Sunday, October 6, 2013


I am heading into the agave, cactus and succulent phase of my gardening life. The evidence is right there as you climb up the steps to enter through the side gate of my garden.

It is perfect place for these plants. A few hours of direct sun and several hours of filtered sunlight under the branches of the live oak tree. It is one of the few places in my garden where there is filtered sun. One lucky plant gets to sport the clay collar I found at a yard sale.

When visitors come to my garden I invite them to come in through the side gate. From there they can pass through the front courtyard garden and out through the main gate and around the outside of the house into the back gardens.

Look at the variety of shapes and textures in this plant grouping. Small cactus and euphorbias look better when they are grouped together in a wide-mouthed pot or with others.

Small agaves in hypertuffa pot.

Fireplace grouping.

Strawberry jars make great pots for these plants.

My weekend acquisitions; Candellia, Euphorbia antisyphilitica. That's a handy plant to have around!

But the biggest statement of all comes with the large plants situated in the landscape. On the right, Yucca rostrata, sapphire skies

Paired with plumbago which is having its best year ever.

There's a little experiment going on here with the soft leaf yucca. It was a tangle of offsets and dead leaves. I am hoping that the plant will respond to the cut back and take on a new life. Otherwise I will be looking for a replacement.

Structural plants are needed to give height and statement in the garden and none do it more beautifully than the agaves. And no agave makes a bolder statement than the Whale's tongue agave, A. ovatifolia.

Two of these beautiful agaves live in the front courtyard garden.

This is just the tip of the iceberg!


  1. Awesome plants... I love your collection

  2. I'm going right down this rabbit hole with you! I love how you grow them with the softer stuff, like wildflowers and grasses.

  3. Beautiful! I am adding more of these structural easy-care plants as well. All the better to make tough perennials stand out.

  4. All very pretty!
    What are the two large plants (one on each side of the door) in the first photo?
    I saw something similar on a garden tour, but didn't get an ID.
    The photo is on my blog post of last Thursday.
    Lea's Menagerie

  5. What's not to love indeed? Of course you're preaching to the choir here...

  6. Wow-you have some real beauties! Love the groupings. Very nice

  7. Thanks for the inspiration! I am studying the photos you've taken--plant selection, arrangement, groupings. I am learning so much from your blog. That strawberry jar idea is a great idea. I think I spotted a large red one recently at the local nursery and I will go get it and stuff some small "hens and chicks"into it.

  8. They are really growing on me . also. The way you have them arranged really maximizes their appeal.

  9. I'm a believer. It was passalong agaves, yucca and cacti pads that jump started the conversion of our front areas from lawn to garden beds.

    Just this past weekend I returned the karmic favor. I placed a box filled with dug out agaves at the curb - free for the taking. I was gratified both at how easy they are to dig out (as long as I don't let them get too big) and at how quickly they disappeared - taken by gardeners for transplantation into new spots where they'll hopefully be stars of their own show.

    Thanks for the strawberry pot idea. I have a couple of empties that I'll pot up with broken off succulents this very week. You are always so inspiring, RR!

  10. Your arrangements show these plants to their maximum advantage. Perfect!

  11. usual. I love all the variety.

    That Whale's Tongue by the fountain has really grown!

    We've 'caged' some of our agaves and yuccas here, to protect them from the deer rubbing the velvet off their antlers, this time of year. Makes it harder to grow those big ones.

  12. Beautiful. Ohhh, that A. it.

  13. If that were my entry gate, I could never use the garage! Especially when you captured it, as the Death Star showers it in a more glowing light... "Agave, cactus and succulent phase" in life - it may be more than a phase, as you use them, move them, etc!

  14. My weaknesses are cacti, succulents, and bulbs. I generally don't have a collector's mentality, but I make an exception for agave--I haven't seen one I don't want.

  15. I'm fully on board with this movement as well. It's the only sane way to respond to our ongoing drought, plus they're fabulous looking plants to boot. Regarding softleaf yucca, I'm starting to think they're only good for a few years -- maybe 4 or 5 -- before needing to be replaced. I took out three in my back garden over a year ago, and I'm still dealing with pups coming up willy-nilly from pieces of root that I missed. Argh.