Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Vignette, Agave!

Below is my Agave franzosinii and friends. This Agave is super special to me because I purchased it at The Ruth Bancroft Garden, and A. franzosinii is (to me at least) the "Agave icon" of that beloved garden.



While working on my Rogerson Clematis Garden post I happened to Google the curator, Linda Beutler. Much to my surprise one of the first things that came up was a page on the Oregon Association of Nurseries website with lyrics to a song written by Linda called Agave! Seriously...

Agave! (Sung to the tune of "Maria!" from West Side Story)
Lyrics by Linda Beutler and the Goddess Flora Chorus

The most beautiful plant I've ever seen...
Agave, Agave, Agave, Agave, Agave!
And the cost of this plant is quite obscene...
Agave, Agave, Agave, Agave, Agave!

Agave!
I just met a plant named Agave,
And suddenly I've found
There's gravel all around
My house.

Agave!
I just keep on planting Agave,
We have a drought, you know,
And nothing else will grow
Out there!

Agave, with its thorns it keeps children from playing,
And those spines will stop small dogs from straying.

Agave, I'll never stop planting Agave!

The most beautiful plant I've ever seen...
Agave!

Back in the day there was a group called "The Goddess Flora Chorus and Deadheading Society" which performed at an HPSO Study Weekend and then multiple Plant Nerd Night events. This song was one they performed. You can see a video of the performance here.


Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Euonymus (Ewe wanna what?)

Sometimes I get that look. It's a sort of narrowing of the eyes, while the head turns a little to the side. I am being judged and found lacking.

"You call yourself a gardener?"... "and you can't I.D. that plant?"

The plant in question is always something that's not particularly rare, probably growing in several yards in any Portland neighborhood. But I've never bothered to learn the name of it, because I don't care about it. The way I see it there's only room in my brain for a certain number of plant names and I'm not going to give over space to learning the difference between an Escallonia and a Photinia ...with apologies to fans of either.

One of those "I don't know anything about them" plants: Euonymus. I've always lumped it in the category of plants people-who-aren't-gardeners "plant" in order to hide something, like the foundation of their house (again, apologies if you're a fan).

So while shopping at Joy Creek recently I was surprised when Ricki (Sprig to Twig) suggested one. Even more surprising? I came home with two of them! That's them there, draping over the side of the big planter. What...that's not what you expected from a Euonymus? Me either!

I'd been meaning to tend to this area — just to the left of the front steps — for awhile now. I reworked it last October for the OC&K Challenge (photos from then here) but since then it had become a mess. Here's a photo from my Agave edema post earlier in the month ...

The Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana) in the huge container was out of control (above) and that dark leaf Cordyline wasn't helping. I pruned the hell out of the Feijoa and gave the Cordy to a friend. Then went shopping, of course. The Euonymus are E. nanus var. turkestanicus ...

And like other (some? all? I really don't know) Euonymus they get these little seed pods which should turn pink and then expose orange seeds. Plus the autumn color is reputed to be fabulous. The folks at Joy Creek say: "Euonymus nanus var. turkestanicus is a curious arching-to-cascading shrub with narrow, widely spaced, dark green leaves that march down the stems in a ladder-like fashion. Autumn color is red to burgundy. The flowers are not noticeable but the fruits are relatively large, pink and contain bright orange arils within. This would be a wonderful shrub for spilling over a low wall or in a rockery."

Above the Euonymus, eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a touch of purple (stupid camera...it really is very deep purple) in the Feijoa sellowiana. Another Clematis! This one C. Clematis 'Gipsy Queen' and also from Joy Creek Nursery.

I've been causally hunting for a purple Clematis that reminded me of the one my Grandmother grew next to her porch in Spokane. This was finally it!

Back when the Outlaw visited in early August I'd picked up a few other plants to go in this area.

Like this striking Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow'...

And a couple of Cordyline 'Cha Cha'...

Which technically aren't hardy here but I've had reliably come back from the roots, even at 12F.

The Agave desmettiana 'variegata' will have to go inside before danger of freeze, but I'm already scheming on another, hardier, Agave to take it's place.

It's grown so much this summer...I think it has earned this prominent placement again next year.

I also planted a couple Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ — their impact in photos isn't nearly as powerful as it is in person.

The severely damaged Agave americana is already pushing out new growth — I could not stand looking at the crispy leaves from the "edema" destruction and cut them off. Knowing this one is not guaranteed winter-hardy here I almost just pulled it out, but then decided to let it do battle. If it makes it all the better.

I did pull out the mutilated A. gentryi ‘Jaws’ though. It was just too ugly and I needed a spot to plant the Agave parryi I picked up last month at the Ruth Bancroft Garden.

Also new to this area are a pair of Agave toumeyana var. bella gifted to me by Gerhard. May they grow up to be big and strong.

Existing plants include several self-sown Euphorbia rigida...

Sedum ternatum 'Larinem Park' (something is munching on its leaves!)...

And Eryngium maritimum (along with a couple of Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow').

Insane chaos...

Controlled chaos. Oh and the reason for that big empty space on the left? Well first of all it's not so big "in real life", secondly it leads to the hose bib...(practical matters).

Hopefully I'll master this Clematis business and next year there will be an explosion of purple blooms rising above the Euonymus...

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, September 26, 2016

In a Vase on Monday...not those &@#% Zinnias again?

Ha, yes. It's those damn Zinnias again...but for the last time, I promise!

Because this is it, I cut them all and tore out the plants...it was time.

But that means two big vases of flowers to enjoy indoors, plus several were used in an arrangement Andrew took to a coworker.

What's the foliage? Cussonia paniculata — a plant I'd had in a container for years was on it's last legs. I tried to rehome it but with no takers I decided to use the foliage here.

Together they make a nice "transition to autumn" arrangement.

Last week's creation is still holding up...

And over on the dining table is the other bunch of Zinnia.

I love the variance in the flowers...

And who knew? I can take a panoramic without even using the panoramic feature (in other words...small house!). Shall we take a closer look at that cutie over by the door?

Yes of course we should.

I am so happy with how my stock tank "cutting garden" turned out this year, I'm already scheming on next years crop, any suggestions?

As always visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for links to the other bloggers sharing vases full of garden goodness...

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lotusland, the gardens around the house

We're back in Santa Barbara and my July visit to Lotusland. Today I'm sharing photos of the gardens around the house...

And to be au courant, I should say that what was once Madame Walska's house is now the garden offices.

I would love to see the inside of the house, if I lived in Santa Barbara I'd have figured out a way to get inside — maybe by volunteering — but since I don't we'll just have to enjoy the outside.

And the plants, of course, like these Dracaena draco...

And all the cactus that line the former driveway, like guards.

I couldn't help but notice the Aeoniums.

And how fabulously they've been featured.

A detail above one of the windows...

Across the parking area is this water feature.

The spigot is worth a close-up.

This guy! He seems to be following me. Once again his 6ft 2in frame provides scale.

I wish I could I wish I might (grow these...)

Can you even imagine?

Of course there were even taller specimens...

Behind the house is a small orchard. With (among other things) oranges...

And lemons...

Standing at the back of the house one can look out towards the huge Agaves I wrote about here.

Or down towards the Neptune fountain...

I wondered if this planter — which I loved during our 2009 visit — would still be here.

Thankfully it was, and looking just as good, if not better.

The Morrish pond...

And the long rill (and that guy again!!!)...

I just love this feature.

If we had a bigger garden...

Finally, to end this post, the zodiac clock. Which I have no memory of seeing in 2009, but of course must have since it dates from 1955.

If you haven't already read about how NASA has played with our lifelong understanding of the zodiac signs you might find this article entertaining (just suspend your inner editor a bit).

Whether old school astrology or new I'm still the crab, aka Cancer, and since we visited Lotusland on my birthday I was paying attention....

Just two more Lotusland posts to come! The Cactus Garden and the leftovers...

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.