Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Visiting Gerhard's agave-full garden...
When Andrew and I started talking about a trip to the Bay Area it didn’t take me long to realize that meant we’d be driving right by Gerhard’s home (and garden!) in Davis, CA. I casually mentioned the trip to Gerhard, and the fact I’d love to visit and see his garden in person. If he felt any reluctance he certainly didn’t show it, we were instantly invited not only to visit but to stay. Sadly that didn’t work out (time was in short supply) but we were able to spend a few hours and for that I am very grateful. I was especially excited to see the blooming Agave desmetiana 'Variegata' he's been blogging about. My only experience with this species is my potted (and thus much smaller) plant...
Just how big is it? Well that's it peeking out from behind Gerhard, on the right. Even further right is a blooming Mangave ‘Bloodspot’. If you're curious he did a post recently about how they're developing, you can see that here.
Here's another, non-blooming, ‘Bloodspot’.
Looking back over Gerhard's left shoulder towards the driveway I had to include this photo because I so loved that rectangular container with the three cactus (Ferocactus glaucescens), simple perfection.
Okay here's the first of several jumps we'll do around his garden. We started at the front entry but now we're in the back garden. Shortly after arriving we were whisked back to the patio to enjoy a cool beverage before beginning the garden tour proper.
This (below) is the farthest corner from the photo above. You can barely make out the top of this Cordyline australis (below) in the photo above.
This gorgeous Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' has me remembering Gerhard's generosity in gifting me a pup of similar size (along with a few other things).
I love it when an aeonium gets all branched and curvy.
There were many parts of the garden I knew well (having seen them detailed on Gerhard's blog) and others that were completely new to me. This was one of those, "oh I know this spot" moments, the aeoniums! Gerhard planted up an area near the a/c unit and these guys have exploded with growth (aeoniums in the ground, oh how I wish I could do that too).
Agave ovatifolia ‘Vanzie’, swoon-worthy.
I've seen many an Agave guiengola ‘Crème Brûlée’ but never felt the urge to purchase. This one may have changed that, it was amazing with those plump leaves...
I want this Agave chiapensis, but it's only hardy to 25-30F so it would be another container plant for me, absolutely beautiful...
This scene plays out behind the chairs we relaxed in upon our arrival.
That's also where the filtered sun lit up an Agave 'Cornelius' perfectly.
But wait, have you been counting? Do you realize how many agaves we've seen already? We're not even half way through this long post and I haven't shared all there were. Some I didn't manage to photograph, others I had to edit out lest this post go on for days. It was overwhelming, in a very good way...Gerhard is an agave collector of the highest order and he is extremely knowledgeable about them all. This one is Agave desmetiana 'Variegata' - a pup from the plant out front.
I love this vignette...
And this happy conglomeration...Aloe cameronii x maculata, Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’, Agave ‘Red Margin’ (Agave shawii x attenuata)...(thanks to Gerhard for the ID's on these and several others)...
And an Agave parryi, wow!
Okay, another location change. Now were back out in the front garden, on the covered patio just outside the dining room. I'd pictured this area much smaller than it is, turns out it's just the perfect size. Andrew and I both commented how much we wish we had a space like this just outside our house. Of course ours would be filled with containers too...
Love the red spikes on the potted Euphorbia enopla. It looks like a many-headed monster reaching out for a hug.
While I was in awe of the sheer number of agaves in Gerhard's garden in general, I was quite amazed at the number of potted specimens (he may have more than I do). All are very happy and well cared for...
Manihot grahamii, huge and fabulous. Oh to stand under those leaves!
Spikes! (Ferocactus wizlenii)
More spikes! (Ferocactus emoryi with Echinocactus grusonii in background)
And even more spikes! (Ferocatus latispinus)
What a combo: Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) and Asian lemon bamboo (Bambusa eutuldoides 'Viridividatta')...
I knew Gerhard had placed a collection of pots on top of the fence that borders the front garden, and I never could quite wrap my head around the idea. But I was picturing a tall fence, this one is not so tall, even short me could comfortably look at the plants on top of the fence.
I like the interest they add.
Plus they let the neighbors know just what kind of guy is at work behind that wall (a plant lover).
A moment of confession, I've never noticed Verbena bonariensis at this stage. Seeing it like this made me want to grow it, I love the long brown "fingers" with blue blooms at the end.
Just the slighted blush of red (orange?) on the Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’...
Ah, this makes me miss my Musella lasiocarpa! (it bloomed and then last winter's freeze did in the pups). So beautiful.
Now we visit the driveway bed, situated between Gerhard's driveway and the neighbors. The area is anchored by a Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’ - and oh how it's big it's gotten...
This is another one of those trees I wish I could grow...
I think this area was my favorite part of the garden, the plants and the way they've been put together, it was just lovely.
Plus this was my first time seeing an Agave ‘Snowglow...
As is this Agave parrasana, love the teeth marks.
Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue’
And (pow!) Agave Agave 'Joe Hoak', so gorgeous...
Tall Aloe cryptopoda blooms look great against the Palo Verde foliage, don't you agree?
Now we've moved on from the drive way and are working our way around the front of the house. I was happy to see an Aloe arborescens 'Variegata' in the ground, mine is forever doomed to life in a container.
Before I share Gerhard's streetside garden I must pause to point out one of the more interesting benefits of living in Davis, CA. See those piles in the street? They're not just the result of a pruning homeowner with a bad attitude, no...in Davis you just pile your yard waste in the street and the city picks it up. Can you imagine?
Okay, back to the garden. Here we have Aloe ‘Hercules’ and Parkinsonia ‘Sonoran Emerald’ the (for me) feature plants in Gerhard's recently reworked side garden. He can't even see these plants from the house or garden proper, he's sharing them with the neighborhood.
Did you notice the Caesalpinia gilliesii on the far left? There were many other wonderful, smaller, plants in this part of the garden, but at this point my camera finger was getting tired and lunch seemed like a good idea...
So we took off for a nearby restaurant and enjoyed a lovely lunch and margaritas, of course! (agave drinks for the agave lovers - that's Gerhard on the left and my husband, Andrew, on the right) Thank you Gerhard for a wonderful afternoon in your garden, a tasty lunch and of course the plants you sent home with me!
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