Friday, May 20, 2022

Visiting the Eyebrow House garden...

The notes I keep on my phone include a running list of gardens to drive-by and visit. These are gardens others have told me I should see, as well as the gardens of people that I've talked with, who've invited me to stop by—today's post is the latter. The owner/gardener Marc Wheeler Byrne and I have emailed frequently over the past couple of years. I've intended to stop by, and finally did when he opened for the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon on May 7th...
I knew Marc had a pretty fantastic palette of plants he was working with, thanks to our conversations. I also think he sold things a little short with his official garden description: Neo-Jurassic, tropical with ferns, two Douglas firs and a western red cedar. I mean sure, I suppose that hit the basics, but really, there is so much more!

Marc and his wife Kayce bought the home in mid 2012, from an architect by the name of Edgar Papazian who had worked to remodel the 1941 home into something much more interesting. He gave it a name too, the Eyebrow House, I'm sure you can figure out why. 
Marc later saw the work of landscape designer Michael Schultz and hired him to design the garden, work started in Sept of 2107 and was completed Feb of 2018. The garden looks and feels much more mature than that!

The front garden is a masterpiece of geometric style, I love the restraint.

Plus, there are agaves! And bananas that are pouting because of our cool temperatures, imagine them lush...

The solid carpet of Leptinella squalida 'Platt's Black' between the pavers is a thing of beauty.

And then I turned to focus on the big agaves. Yes please!

Marc IDs these as Agave americana x protoamericana, and while they're not loving our cool and very wet spring they're still looking rather fabulous. I love the mix with the big rocks and yellow yucca.

We're walking along the side of the house now, towards the back garden, notice the tall Tetrapanax peeking over the fence. 

This is where I should mention that while Marc works within a design for the garden layout, he has very much taken over with an artists eye and a love for plants. I asked him how he got into gardening: "Owning a home. I have always been into design, and have a painting and photography degree. Plants are soothing. Gardening is a 3-dimensional painting, plus 4 seasons. A painting sometimes will tell you when it is done, a garden never tells you that.

Sonchus canariensis, I think?

It's rare that I spot Arthropodium candidum 'Purpureum' (New Zealand rock lily, the mauve strappy plant) in a garden. I love that plant!

Schefflera taiwaniana sandwiched in between the side porch and basement egress window.

The Corokia contoneaster looks quite at home in a container.

Naturally there's a plant in the window well, Marc is a true cramscaper.

Moving into the back garden now; what a great space to hang out under cover...

Walking to the far side of the covered space and looking down this is what you see; a lush shady garden below. There were steps down into that space from from where I was standing, but they were a little steep with no railing, I didn't trust myself. Sometimes my foot/ankle still gets a bit funky (I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of the break) and I figured better safe than sorry.

So I retraced my steps backward, stopping to admire an agave, 'Blue Glow' I believe.

And to stare at the back side of the house, wow!


A fine patch of Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'—actually there were two patches, they flanked the wide stairs.

Another nice clump of pouting bananas.

To the left of the bananas...

As I take the wide steps down into the lower garden, and pause to look back.

Dasylirion wheeleri underplanted with black mondo grass—what a dramatic combination.

There's something you don't see everyday here in Portland, an in-ground cycad.

Mid-level now, on my descent into the lower garden. It's tempting to sit for a spell and see if a beverage shows up on the side table. I love the repeated circles...

Butia capitata, if my memory serves.

I did not ask for ID on the unfurling fronds.

A pair of this wonderfully colored phormium flanked the entrance into the lower garden. I wish I would have gotten a pulled back photo of the pair.

Looking towards the NE corner of the garden and that luxurious hammock.

This section of the garden is where Marc's skill at combining different textures really shines. All the plants are green, but most definitely not boring. Marc's preference for a foliage garden rather than a floral one is is definitely something we share.

Looking at the backside of the covered seating area we visited earlier.

And now towards the NW corner.

I spent quite a bit of time slowly walking through this part of the garden, trying to focus on each individual plant. I'm certain I missed quite a few treasures though. 

There were lots of different aspidistra (cast iron plant)...

Fatsia polycarpa 'Needhams Lace'

See what I mean about texture? Also, so many different shades of green.

I spy a bromeliad dropped into the garden!

As I mentioned to Marc, I've never cared for this particular impatiens, with the pink center stripe. Here though, with the astelia it's magic.

Heading back up the steps, to the upper level of the back garden...

Those bananas again...

And the inviting seating area...

Here are a few orienting shots that I should have started this part of the post with, but I also wanted to stay in order I took photos. So, this is looking straight at the back of the house from the top of those steps I just climbed.

And now I've stepped up onto the back deck of the house and I'm looking down into the garden. To the left....

Center...

And right...

Sadly now I'm headed back out towards the street and it's a wrap on this fabulous garden visit! Fingers crossed I'll return again sometime soon. I must wrap up this post with Marc's words that bear repeating: "A painting sometimes will tell you when it is done, a garden never tells you that."

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Smart Planet Plants delivers...

When a message like this: "Hi Loree! We absolutely love your 🌿 content and would be happy to send you some of our drought-tolerant plants. Let us know if you're interested!" shows up in your Instagram feed (especially when you're having a very difficult day), why would you say anything other than... "yes please"?

So of course that's exactly what I said, and a box of Smart Planet drought tolerant plants showed up on my doorstep on yet another difficult day (yes, there have been a lot of them lately)...

Since it was also another very wet day (lots of those lately too), I unpacked the plants on our dining table. Thankfully they were very well packed plants.


Portulacaria afra ‘Lilliput’

Did I mention how well packed these were?

Crassula ovata ‘Crosby’s Compact’

So cute!

And that was the only broken leaf in the whole shipment!

Next up, Aeonium ‘Lily Pad’

The happy collection thus far, only one more to open up...

And there it is, Sedum adolphi...

These plants were all packed so well, only one broken leaf and barely any soil that escaped from the packing. I was so hesitant to unpack these indoors but I didn't need to be, this is it for the mess...

And look how cute they are!
Thankfully we had a dry day shortly after my unpacking and so I took all my new plants outside.

And that's when I discovered their unique sized pots slip right into the holes on the top of the table under our shade pavilion!

How fabulous is that?! And since these little cuties don't require much water I won't have to make a mess of the table trying to aim at the pots with the hose, like I did with the ferns I had there last summer. Thanks Smart Planet Plants!

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.