gone by since my visit. Hoov's garden is looking so lush and mature.

  6. A breath-taking post of a beautiful garden!!!

  7. Oh how I enjoyed your tour of HB's garden, Gerhard! And how jealous I am of that SoCal growing climate. Here in Austin it's just blisteringly hot and humid, and it's hunker-down-until-fall mode. Hoov's garden is a flowery, succulicious respite, and you photographed it beautifully.

  8. Wonderful to visit Hoov's garden again through your lens and words! The shot of the arbor framing that aloe!!

  9. HB's garden is always so gorgeous. Her climate and garden size gives her so many spaces to grow such a huge variety of plants. As always your photos are stellar. Nice to see her garden through your eyes.

  10. Really liked the cluster of A.lophanta 'quadricolor' with the yellow protea(Grevillea?).

    1. Agreed! Great color echo. The yellow bush is Leucospermum ’Yellow Bird’.


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