March 3, 2015


Euphorbia antisyphilitica.

It was a terrific weekend, and a curiously busy one, given the cold and the rain. (41°F here at the moment, humidity 85% — this morning there was ice in a saucer on the potting bench. I put frost cloth over some of the plants last night.) But the weekend was a marvel.

On Saturday I drove over to Riverside to pick up some cuttings from the brilliant and extraordinarily generous Reuben Muñoz of Rancho Reubidoux. Reuben is an artist, and his garden took my breath away. I can't begin to say how wonderful it was to see the Rancho. Exactly-right quote from Denise Ginger of A Growing Obsession
What I wish I could convey is the extraordinary sense of moving through this fiercely personal landscape, because Reuben’s artistry lies in modeling space. One-dimensional photos capture the vignette compositions but in no way convey how each vignette is related to the whole, the careful planning of sight lines and attention to flow around plants and seating areas. What you can’t get from photos is the immersive sense of being in a wholly unique space that envelopes and seduces. 
Yes, perfect. Read the rest of Denise's great post on the Rancho here. I didn't have a camera: for terrific photos, visit Reuben's excellent blog.

The cuttings (the Euphorbia pictured above, and a Pedilanthus) are already on their way north to Gerhard Bock of Succulents and More. (A swap: Gerhard very generously sent me a box filled with cool plants a few weeks ago.)  I took Reuben a little Agave titanota and an Aloe suprafoliata. Had a little Euphorbia ferox for him as well, but forgot it at home, so will drop it off next time. And Reuben gave me a piece of his awesome blue cactus! He said he'd mailed another piece to Pam Penick of Digging the day before. When temps are warmer I'll pot mine up.

I can't thank Reuben enough for his time and trouble, and kindness and generosity.

Oh, and then I went to Gloria's. Whenever I visit Riverside I try to stop by my fave Gloria's Nursery, and of course I bought some plants. Here's a big new aloe, with windbreak-y boxes, before I threw some frost cloth over everything. ID, anyone?

Same plant, flower buds:

Gloria's has two of the biggest agaves I think I've ever seen, both salmianas. One is blooming:

Salmianas, from uphill:

Back home, the lemon tree is getting ready to blossom. No matter how many bags of lemons I give away, the amount of fruit on the tree never seems to change. I think I'll ask Reuben if he and Paul would like some lemons.


  1. You got to visit Reuben's garden! I am beyond jealous. That nursery looks pretty fabulous to.

    1. I'd love to sound cool and composed about this, but I pretty much just died. A singularly wonderful garden and gardener.

      I always forget to take photos at Gloria's -- need to make a trip just for pictures. Most of the nursery meanders through a grove of citrus and avocados, and I love it. Reminds me of my SoCal childhood.

  2. Thank you AGAIN for getting those cuttings for me. They're definitely enjoying the warm weather. I bet they've formed new roots by now.

    On my next trip to Arizona (or Palm Springs) I'll be sure to stop in your neck of the woods. Maybe you'll introduce me to Reuben. I love nothing more than creativity and individualistic expression in a residential landscape, and Reuben is a master from what I've seen.

  3. I'm so glad those little guys are settling in! Thank YOU for the plants you sent south -- they too seem to be doing fine (knock wood. If anyone can kill a healthy young succulent, it's me. Must. not. over-water...).

    I'm sad to report (and he's written about this on his blog) that Reuben's recovery from back surgery is not progressing as hoped :~( Hold good thoughts for him, please. Sometime perhaps, when he is feeling better and we're both in SoCal, we can arrange a visit. He is a master, indeed!


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