[The sale was a success! and a lot of fun. Thanks to all who dropped by. All the plants described below are still for sale — some, now, in limited quantities. Contact me at the email address in bold, below, if you’d like to visit and browse available plants.]

The above photo is from May 2022. This is the tropical portion of my backyard.

Yes, I have too many plants.

Watering all my container plants, especially, has become problematic — especially considering EBMUD’s new restrictions. I’m thinning the herd.

I’ll be selling select potted and bare-root vegetation in a cul-de-sac adjacent to the Ivy Drive neighborhood (Moraga/Orinda border), from 11:30am until around 1:30pm on Saturday, July 16. Email paul at dobiemeadows dot com for directions. There will be shade, just in case in turns out to be another 100-degree day.

I’ve propagated and raised the plants myself. They’re fertilized, in appropriate soil, and well-tended. I’ve been growing ornamentals, tropicals, natives, vegetables, and seedlings for myself and my clients for years, and have a California license to sell plants —  the side yards and backyard of my home have been transformed into a nursery!  I spend most Sundays working on seeds, cuttings, offsets, and propagation.

If these sell out, I’ll probably have more of most of them in another month or two; look for more sales as summer progresses.

Cash (exact change is always wonderful) and Venmo only, please.

No holds. First come, first served.

All plants (except cuttings and bare-root, as noted) are in either plastic or terra cotta pots. All pots included with purchased plants. Please bring plastic or newspaper or the like to cover your car seats/trunk.


Here’s what’s available:

Aloe arborescens variegata / Candelabra aloe:

These are two feet to a bit over three feet tall. $25 to $40. They sell at places like Dry Garden, Bancroft, and Flora Grubb for $50 to $85. These are well-rooted cuttings from an enormous 5-foot tall, 4-foot wide potted plant I bought as a one-gallon at Dry Garden circa 1998 (!). I can no longer move the pot without a handcart and an assistant, so I’ve resorted to cutting off stems, callusing them off, and sticking in succulent soil. The cuttings thrive. The more sun you give it, the more variegated it becomes. It blooms reliably in late winter, and has survived over a dozen Lamorinda frosts with nothing but one layer of frostcloth when temps dip below 35. Can grow in the ground if you keep it near the house or establish it before a mild winter or two; corners with southwestern exposure are best.

Aechmea caudata: 

Two in pots; one each in plastic and terracotta) ($25 to $35), some bare root ($15 to $25). Beautiful, hardy bromeliad with sawtooth (ouch!) leaves and arching candy-corn inflorescences each spring. Will establish quickly and grow impressively in the ground. Has repeatedly survived winters in my backyard down to 25 degrees, but I cover with frostcloth when it gets below freezing. These are big, healthy offsets from a monster plant I bought from Kenny at Moraga Garden Center in 2015. They just keep growing and growing, until I have too many to manage. They enjoy dappled shade, but will take on dramatic coloring if given a little more sun (watch for leaf bleaching if they get too much light). Pictured: mother plant (not for sale) in the ground.

Vriesea fenestralis x Vriesea gigantea ‘Nova’ (?): 

That question mark denotes I’m not positive of the parentage. One thing I’m sure of — this is a gorgeous bromeliad, striking, and *huge*. These get 4 feet tall by four feet wide, and even bigger if you put them in the ground with good drainage in filtered sunlight. A decidedly dominant houseplant specimen, if you have the room — a conservatory focal point that will wow everyone who sees it.

Caveats: Leaf yellowing/bleaching will occur if given too much sun. Frost protection necessary under 35 degrees; I keep them near the house and cover in winter when the chill clamps down. I bought the mother plant in Kaua’i in 2006, and, it’s now too big to move…I’ve gotten at least ten healthy plants from pups. This is a prolific specimen! I have never had these flower, but they’re monocarpic — after they flower, they die. But they push out many pups before expiring.

Tiny, 10-inch offsets of these from Florida growers on Etsy and eBay go for $25 to $40. I’m selling these large (3 to 4 feet tall), established plants in terra cotta for $50 to $85. A bargain! Above photos are of larger plants, not for sale. Yours would be roughly 1/2 to 1/3rd the size.

Neoregelia cruenta

Much like the above two in care. Dark green, sawtooth leaves with red tips.

If desired, I can give a primer on how to divide and propagate the offsets/divisions of the above bromeliads. They’re easy. These grow in trees in their native habitat, and will do so in Lamorinda if you mount them in a crook and give them some frost protection in winter.

(Warning regarding Aechmea, Vriesea, and Neoregelia: these are hydrated by keeping water in the cups/”tanks”. Water the soil every 10 days or so — the roots are only for anchoring; no moisture or nutrition is taken up from the roots.  If kept outside, mosquito control may be necessary. I use BT granules (“Mosquito bits”) like the ones put in ponds and standing water).

Sauromatum venosum (common name: Voodoo Lily):

These perennial corms are tropical plants in the Arum family. In the fall they yellow, I cut them back, and stash the pots in a cool, dry place, and forget about them. In late April I take the pots out, top with compost and balanced fertilizer, put them in the sun, and water them daily. By June they put up beautiful, arching, lush foliage that sways in the breeze. Best in filtered light, but will also thrive in deep shade. In terra cotta, but glazed ceramic is recommended in order to keep them appropriately moist. Easy to divide the corms, and each year the plants get bigger, with more corms / sprouts. Can overwinter in the ground. Poisonous. Some pots have 3 or 4 individual plants; $15 to $25.

Nicotiana alata:

I have three. Tobacco family, white flowers; sticky, skunky leaves. These self-seed and will spread to nearby pots/ground, but they’re as easy to pull and control as they are to propagate. Two in terracotta, one in a plastic nursery container. In flower; stalks benefit from being staked, especially in windy locations. Poisonous (deer hate them). When they begin looking ratty/leggy, cut them back, fertilize, and they’ll come roaring back before November, when they go to sleep. $20.

Opuntia monocantha (variegated):

These are cuttings in 1 gallon plastic pots. Classic spiny cactus with a striking, mottled green / cream presentation. Folks online offer 4″ pots for $12. I’m selling the gallons for $7.




* Bilbergia nutans “Queen’s Tears” offsets. Easy; beautiful, multicolored firecracker flowers in late spring. Divisions, bare root (not potted as in photo). .25 cents per tank. These will grow in the crooks of trees in Lamorinda. See Bromeliad warning (above) regarding mosquitos.

* Various potted succulents, most VERY spiny/pokey, from 1 gallon to 5 gallon, various prices; all inexpensive.  Some will not have tags. Some may be barely rooted and require support, or can be picked up at a later date once established. I’ll help you load them into your vehicle; bring heavy gloves and maybe newspaper to wrap/hold/unload.

* Plus some other surprises! F’rinstance: small terra cotta pots ‘n saucers aplenty.  Other stuff!

Come and browse, or just drop by and we can geek out about cool plants.

A week of cold overnight temperatures looms

[updated 12/29/21, 9am:] Saturday and Sunday morning (1/1 and 1/2/22) now looking like the coldest periods, with temps predicted below freezing from 4am to 8am on Sunday.

Between early Tuesday morning 12/28 and Monday 1/3/22, we’ll see an average 6am temperature of 34 degrees. It will be colder; it will be warmer, depending on your microclimate and changes in the forecast.

But it will be COLD in Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette. 

This would be the longest stretch of frigid weather we’ve seen in Lamorinda in years. We’ve entered that time of year where it rains (thankfully), but immediately following the precipitation, it gets cold.

Many of our most popular landscape and container plants can survive temps below 34. Some can deal with cold and wet roots. However, some, especially succulents, can’t handle both. Especially 6 or 7 consecutive days of this kind of cold, when the ground is saturated.

Time to haul out the frost cloth, if we haven’t already.

I like to drive at least 3 stakes that are taller than the plants into the ground, and drape frostcloth over the stakes so the cloth isn’t touching the plants. Frostcloth still conducts cold, so it’s best to have an airgap between the plants and the cloth. And batten down the cloth at ground level with rocks or bricks to keep drafts at bay.

Good luck out there. And stay warm.

Regarding Cynthia Brian’s August 19th Gardening Column in Lamorinda Weekly

I have a couple comments about this particular installment. I’m reluctant to even link to it, because some of it is just…wrong.

* Brian writes “If you planted a succulent garden earlier in the season, you don’t need to waste any water by running the irrigation system.”

This is a broad generalization that doesn’t hold true, in many instances. I’ve had clients tell me “I don’t know why that cactus died. I didn’t think they needed water.” Succulents are a deep and wide class of thousands of plants, with varying cultural needs. Most need supplemental water during the warmest months of the year, especially if they were recently planted, and/or are in containers. In mid-August we had several consecutive days of 100-plus-degree weather. Water your succulents, especially if they’re in containers. Water until it drains out the drain holes. And never plant a succulent in a pot that can’t drain.

* Later in the same piece, Cynthia states “orchids are trouble-free and undemanding. Just leave them alone, put an ice cube once a week in their container, and let them beautify your home.”

This kind of blanket statement drives me bonkers. The majority of indoor orchids like to be be very wet, then very dry, for the most part. The ice cube fallacy can kill orchids. Take your indoor orchids to the sink when they’re dry, and let the water run through them and drain out completely. Then let them dry out a bit, preferably outside, where there’s a breeze. If the nights are below 45 degrees, don’t leave indoor orchids outside. Never let an orchid sit in a saucer full of water, and no plant is going to benefit from having ice-cold water dribble across a small area of its rootball. Oh, and if your orchid was potted in soil when you bought it (as are most mass-market plants sold at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Home Depot, and the like), it will nearly certainly benefit from being repotted in bark, and fertilized regularly during the growing season.

As with any plant, think “nuance”. What’s best for one species (or family of plants) doesn’t necessarily work for others. Beware of general plant-care advice. If in doubt, research the particular plant online. Find out where it’s native, and what the conditions are like in its native habitat. If you have any questions, email me via the Contact link over there on the top right. I’m happy to help.