Better late than never planting


Like a faithful Labrador, this Yucca desmetiana ‘Blue Boy’ patiently sat for 8 months in its 4-inch nursery pot on a table in my back yard, waiting for its forever home. Well, maybe not forever, as this purple-tinged yucca can grow to 6 feet tall. But certainly a better temporary home than a flimsy, plastic nursery pot.

I bought it at the fabulous Annie’s Annuals & Perennials during last summer’s Garden Bloggers Fling in San Francisco, but not because I saw it and just had to have it. No, I bought it because I saw one of my favorite bloggers, Denise of A Growing Obsession, carrying one around and thought, “Oh, if Denise wants it, it must be good!” And I promptly hunted down one of my own, stuffed it in my suitcase for the flight home, and then basically ignored it. Poor thing. It does look quite nice now in this glazed, red pot, doesn’t it?


The gnome thinks so. Come to think of it, he’s a California purchase too, from Potted garden shop in Los Angeles.


While I was potting, I finally got around to planting up this concrete wall planter I bought at local shop Mockingbird Domestics last fall.


I put a crested euphorbia in it. I’ve never grown this plant before and hope it won’t melt away in the summer.


The spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) is just starting to bloom, after being set back during our late ice storm. It’s so nice to see a few flowers in the garden at last to herald spring’s arrival.


But the best flower show in my garden right now is in the skinny side garden, where the four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris scaposa) are amped up by the yellows in the ‘Bright Edge’ yuccas, Mexican feathergrass, and gopher plants.


These cheery natives used to be in the front garden, but the deer found them tasty, so I transplanted them behind the fence, amid the rocks lining the hillside path.


They thrive in the sun and reflected heat.


Little cups of sunshine


Although it may seem a throwaway space, it’s always worth planting up the side yard.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

20 Responses

  1. Alison says:

    Your side yard is beautiful. I have an empty, bare, ugly foundation area on the north side of my house that gets no sun whatsoever. I have no clue what to plant there, but some day when I’m done transforming the rest of the garden, I’ll get around to doing something there. I have that red Yucca too, in an enormous pot with some hens and chicks. It’s doing well here too. I should get another and put it in the gravel garden.

  2. I love the little winding path down your side yard. The mix of Mexican feather grass with yuccas is wonderful contrast and texture…and then dotted with delicate little yellow flowers a great composition!

  3. Jenny says:

    I love that you took good care of it while it was in the little pot. It looks amazingly healthy. I’m afraid my spiderwort is barely out of the ground. A lack of water rather than cold is probably to blame. I keep waiting and it just never happens.

  4. Kris P says:

    I’ve been thinking of adding that same Yucca to my new “red bed” and seeing it in your red pot makes me think it’d be a good choice. I bought one as a Christmas gift for a friend but I’ve yet to try growing it myself.

  5. Indie says:

    I love side gardens – they are always a delightful surprise! Yours is so cute and cheerful with the yellow. It’s great to see some flowers. It will be awhile still before anything blooms up here!

  6. TexasDeb says:

    Admire the yucca – appreciate the color of that red pot – simply love them in combination. Stunning together, like all the very best couples ought to be. You have such a good eye for that.

    I had four nerve daisies out front (and loved them!) but the deer had other plans. Say – were your bright edge yuccas hurt by the cold at all? Perhaps they are protected there in the side yard? Mine might be a goner but it was relatively new and fairly exposed.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Isn’t it always a toss-up to see what the deer will ignore? I was surprised to find they like the four-nerves and also ‘Katie’ ruellia, both of which I’ve seen growing in other deer-infested neighborhoods.

      ‘Bright Edge’ yucca has always been very reliable for me, even through ice storms and deep freezes, although it can sometimes shrivel a bit when it gets very cold. —Pam

  7. Denise says:

    Pam, I so remember that moment at Annies! What a frenzy of shopping that was. I doubt mine have found their “forever” home if their eventual size is 6 feet. Kinda cool how our gardens are getting “broadened” by our travels, like your little Potted gnome.

  8. Marilyn Rodriguez says:

    I love your side garden. I have one on the east side of my house, but it is shady. I am going to use your design of multiple kinds of plants of different sizes to get started. I love plants that are soft and have movement like your grasses. Any suggestions?

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I love seeing the sprinkling of yellow through the side yard. It looks so cheerful. The dark yucca will be a stunner when it gets to be 6′ tall. Wow.

  10. Astra says:

    I have the same crested euphorbia but it lives indoors year-round so I can’t comment on its reception to outdoor TX summer. I will note that the variegated crested euphorbias need even less water than the regular ones, so be sparing with the irrigation!

    Mine is a very slow grower–it has had virtually no visible change in the three years I’ve owned it. I will say it has shown more growth in the TX humidity than it did in arid CO.

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