Friday, February 23, 2018

This finally! And then that, and all on the same block...

If this home and garden look familiar it's because last September I shared photos taken my friend Louis. He'd gotten just a little lost in North Portland, but managed to hone in on a great garden.

My calls for help in identifying the garden mostly just led to more questions, that is until Julie was finally able to pinpoint the location. Five months later and I finally found myself driving by with a few minutes to stop, it was just as wonderful as I thought it would be.

I don't think this Agave montana could be more beautiful. It's just gorgeous.

The plantings up near the house don't disappoint either.

And the hellstrip looks freshly tended, with dark mulch accentuating the Crepe Myrtles and my favorite carefree Yucca (Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard') making a nice yellow color-splash.

I wish my garden looked this tidy mid-February.

And I wish I knew the secret behind having such an impressive Opuntia clump.

Not to mention a flawless Agave parryi.


I guess that goes for the Opuntia too.

And this little Graptoveria (which I doubt is still happy with the weather we've been having: snow!)...

I wish I could remember the name of this one, although it never did perform for me so I suppose it's no surprise I've forgotten what it's called. This is the most amazing clump I've ever seen.

And that Trachycarpus isn't bad either.

Yucca schottii (?)

Cistus? (not a clue, just liked the dark stems)

Oh and that pruned Juniper is a delight. Love it!

Another glance as I walk back towards the car...

And notice the extra spiky Opuntia...with seeds!

I wonder if this is a naturally disintegrating fruit or if the gardener has assisted? I've assisted my plants but without any success thus far.

Sorry I couldn't resist, one more sexy Agave photo!

But wait!? What's that? Down the street I spotted something that seemed familiar...

Yes! It's Anna's lanterns in her ginormous Magnolia! I'd recognize them anywhere...

But all that time I was stalking the garden above a friend lived just down the street? And I didn't even know it? She didn't even know it? Crazy.

I was happy to see her fabulous corrugated metal planters out in, and near, the hellstrip.

Lucky me as I could study them for inspiration...

And double lucky me I've been invited to Anna's garden for a tour and maybe, just maybe, I'll get to meet the man behind the garden down the street...stay tuned!

Weather Diary, Feb 22: Hi 40, Low 28/ Precip .09" (snow)

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Visiting the Streissguth Gardens, a trip back in time

On January 12th I read a post on Tangly Cottage Gardening Journal that sent me down memory lane. The subject was the Streissguth Gardens on Capitol Hill, in Seattle. I lived on Capitol Hill from the summer of 1989 until the spring of 1998. My time there was split between two different apartments. I desperately wanted to own a home, with land...a garden! But I was barely able to afford rent on an apartment. I made due gardening in window boxes and on window ledges, it wasn't so bad. And I walked a lot, discovering hidden gardens that I could almost make believe were mine. This bit of land was one of them, but I never would have found it again if not for reading that post on Tangly Cottage.

The era when I used to walk through would have been around the same time the land, formerly a private garden, was donated to the city — in 1996, signed over to Seattle Parks and Recreation, in conjunction with the Parks Dept purchasing three lots south of the garden to save them from development. That purchase had been funded by a 1989 King County Open Space Bond Measure. The garden continues to be family maintained and run, while welcoming in you, and I, and preserving open space that could have just as easily (more easily?) been sold and turned into towering condos. I thank you Dan, Ann and Ben Streissguth.

My visit took place early on Saturday morning, February 10th. Andrew was shopping at the Amazon store at U-Village and I was here. Suddenly 20 years younger, the views, the smells, those years had melted away in an instant.

The younger me wouldn't have known this was Cycleman, but I probably would have thought it was pretty.

This seems like the way to head...

It was chilly that morning (below freezing when we left the hotel), but spring was clearly in the air.

Only now do I realize the stupidity of photographing a bench but not actually pausing to sit on it.

The pathway was urging me on!

Wow, these beauties! Trillium, about to bust open.

And those sweet yellow flowers...Adonis ramosa? Eranthis hyemalis (the Winter Aconite, thanks Ted!)

Pausing to look up at the blue sky I was rewarded with Camellia blossoms.

And Magnolia buds.

And a million dollar (+) view of Lake Union...

And the Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Back to the garden, Garrya tassels.


An Edgeworthia, not quite ready to bust open in fragrant bloom.

There were many beautiful Hellebore blooms.

Stachyurus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox, aka wintersweet

It's an odd gift to be able to return to a place you hadn't been in years, yet feel it so profoundly as a part of you that it's like you've never left.

I've honestly never thought of this place since leaving Seattle, but being here, I intensely remember walking through it. Wanting and yearning for soil of my own in which to garden. Now I have it, have had it for years, and I do not take it for granted. I am lucky.

Petasites japonicus var. giganteus

This was just one of many vignettes that had me wishing I could return in a month or three, when spring growth has really taken off.

I'm not generally a fan of the conifers, but this one was lit from within.

Saxifraga x urbium 'Aurea Punctata'


I also loved this ivy.

I'm ivy ignorant, anyone able to ID?


Rhododendron some somebody (love the shuttlecock shape).

I'm a sucker for a well done gabion wall.

This one was built to keep back a potentially troublesome (wet) bit of land.

It was clearly up for the job.

And in the drainage seep was this happy Gunnera about to push out some monster leaves.

Hmmm, ya...

One of those pretty spring bloomers, being all pretty...

But foliage! That's a year round bit of loveliness.

Electric Azalea...

Not electric, but still pretty.

I want to call this Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire', but what am basing that on? Absolutely nothing but the color. So who knows?

Those orange seeds! I love them, and I'm sure everyone but me knows what they are...

The veggie garden, way down at the bottom of the steep cliff-side I've been zigzagging my way down.

I read something about a pond and raccoons, this must be it.


And it's time to start climbing back up, up, up to my car. And 2018.

And head back to my Portland garden, with these memories fresh in my mind.

I've got the book In Love with a Hillside Garden (2009) on hold in our local library system, so I'll be returning to the Streissguth Gardens again soon.

Weather Diary, Feb 21: Hi 37, Low 23/ Precip .3" snow

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.