On The Edge

From late August air, the faintest smell of autumn.  
 I decided a trio of 'Joe Hoak' Agaves will go in the empty spot on the slope.  They will (roughly) mirror the three 'Bright Star' Yucca.  I will also take some rosettes of Aloe cameronii, (above the Yuccas) and place those in the same configuration above the 'Joe' triangle.
As time passes the slope I will plant in groups rather than one-of-eaches.  The slope will look less random.  
 'Joe Hoak' looks enough like 'Bright Star'. 
Another gift from Dolores:  two of the 'Bright Star' are just about to bloom.  They will not make it to the next Bloom Day--Yucca flowers are ephemeral--a week or so after they open, they fall.   

That Agave marmorata, so gorgous... Oops! Sorry...got distracted.
 Aloe 'Cynthia Gitty' is going strong, pairing orange with 'Bright Star's creamy yellow.   
What I'm thinking through, while waiting for autumn planting season, is an edging plant for the front slope.  I'd like a low, tough plant (or two or three) to run all along the bottom of the slope.  Low enough not to interfere with irrigation, tough enough to endure hot, dry soil.  I tried Senecio mandraliscae.  It's too fast growing and too vigorous to control easily, and it smothers the sprinkler heads.
Delosperma 'Fire Spinner'--just planted it this spring.  Maybe.  It's very flat, but is it tough enough?
I thought Dorycium hirstutum might work, but my plant is Not Happy.
 Aloe ellenbeckii...nice tight clump,  tough, slow--maybe eventually I'll have enough plants to use as an edging.  It's rather nondescript as Aloes go, but might work...eventually.  Maybe best as an accent to the main edging.  It creates a mass of soft curves.
 Another Aloe, very common here, perhaps a hybrid.   2" (5 cm) tall, forming dense clumps eventually.  Name: unsure.  It looks messy until it fills in, that takes time.  Too vigorous is bad, but too slow is--bad. 
 Cistanthe grandiflora, in dry spots, lacks vigor.  
With adequate water, it's as vigorous as Senecio mandraliscae.  
 I have Aloe greatheadii in some spots.  It would work.  Not 100% satisfying.
 Crassula pubescens ssp. radicans struggles if it is too dry, though it does turn a brilliant red.  I'd need to add a drip line.  That might be an option.  I propagated a whole flat bowl full, which is waiting for me to decide what to do with it. 
 Aloe 'Roikoppe', there in front of 'Joe Hoak', blooms frequently.  A possibility.  A clump of Aloe ellenbeckii above and to the right of 'Joe'.  'Roikoppe' would not be dense, but it would be striking. 
 This group of Aloe brevifolia has been on the edge, under a rose, for quite a few years--more than five.  It's slow, but dense.  And tough--this one gets nothing except winter rain.
 Arctotis?  That would mean considerable maintenance, though if someone steps on it, it would recover quickly.  Succulents would not.  Might be tall enough to interfere with the sprinklers. 
 I was hoping to use Echeveria 'Imbricata' as the edging plant at one time.  However, it doesn't hold up to heat without regular  irrigation.  This patch doesn't get much water, and even in partial shade it gets quite dried out by August.  
Echeveria 'Imbricata' (on the left):
 Gazania?  The rabbits would love that. 
 Senecio serpens is a petite version of Senecio mandraliscae.  I tried it out front.  It couldn't handle the summer heat. 
 So that's what's up in the garden.  The edge. 


  1. Sounds like adding a drip line would open up more choices for you on that edge -- you have lots of options and will eventually find the "right" one. And it will look fantastic like the rest of the slope (and your garden)!

    p.s. love that somebody confirmed that Gazania are rabbit candy. I think about adding these every year (as annuals) but what's the point?

    1. I was out this morning digging out some of the soil, moving it up the slope out of the way. Now, thinking about some rocks as edging. They are super drought tolerant, and rabbits don't bother them!

  2. The summer pause is at least handy for figuring out what planting to do in the autumn. The Joe Hoak trio sounds good!

    1. I need to do more thinking and less shopping--summer is good for that.

  3. 'Joe Hoak' is a beauty. That with Aloe 'Roikoppe' would look very striking indeed.

    1. They do look good together, don't they? Never thought about that until I saw the photo.

  4. I enjoyed the opportunity to follow your evaluation process as I'm looking for new edging material too. The Uncinia uncinata I planted in the back borders needs much too much water (i.e. it's dead). The red Crassula is one of my lead contenders at present, both because of its color and its ability to grow almost anywhere. Although there's never been a sighting of rabbits here, something (squirrels, raccoons, skunks?) ate my 'Sunbather' Gazanias; however, the single-flowered varieties weren't bothered so they remain in contention. I love Arctotis but they look crappy in my garden this time of year and, like last year, I'm considering pulling them out of the front garden and taking cuttings to replant this winter in some less prominent position.

    I'm sorry to hear that your Dorycnium is struggling - mine have been reluctant to bloom this year but the plants themselves have hung on through the heat and dry conditions, although all have been in the ground a year or more. Mine are all in really lousy soil - a combination of clay and rock - so perhaps that's the difference.

    1. Well, I probably planted the Dorycnium too late, and it was there at Roger's a while before I bought it. I'm hoping for seedlings--there are seed pods on the poor thing.

      I am disappointed the rabbits like Gazania. There's a big well-watered lawn next door, why can't they be satisfied with that?

      Now I'm thinking about rocks, with plants behind them.

  5. The 'Joe Hoak' trio will be stunning. (Doesn't Joe Hoak Trio sound like a group from the 50s?)

    Like you, I'm searching for that elusive low-maintenance, low-water front-of-the-border plant. I was disappointed to hear that Senecio serpens wasn't up to the job; I had intended on using it extensively just for that purpose.

    My experience with Echeveria 'Imbricata' mirrors you. A definite disappointment.

    I recently bought a trio of Cotyledon 'White Sprite' from Lowe's. They're still in the nursery container but they've held up very well in 3/4 sun. And they look good, too. A possibility?

    1. That's true, The Joe Hoak Trio sounds like a 50's jazz group or early 60s folkies. Funny!

      I gave the S serpens a year out there, and it was still struggling so I gave up and moved it. 'Imbricata' does well IF it gets regular water, not a lot, but some. I was hoping for something that doesn't need much. At the edge of the street, I don't want water running down into the gutter, too wasteful.

      I will look for that Cotyledon, thanks for the idea.

  6. These posts where you go through your options and weigh their merits are so informative and I love them! I wish echeveria were more hardy, I love them.

    I think this "remodel" is going to look great. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

    Oh, and that marmorata!

    1. Well, Echeveria can come indoors while it's too cold outside. Tempting? ;^)

      Yes, that marmorata. It's as tall as I am!

  7. Last weekend, I saw Euphorbia rigida used to edge Xera co-owner Greg Shepherd's drought-tolerant garden in Portland. They looked fantastic. And the rabbits probably won't eat them, since they're caustic. They're hardy to Zone 10a.

    1. I'll look into that, Alison, thanks for the idea. What was fun was searching up images of it and seeing many familiar blogs. :^)

  8. Love the Agave marmorata it certainly catches the eye.
    I have found, like you, that most echeverias and even many aloes seem to do better with some water, even in the UK. So I can see that many especially echs, may not look great and spread quickly in your climate, even if they recover and put on a growth spurt as soon as it rains.

    1. I would hate to have them stepped on, more than the issue of water. I'm sort of thinking Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' also, as I have so much of it. It's vigorous, but not as vigorous as the Senecio. From what I can tell. E. agavoides will form a good clump in heat and dryness. The ellenbeckii will go with absolute zero water and still look the same, it just turns a brownish-grey, not a totally unattractive color. The brevifolia gets zero as well, but super slow.


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