Friday, September 24, 2021

Private Gardens of the Pacific Northwest, a book...


May of 2020 (in the midst of COVID lockdown), I received an email about scheduling a photo shoot in my garden, for a book. I had just finally cleared my calendar of all scheduled visits for the summer, and inviting strangers into my private space wasn't something I was particularly keen on doing. Plus I was hard at work with edits on my own book, which was not exclusively about my garden but certainly included lots of photos and details. Not a pair easily dismissed however, author Brian Coleman and photographer William Wright convinced me to invite them to visit and thus my garden is one of 20 included in the recently released Private Gardens of the Pacific Northwest.

Of those 20 gardens there are 4 here in Oregon, the other 16 are in Washington. I feel quite honored to be one of just 4 gardens chosen to represent my state! Two of the other Oregon gardens will be familiar to readers of my blog and book; one is John Kuzma and Kathleen Halme's Hummingbird Garden, the other Craig Quirk and Larry Neill's Floramagoria (where the cover shot, above, was taken). I've not yet visited the 4th garden, that of Gail Barnard and her husband Jon—judging by the photos in the book however I need to get myself over there soon!

Paging through the Washington gardens featured in the book there are a few I've visited (the Brindley's, Denise Lane, Lorene Edwards Forkner) and other's I know the owners of (thanks to social media) but haven't yet had the chance to visit. 

Here's the introduction from the publisher...
An exclusive retreat into the verdant, lush residential gardens of the Pacific Northwest. Private Gardens of the Pacific Northwest is a stunning exploration of 20 lush private gardens. These sprawling estates, small sanctuaries, and artful retreats capture the natural beauty of the verdant Pacific Northwest, each one splashed with hints of boldness, modernity, artistry, and exquisiteness. Capturing the personality of those who cultivate them, these gardens have their stories told through the words of renowned author Brian Coleman, who takes readers through the flourishing natural beauty that the northwestern coast has to offer.

And a photospread that will, no doubt, look familiar to many of you...

I'm thrilled with the coverage my small garden received (12 pages!), and if you're curious about the private gardens of Western Oregon and Washington I think you'll enjoy the book. Much thanks to Brian and William for including me in this photo-rich exploration of our area's diverse gardens!

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All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Ten years later, we meet up at another McMenamins

Blogging has produced many rewards over the years, chief among them the people I've met and friendships I've made. Ten years ago I met Peter (the Outlaw) when he and his then partner Tom paid a visit to my garden, it was Peter's birthday (a big round number) and they made a trip down to Portland. After a leisurely stroll and lots of chatting we then ventured over to McMenamins Kennedy School for lunch. I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday, and frankly I have a hard time accepting that it was ten years ago. But it was...

During our recent trip up the Tacoma/Seattle area we again met up with Peter to celebrate a big round number birthday of his, this time at McMenamins Elks Temple in downtown Tacoma. I regret that I didn't ask Andrew to take a photo of Peter and I, but c'est la vie. Instead I give you photos of the building and it's plantings...

Complete with a strange hungover kitty...

Andrew and I were the first to arrive. While he grabbed a table, I snapped a few photos, like this one of an underused lot next door which has been taken over as gardening space for McMenamins.

Veggies and a gravel walkway, which I suspect is under development.

The Elks Temple sits above Commencement Bay, home to Tacoma's working port.

I suspect this little parking lot (marked as not available for public parking) is for some staff, service vehicles and probably for the performers at the Elk's Temple—there was a band performing the night we were there. What really interested me in this photo were the steps up to the garden area I shared above. They seem to indicate this area will be even better utilized in the future.

I knew Peter would be arriving soon so I made my way back around to the front of the building to greet him, and of course to photograph the agaves...

Agave desmetiana 'Variegata' which is not hardy in my Portland garden but will probably be okay here in the city and near Puget Sound.

Then I hit pause on the photo taking while we ate and drank and caught up—but now we're back outside and checking out the backside of the building. The elk has some fancy new horns...



Sidewalk-side plantings below the elk...


The Spanish steps. As I understand it the steps are not technically part of the Elks Temple, however there is outside dining all along where ever a table can be squeezed in.

There are also more plants, and more agaves!

Agave bracteosa...


It was too dark to take photos of the plantings to the left of the steps, but I tried. 

In true McMenamins fashion there were plants in pots and hung on the railings. 
This is probably also a good spot for a "A Little History"... stolen directly from their website: "The Elks Temple was built in the second Renaissance Revival style in 1915-16 when fraternal organizations were an important part of the community and had the money to build beautiful buildings such as this one. It was designed by É. Frère Champney, a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places."

And..."The Spanish Steps: Climbing the hillside adjacent to the building is a stairway called the Spanish Steps. Modeled after the Scalinata di Spagna in Rome, Tacoma’s Spanish Steps were constructed in 1916 to connect a streetcar line on Broadway with City Hall on Commerce Street. The staircase fell into disrepair in the 1950s and continued to degrade until it was rehabilitated by the City of Tacoma in 2011."

A huge monkey puzzle tree—Araucaria araucana. Many in the Pacific Northwest can be traced back to the Chilean exhibition at Portland, Oregon's 1905 World's Fair, where they were given away as seedlings and planted throughout the area. 



Looking to where we'd just been, down towards the bay,,,

And now back at the front door our evening draws to a close...

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, September 20, 2021

My plant haul from a long weekend up north...

It's time to start posting about my recent trip up to the Tacoma/Seattle area, and what better way to start than with plant shopping and what I brought home?! I drove up the afternoon of Thursday, September 9th. Andrew and I had dinner plans with Peter, the Outlaw Gardener but I arrived early enough to visit a couple of area nurseries, Watson's and Windmill. No photos and only one plant purchase to show for that. However, the next morning I paid a visit to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (RSBG) where they were all set-up for a members event that weekend. Lucky me, that meant LOTS of plants out for sale...


... including Sinopanax formosanus, for $175 (!!!). I DID NOT pay that much for my plant.

Dryopteris sieboldii, referred to on the tag as a "palm fern", I'm going to try to remember that, I like it.

Saxifraga cuneifolia, I do love saxifrage but this one didn't seem different enough from what I have to rationalize the purchase.

This beautify on the other hand, it's a new to me pyrrosia and rest assured we'll be revisiting it again...

Petrocosmea cryptica, I so wanted to bring this home.

They were $49, it stayed behind.

As a consolation I almost let myself buy this Briggsia speciosa (I think it was $32) but then I realized that was crazy. It wasn't nearly as cool as the Petrocosmea cryptica and my $ would be better spent on something that wasn't a runner-up.

They did have a Strobilanthes gossypinus ($26) but since I have one already and I didn't realize my friend Ann wanted one, it stayed behind.

There were a few rhododendrons I was enamored with, but I didn't buy any. This one is Rhododendron falconeri ssp. eximium...

This one was hard to leave behind, because I've admired those small leaves a lot over the years, Rhododendron williamsianum.

And this one! I wanted it simply because it was so un-rhododendron like. Meet, R. spinuliferum. I didn't buy it. It can get quite large. I probably should have bought it. 

One more photo of the possibilities, these are Curculigo sp (the long pleated leaves). I bought one years ago at Far Reaches Farm and it did quite well for years. I didn't miss is however until I saw these plants so that probably meant I didn't need it.

Here's what did eventually come home with me—after a 5 day adventure that took me to several private gardens, a handful of nurseries, the RSBG, Hersonswood and the Miller Garden.... 

First, I hear you! A palm? Was that in the plan? No. I didn't know I needed another palm, but when Maggie (a Facebook friend whose garden I got to visit) offered me one of these Trachycarpus Fortunei var Nainital—that she grew from seed!—well of course I said yes. I'd already swooned over a few she'd planted out in her garden (there will be photos) when she made the offer. I thought I was getting a small, start, maybe a foot high at the most. Then she brought out this!

According to online talk 'Nainital' differs from my other trachycarpus in that it has "much thicker trunks and extremely stiff fronds that feel like heavy cardboard kind of like a waggie.  They also have a whorled petiole, so they have an asymmetrical appearance"... 

Maggie was also the gifter of this Sinningia tubiflora (aka Hardy White Gloxinia). A drought-tolerant perennial with very fragrant white tubular flowers. It's the kind of thing I'd never go hunting for but I'm excited to see what it does in my garden. Also seed-grown by her, I got to see it blooming in her garden.

But wait, there's more! She also gave me a seed-grown (yes, by her) Agave montanta...

And another (yes, seed grown by her... can you tell I am impressed?) Agave, this A. ovatifolia 'Giant Form'. Online sources say: "a huge strain of Agave ovatifolia hybrids that grow near Mexico's famed Huasteca Canyon. We're now convinced that these are crosses of Agave ovatifolia and Agave gentryi, with possibly some Agave montana blood. Some clones are solitary, while others offset occasionally, but all have green foliage when young, that ages to blue-green" and "This rare form from a high altitude canyon in northeastern Mexico is distinctly larger than the regular Agave ovatifolia and has much more attractive, larger black spines. It also is even hardier to cold"...I am going to have to find a great spot for this one!

Another Facebook friend, Cotts, picked up this charming bromeliad for me at Christianson's Nursery. Don't you love it when friends know you well enough to buy you plants?

This was the one plant I picked up on my first afternoon's nursery stops, it's a Doryopteris cordata, or antenna fern. I'd never seen it before, but now that I look it up online I see Little Prince of Oregon and many other nurseries have it. It's a crazy little thing... 

The lower, lobbed fronds...

And the taller, fertile fronds. I'll be growing this one as a houseplant as it's only Zone 10 hardy.

So that hot pyrrosia a saw at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden? I bought two.

The tag reads: Pyrrosia sp. SEH#12547. SEH is Steve Hootman, the Executive Director and Curator at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden. I have not met him but hope to someday, I've heard many fabulous things about him.

I picked up this oddity at Heronswood. It's Lepisorus bicolor/hardy ribbon fern. I've seen it here in Oregon at Secret Garden Growers and been tempted, but there is always so much more to chose from there. At Heronswood the offerings were slim and so this stood out as a must have.

The new fronds curl ever so fetchingly.

Just two more plants! From the Miller Garden in Seattle, these are both Mahonia x sevillana; a rare hybrid between M. eurybracteata and M. gracilipes. As you can see (if you grow these mahonia) the one on the left favors eurybracteata and the one on the right favors gracilipes.

I'm excited to plant them both and see what they become!

Oh wait, look at that... another image of those fabulous pyrrosia leaves, how did that get in here?!... ;)

Here's one more of the whole haul—which checks all the boxes: agaves, ferns, bromeliad, mahonia, a palm, it was a good trip! So many photos to come of all the places I visited!

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.