Thursday, January 19, 2017

My brothers garden...

I first visited Phoenix on a business trip in, oh...1994-ish, and then again the following year. I fell deeply in love with the desert. In 2000 my brother, Darin, had the nerve to up and move there — several visits followed and I fell deeper in love. While not a gardener per se, my brother has an above average interest in plants, and the landscape in general, especially around his home. His garden became my desert garden and I still have many Agave pups that he gifted me over the years.

Well, that was then. He and his family moved in 2015 and it was killing me that over a year went by and I still hadn't seen their new home and garden. Finally this last October I had a chance to visit. It took me by surprise just how much space they had. A huge home and spacious lot for not much more than our small home and tiny lot in Portland. Yes, this has sent my mind to thinking about a move...unfortunately Andrew doesn't feel the same.

The Pygmy Date Palms (Phoenix roebelenii), are not reliably hardy in Phoenix but since they're up against the house and under a significant overhang they're fine.

And quite lovely..

Tecoma capensis, I believe? They have several.

And the first of many Mesquite trees.

This little guy is another Mesquite they planted.

I asked why not a Palo Verde and was told they make too much of a mess. Whatever... (eye roll...).

Oh my, those are beauties!

But before we look at the mature specimens how about those small Agaves? They're all transplants from his previous garden.

This picture made me laugh. I was focusing on the plants but got myself with the camera to my face, and my brother, probably touching the bill of his baseball cap — in between us the Saguaro shadow. On the far left is my nephew.

This bad boy is the Saguaro, also a transplant from his previous garden. Not an easy thing to do, but he'd planted it as a tiny baby and now it's over 5-ft tall.

The monster Ocotillo and purple Opuntia were already there, when they moved in.

What a beauty!

An old flower...

And fresh foliage.

Oh and a few small pieces came home with me. I'm still trying to root them.

Another old Mesquite.

Their front yard was completely open to the street, when they moved in. Darin, and my sister-in-law Nellie, had the low stucco wall added for delineation. I'm standing in the street to take this photo.

He's planted several Hesperaloe between the wall and the street.

Now we've moved into to their backyard. Lawn! Yes even in Phoenix. That's another huge mature Mesquite. In the corner is a lemon tree, we'll see it again in just a bit.

Closer to the house is their shade pavilion (look familiar?) Darin built it last summer, and yes, he's a BBQ'er.

I don't remember the name of this handsome flowering shrub...

But the flowers look very much like a Solanum, don't you think?

This beautiful tree is an orange, inherited as an overgrown mess, Darin has done quite a bit of pruning to bring it back to a proper tree form.

Love those spikes!

And especially the fruit. He had a delicious grapefruit in the garden of his previous home, I'll miss its amazing fruit! I hope to visit when these are ripe...

Bougainvillea! It wouldn't be the desert without Bougainvillea.

Thankfully there's an Aloe too, also inherited.

The lemon tree, in the process of being pruned into shape...I think it's looking quite nice.

And as I see all over Phoenix there were also several palm seedlings. It boggles my mind.

Looking back towards the house, and the shade pavilion...

And this! Purple Fountain Grass, Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' — it's not an annual in Phoenix.

What a visit! It was only 4 days but it was a wonderful experience. In addition to the Desert Botanical Garden and Arcosanti I also managed to visit a few nurseries, one of them with my brother and family, the Cactus Farm, where we bought a few new plants for their garden. I'll share images from that visit tomorrow. In the meantime here's a fabulous old wheelbarrow my sister in law bought at a yard sale while I was there. I must admit I was jealous and wanted to take it home with me.

My nephew however, he had other ideas...

Weather Diary, January 18: Hi 46, Low 32/ Precip .75(?)

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Vignette — No More Cutting!

This makes me sad. This very planting is where many of my Opuntia have originated, as well as many that I've given to friends. Our deal has always been that if it fell to the ground (via a careless passer-by or cold weather) I was welcome to pick it up. That's all I've ever done. Seems someone else may have been doing more.

Ugh. That's just rude.

(photos taken before snowpocalypse)

Weather Diary, January 17: Hi 44, Low 24/ Precip 1." (+) a combo of rain and ice

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, January 17, 2017

Adding insult to injury

Last Friday, still unable to drive anywhere, I set off on foot for our local market. In front of our house I passed a neighbor and her small child, returning from snow-play in the park. The child was giddy and running through another neighbor's front yard, odd I thought, that her mom was okay with that. But since the yard in question was only lawn under that snow I wasn't too worried. When she started to run through mine however I couldn't help but yell "No! Don't let her do that" (really? you're letting her do that?). Of course I was able to feign concern for the child's welfare "you know there are lots of spiky plants under that snow that will hurt her" (I know you KNOW that because you walk by here all the time!)...Seriously? I couldn't believe it. Snow cover means you don't have to stay on the sidewalk? Trampling plants in someone's front garden is okay? Finally the mom grabbed the child and walked on, sticking to the path I'd shoveled ON THE SIDEWALK...where you are supposed to walk.

I walked on, a little befuddled by the whole experience, deciding to detour through the McMenamins Kennedy School grounds and see how their plants look. Huh. Clearly the snow plow driver is not a gardener.

Seriously? You couldn't put the snow someplace else?

There are plants under that pile of snow. The entire pile of snow is on top of plants. Cool plants.

That Nolina must be feeling pretty lucky...

I've always thought the metal was an attempt at garden-art. Maybe it's been a warning all along. Like those tall metal poles that mark the side of the freeway for the snowplows.

At least the snow pile missed this section, the Agave-rich section.

Has Agave blood been shed? No. That's just red paint on the curb.

Poor spikes.

And pads...

Hey you look okay (for now)...

Hello down there...

Another Nolina wearing it's snow cape.

This used to be a huge Echium. Not anymore.

The undersides of the Rhododendron leaves coordinate nicely with the building, don't you think?

Their big evergreen Magnolias have suffered many broken branches this winter.

The white undersides of the Mahonia gracilipes look good against the snow.


I think the Eucalyptus has always had sort of a wonky angle to it.

Sad Yucca recurvifolia ‘Margaritaville' — mine looks even worse, and since mine is in a container...well, who knows if it's going to pull through.

The Loquat looks happy, that's good.

Pseudopanax laetus, this will be interesting. Monrovia has been selling this as a Zone 7 plant. I've thought otherwise and kept mine in a container, protected.

So snowy...still. (this was day 3, or 4 depending on how you count)

Money Puzzle does snow well.

I wonder if our Tetrapanax will die back? It's happened to me before during cold winters.

Schefflera taiwaniana

Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca'

It also wears the snow well.

Their Magnolia laevifolia has a Rhododendron friend to lean on, lucky thing. Okay...on the the market! (need to stock up on the wine...)

Weather Diary, January 16: Hi 29, Low 21/ Precip 0

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