Friday, January 20, 2017

A Visit to Eden

I recently had an opportunity to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers not too far away from home.  Loree of danger garden paid a brief visit to Southern California and had made arrangements to visit the gardener who blogs as Hoover Boo at Piece of Eden.  Denise of A Growing Obsession and I were invited to join in on a tour of both Hoover Boo's garden and that of her neighbor.  Unfortunately, Denise was pulled away at the last minute but I arrived right behind Loree with my camera at the ready.

My photos don't do justice to either garden, both of which looked stunning in the after-glow of the rain we've enjoyed on and off for over a month now, but I'll share them with you anyway.

The weather was perfect - sunny and cool by our standards but warm by Loree's.  We started out in the neighbor's garden just a short walk down the street.  The garden is large by SoCal standards and fairly steep.  As befits our climate, there were lots of succulents and, as the gardener has worked the same property for decades, many of the specimens are huge.  My largest Agave 'Blue Glow' would look like a pup beside some of those in this garden.

Succulents were on display from the moment we stepped through the gate.  (Do you see the tiny frogs supporting the ceramic pot to the right of the bench?  I missed those until I viewed my own photos.)

There were agaves everywhere.  The photos don't clearly show just how large some of these were but, trust me, they have me reconsidering the spacing of the much smaller specimens I have in my own garden.  If I've got them identified correctly, clockwise from the upper left, they are: Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass', A. 'Blue Glow', A. desmettiana 'Joe Hoak', A. macroacantha 'Pablo's Choice', A. 'Mr. Ripple', and A. 'Sun Glow'.

I didn't do at all well committing the names of the Aloes to memory.  The one on the upper left is Aloe chabaudii (I photographed the tag).  I think the one one the lower left is Aloe ferox and the one on the lower right may be Aloe cameronii but I'm adrift as to the identity the other one and Hoover Boo has identified the one on the upper right as A. 'Moonglow'.

There were other succulents too.  That's some kind of Euphorbia on the left.  The middle plant is a Kalanchoe and the one on the right may also be a Kalanchoe or a relative.


Returning to Hoover Boo's garden, we began our tour in the front garden in an area the gardener renovated in the fall of 2015 and further refined in 2016.  It's come together well.

Aloe 'Hercules' has pride of place in the central bed with a lovely Agave gypsophila 'Ivory Curls' nearby.  Grevillea 'Superb' flanks the driveway on two sides of the central bed and Agave 'Joe Hoak' is used repeatedly among other succulents both along the street and fronting the wall.  I believe that huge agave in the area atop the wall is also a 'Joe Hoak'.  The lawn substitute is Dymondia margaretae.


Moving to the other side of the front driveway, there was more to love.

The crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia) are dormant but the silvery blue color of the Agave ovatifolia and Maireana sedifolia (aka pearl bluebush) Leucophyllum 'Thundercloud' sets an appropriately icy tone for a winter landscape in SoCal 

The colors get brighter as you move along to the right of the tall Leucadendron linifolium.  I love how Yucca 'Bright Star' plays off the Agave lopantha 'Quadricolor' to the left.  I think the orange-flowered Aloe is Aloe cameronii.

To the far right, where Hoover Boo's property intersects with her next door neighbor, there are a few huge Agave 'Blue Glow' and a handsome yellow-flowering Aloe vanbalenii


There were more beautiful specimens than I could count but here are some of my favorites:

Clockwise from the left: Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird' (which I covet), Agave 'Blue Glow' (all huge), A. marmorata, A. titanota, and Aloe marlothii


As it's winter, rose pruning was well underway so we missed out on a show there.  I got a few more shots in the back garden before we began surveying the steeper parts of Hoover Boo's property and I tucked my camera away for safety's sake.

In the back garden, a choice variegated Agave attenuata and fuzzy red Echeveria 'Ruby Slippers'

We also had a chance to visit with some of the property's other residents: Samoyeds Boris and Natasha, who wished for little more than to join us outside (or, perhaps, treats) and the koi fish, who were a little wary of visitors


It was a great visit and I thoroughly enjoyed the gardens and the company.  Many thanks to Loree for setting things in motion and thanks to Hoover Boo and her neighbor for showing us about and answering question after question.  Hoover Boo even sent us on our way with succulent pups!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

44 comments:

  1. Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird' looks good even out of bloom. I love the growth habit. I'm coveting that pearl bluebush. So silver! Ha, Boris and Natasha. I love it.

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    1. That Leucospermum has buds all over it already. And Hoover Boo has even got seedlings from it! I have one Leucospermum, which has pretty much done nothing since I planted it - except not die, which I guess counts for something.

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  2. Oh, what a fun visit this must have been! You got to tour Hoover Boo's garden. Wonderful.

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    1. It was a great opportunity and I finally got to meet Loree in person too.

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  3. Hi Kris, I so enjoyed to see Hoover Boo's garden through your lens. I follow her blog for a long time, it was interesting to see your view of it.
    Gorgeous, gorgeous agaves in her and her neighbor's garden.
    Love the photo of Hoover Boo's dog through the window, they certainly look like they would have loved to join you on the garden tour!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. The dogs aren't allowed to harass the fish. We got to meet and pet the exuberant Boris and Natasha in the house, though. And Loree brought them treats, winning their hearts - regrettably, I didn't come prepared.

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  4. thanks for blogging this visit, Kris. And thank goodness you had a dry day too!

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    1. Yes, we lucked out on the weather, especially as it's raining cats and dogs today. We missed you, Denise! I hope all is well.

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  5. What fun seeing your photos, giving me a fresh viewpoint--as fun as the visit was--many thanks, again! K's garden was awesome; I am so happy you got to see it.

    The Aloe is 'Moonglow' The silver shrubs with titanota are actually Leucophyllum 'Thundercloud' (the Maireana is in other places).

    It's pouring rain here, hope you are getting the same.

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    1. Thanks for the corrections! Yes, we got LOTS of rain here today. I'm glad we're supposed to get a break tomorrow before the next system arrives that evening.

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  6. That succulent cushion on the bench is such a clever idea!

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    1. It made an immediate impression on me too, Diana!

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  7. Your mystery succulent looks like a specially green variety of Cotyledon orbiculata

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    1. I think you're right on the mark! The deep green color did throw me as my Cotyledon all have gray leaves.

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  8. How fortunate you were to visit these lovely gardens. Always more meaning when they belong to garden bloggers you follow. I am rather sad that the rain you have longed for is driving us away without an anticipated visit to the Huntington, Getty etc.Another year. We were at Refugio State park today when the devastation hit the Canyon. I hope you will be safe from the expected downpours over this weekend.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear your trip has been impacted by the downpours we've received this week, Jenny. Today's rain may be the heaviest we've experienced since the season began - rather like something we'd anticipated during last year's El Nino season but which was wholly unexpected this season. Santa Barbara County has been so dry so long - I expect the heavy rain is sheeting off the compacted dry soil.

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  9. Thank you for posting these! I love seeing the beautiful gardens of bloggers I follow :) -Holly

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    1. I'm pleased you enjoyed the post, Holly!

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  10. What a rainy day today was! Getting to the airport was quite the experience, I feel so lucky to have had a dry day with you and even the next day as we visited the Getty. Thank you for making the trek to meet up!

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    1. It's great that you got to see the Getty (between showers, I hope!). Yesterday was pretty rain-sodden, today was clear (good for the march!), but the rain is expected to return tonight and is anticipated to be especially heavy tomorrow. Overall, I'd say you timed your trip well.

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  11. Both inspiring gardens Kris, thanks for sharing. I loved the way the blocks had been used to create a huge planting pocket, that has given me an idea for part of the slope!

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    1. Both Hoover Boo and her neighbor have made great use of concrete block. I'm impressed by their industry and strength. My husband and I are debating whether we have it in us to haul more 55 lb blocks down the slope to create terraces - he already used those blocks to create the stairway back there and that wasn't at all easy.

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  12. Oh what fine specimens aloe and agave!
    Like the sofa, it would fit nicely in my garden!
    :)
    Mariana

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    1. These 2 gardeners are expert at growing agaves and aloes, Mariana!

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  13. After Australia I am even more envious of you both and your hot dry gardens. I can dream.

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    1. Loree at danger garden lives in the Pacific Northwest and deals with a climate I expect is much more like yours than mine. She collects agaves and other spiky plants but has to bring the most tender of these under cover in winter. I imagine you would have to do something similar.

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  14. It is impossible to convey the sheer drooling envy I feel from my dull, wintry UK home when I see such sumptuous beauty, heat and brightness of this Californian garden.

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    1. California does have its pluses, Ian! We're wetter than you might expect at the moment, and far wetter than we ourselves expected to be in what was predicted to be a year of particularly stingy rainfall but, even in the best of years, our rain is usually only a winter phenomenon.

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  15. How fun that you got to meet the danger girl and tour Hoovs garden!We are being inundated up here, hardly a dry day this month and flooded streets abound.

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    1. We haven't had any where near the rain you've had, Kathy, but we're still feeling pretty good about what we've got. It's rained here steadily today - it's more rain that we've had in a single day since we moved in 6 years ago I think!

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  16. Someday I want an Agave attenuata. I am not a huge fan of frost-sensitive succulents but I do love that one. I hope you're getting enough rain. Not too much, just enough.

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    1. Some of my friends have reported standing puddles of water in their gardens - not something we've seen in quite some time! Today's rain has been the heaviest in recent memory so an inspection of my own garden may be in order tomorrow.

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  17. Beautiful vignettes, and so lucky to be able to meet up and see Gail's garden which is a long standing inspiration in the blogosphere!

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    1. It's a garden that deserves all the attention it receives, Gaz & Mark!

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  18. It's so much fun for me to see Hoover's garden through a different set of eyes. What a beautiful spot, with so many beautiful plants. I'd be in heaven.

    Her neighbor's garden was icing on the cake--or, more precisely, a second tier!

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    1. Both gardens would be just your cup of tea, Gerhard.

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  19. Staggering. I'm drunk and reeling with envy and stupefied at so many magnificent specimens. Seems like it might be worth the drought, heat and cost-of-living to garden there! Thanks for sharing your visit.

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    1. If you factor in our horrible freeway traffic and de rigueur commutes, you might find such a move less attractive, Tim!

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  20. Very beautiful, and reminiscent of your own garden!

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    1. My garden is still in the process of becoming but these gardens have arrived!

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  21. I love seeing the trend toward xerophytic gardening in your area, Kris. It makes better sense than the former water-hog landscaping. A fitting match for the climate and the various creative results are stunning. Thanks for sharing your tour with us!

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