Friday, May 31, 2019

Gerhard's Garden; spiky in Davis

I had the good fortune to visit Gerhard's (aka Mr. Succulents and More) garden in early April. In many ways his garden is my dream. He grows so many of my favorite plants in the ground: agaves, aloes, mangaves, bromeliads, leucadendrons, grevilleas, and on and on.

The reason for my visit was the Bromeliad Summit in Santa Barbara. I flew into Sacramento, spent the night with Gerhard and Heather, then early the next morning we packed up and drove down to Santa Barbara. It was a whirlwind few days full of amazing gardens, but it all started here. We begin street-side, on the public side of the front garden fence.

First up, a speckled Mangave grown to perfection, M. ‘Spotty Dotty’.

Several of his aloes were in bloom, I think these flowers belong to Aloe marlothii, and that beauty behind is Agave weberi ‘Arizona Star’.

Another look.

Aloe cameronii and it's red offspring.

I love this combination of the big velvety verbasum leaves with Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'

Long spikes, subtle variegation, what's not to love? Agave potatorum ‘Cameron Blue’

Spring in Davis is quite lovely, isn't it? Lush in fact if you're judging by Gerhard's garden.

Oh Salvia discolor, why must you be so hard to find? I really wanted to grow this one again this year but never could find any plants (it's an annual for me).

For the life of me I can't recall what this is. I just know that this is my favorite stage, once those flowers open, not so much. (Canary Island daisy (Asteriscus sericeus), thanks Gerhard!)

I think I take this shot every time I visit; Agave gentryi 'Jaws' and Yucca linearifolia.

Agave parrasana

Aloe ‘Moonglow’ (blooming), Agave americana var. medio-picta 'Alba', and Agave ovatifolia. On the far right is Gerhard's ill-fated Palo Verde, read this post for more on its demise.

The flowers of Aloe ‘Moonglow’ look fabulous next to the variegated agave...

Lovely flowers on Aloe hereroensis.

The white senecio has the Agave ovatifolia looking a little ghostly,

A look back at where we've come from...

Before retracing our steps along the length of the fence and entering the front, private, garden...

Agave salmiana var. ferox 'Medio picta', I believe.

Agave guadalajarana ‘Leon’

Surveying the front garden...

Another angle, before we look at some plant close-ups.

Agave parryi var. huachucensis ‘Excelsior’

Agave applanata 'Cream Spike'

Hechtia 'Wildfire'

Mangave 'Crazy Cowlick'

Gerhard's chimney flue planters are a genius way to raise small plants up a little closer to eye-level.

Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' on the right

Agave obscura 'Red Skyline' (SWOON!)

Doesn't everything look super happy and healthy?

This is what you see from the covered front porch...

I think I may have to track down Hippeastrum papilio to grow myself, of course not outdoors like Gerhard is.

On this visit I was even allowed to wander into the back garden with my camera. Or wait, maybe "allowed" isn't the right word, I just did it.

So many flowers! Grevillea ‘Flora Mason’

"The" plant of the Austin Garden Bloggers Fling! I had no idea Gerhard grew tractor-seat Ligularia...

*SIGH* look at those sexy Bromeliads. Gerhard just completed a rework of this area and wrote about it here.

Sonchus palmensis I think. I grow S. canariensis and these leaves are a little different.

Another surprise, lilacs! They smelled so good.

Just a few more photos...

Look...a bloom spike! Agave mitis ‘Nova’

I end this post with a couple of photos back in the front garden, taken as the sun was setting and we were heading out to dinner. Who could walk by this glowing Aloe vaombe without stopping to snap a photo?

Or this? Agave bovicornuta surrounded by Euphorbia tirucalli.

Thanks again for your hospitality Gerhard, I can't wait for our next adventure when I get to see your garden again!

Weather Diary, May 30: Hi 79, Low 55/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Thank you so much for all the nice things you said. Warms my heart like a fuzzy blanket!

    YESSSSSS to that next adventure, wherever it might take us!

    1. Forgot to say that the Fargugium japonicum 'Giganteum' is only so large because of the unusually wet winter and spring we've had. It's much smaller in a normal year. It's been in the ground for 10+ years, through the long drought and all.

    2. The Fargugium japonicum in Austin looked quite esteblished and happy too, maybe it wants more heat than I thought? Always wonderful to visit your garden!

  2. Amazing collection, and like you say so pristine -- and I remember the precautions he took to keep rain off with plastic, so pristine doesn't come easy. And that 'Flora Mason' -- wow!

    1. I know right? That Flora Mason was just plain unbelievable.

  3. So many incredible specimens! I sighed over every perfect one.

  4. I can see why you are such good friends - it's like Danger Garden South with many spiky and wonderful plants to drool over.

  5. An amazing collection of thorny dangers. That cactus with the long red thorns is an eye catcher. The sidewalk planting is stunning and lush; cool grass ground cover.
    The Aster blooms threw me off for a minute. I had to double check the time you visited, and it wasn't October.

    1. It wasn't October, and I am practically blind to the flowers, all I see are the spikes!

  6. Commented on his blog / site, which I wouldn't have been aware of if it wasn't for you....I'm relatively new to the plant obsession, just wanted to comment and say that I've been reading your blog / site for quite some time and find it very inspirational!

    Just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do, I'm sure there's a lot of other folks like myself that enjoy & appreciate it but don't comment. Have been thinking about starting to do something similar for my garden, I'm in NC so it's a much different climate but am equally obsessed with trying to grow plants (spikey ones in particular, albeit all types) that don't belong here lol anyways thanks and I'll look forward to your next post!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. While everyone who reads and comments is appreciated it's these seemingly out of the blue comments that really get me. To know I'm helping people embrace the fun of gardening and loving plants...well, it makes the time I spend here worth it. If you do start a blog (I think that's what you mean by "Have been thinking about starting to do something similar for my garden") I hope you'll come by and leave another comment with a link, I love to see what you're up to!

  7. wow, that is amazing look around his garden. It is always fun seeing gardens that you follow shown in different blogs, gives you totally different view.
    So many amazing plants, how big roughly was the agave mitis nova. I have one I am about to plant out and wonder how much space to give it.

    1. Honestly I saw so many agaves that weekend I can't begin to recall the size of that one with any accuracy. Maybe we can get Gerhard to tell us?

  8. Always so many riches when visiting Gerhard. So that Grevillea looks exactly like the one I photographed at the Taft..I think I have an ID !

    1. Kathy, my Grevillea 'Flora Mason' came from Jo O'Connell, so it's very possible.

    2. Yep, that's what I thought ks!

  9. Wonderful to see this great collection from your perspective, Loree.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!