Monday, February 23, 2015

Yard planting Phase 2

This time last year we completed phase 1 of our yard planting. Regular readers will recall that we rent here in the USA, so our yard has been landscaped on a low budget, utilizing all the coloured gravels that were left behind in odd shapes by the previous tenant. Last year we redesigned this, creating broad sweeps of color with a perimeter border that we planted with sub-tropicals - I can't resist the colour of species like Bougainvillea, Tecoma, Podranea, Senna, Hibiscus etc. All of that has settled in well.

Last year's plantings a year later

Anyway we had always planned to plant the black gravel area with a few well spaced desert plants. Now I'm not a great fan of cacti and succulents but some can be very architectural and others do have pretty flowers. So here we are with planting phase 2.  I was rather putting this off as I have arthritis in my right hand and this makes digging tough - good excuse I know! Having bought the plants I persuaded my good friend Jim to assist and yesterday we planted it.

Jim wielding the spade
The new desert plantings
The big agaves were planted last year having traveled from our last home. All the rest is new.Planting cacti with big spines is daunting but I had been told to try using polystyrene blocks and this worked perfectly. I had purchased one rather expensive golden barrel cactus and then found similar ones for sale at $5.98 at the local Lowes, so bought two more. Annoyingly the expensive one turned out to be totally rotted when tipped from the pot. Grown in a wet peat compost - ridiculous! Its going back for a refund!

Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba' - thanks Chad for the correction

An unknown agave given to me

Echinocactus grosonii

Euphorbia mammillaris Variegata

Ferocactus cylindraceus

Kalanchoe luciae

Opuntia - robusta I think

Opuntia rufida

Pachypodium lamerei - Madagascar palm - will grow tall and slender

I have one final plant I'd like to add and this is a rather lovely willowy succulent that I took to be an Aloe but have discovered its Furcraea macdougalii. If anyone knows a source, do let me know. And there is one last job to do - instal the irrigation - even desert plants need some water here!

The desired Furcraea but in someone else's yard.


  1. Good Morning Ian,

    Your variegated Agave is Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba'.

    Agave americana 'Variegata' has lateral variegation.

    Furcraea macdougalii isn't rare 'n the trade' on your winter side of the ocean.

    For example, try;


  2. For someone not usually into cacti and succulents you have made some fine choices there!

  3. Your "Opuntia rufida" looks more like Opuntia microdasys / Bunny Ears Cactus. I like the path leading towards the back, and you're making the most of existing rock...not always easy!

    I missed earlier that you're's always nice to add plantings to a rental that has few to none...what I'm about to do.

  4. David - possibly - the pot said O. rufida altho the nurseryman said O. microdasys. Info suggests two closely related. What I really wanted was the low species with lovely cerise pink flowers O. basilaris - beavertail cactus - but I couldn't find it locally.