Wednesday, March 21, 2018


A couple of months back my friend Heather shared an old real estate listing for her home that appeared in our local paper. She gave me the low-down on how to look up our address and I found these, from the late 1940's and early 1950's (our home was built in 1948).

There are so many things to comment on, especially considering the ad is only 5 and a half lines long. First of all, large? There is nothing about our home that could be considered large, even in real estate romance speak. But what really stood out to me was the bit in all caps: BEAUTIFULLY LANDSCAPED GROUNDS. What?

Okay first of all "grounds" denotes acreage, right? We're on a pretty average Portland lot, 45' wide by 111' deep. Secondly I want to know what the yard looked like back then. When we bought it in 2005 there was nothing but weedy lawn and foundation plantings. Was it really exceptional back in the day?

This next listing also SCREAMS about the yard, it's MOST BEAUTIFUL...and good lord $10,500 — we paid, a little more than that (add a zero and then double plus some)...and it's now worth roughly double what we paid. Crazy.

Funny though, I doubt I could find a modern day real estate agent who thought the current garden was anything worth screaming about. They'd probably see it as a liability.

Weather Diary, March 20: Hi 62, Low 33/ Precip 0

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden (dg). Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Making the tough choices...Version 2.0

Last March I shared a tough choice I was about to make, to do away with a Magnolia laevifolia that was healthy, but just planted in the wrong place. It was a hard one carry out, but I did it and honestly never regretted it. New year, same choice...

My awesome (a word I rarely use, but seemed appropriate) Grevillea australis has had a tough go of it the last couple of years. Wet, heavy snow and equally heavy ice, have piled up and caused it to flop onto the containers at its side. Once the snow and ice melts it somewhat rights itself, but always with a slightly worse tilt. That's it, in the center, below. This is the most flattering angle to see it from.

Moving in closer you can see it definitely has a lean to it (which I notice is mirrored in the bare branches of the oak above it, hmmm....).

The poor suffering Nolina 'La Siberica' I planted too close would love a little more sun.

It's grown thick stems during its 4 years in the ground. I wish they were just stronger. I have repeatedly staked it up with rebar, and trimmed several branches off the plant in an attempt to lighten it's lopsided load.

Poor deformed thing.
I should back up and name the strangely hacked tall trunk to the left, in case you'd noticed it. That's my Paulownia tomentosa, an incredibly fast growing tree that I'm using to block an unwanted view, until the Loquat planted behind it can take over, which it's almost ready to do. The Paulownia is pollarded each year to keep it in check. Eventually it will be cut to the ground and a single trunk with huge leaves will shoot upward each summer.

Back to the Grevillea. Its "lean" means that I have about 5" to maneuver between the Agave ovatifolia spikes and the Grevillea's somewhat poky foliage. And this is a working pathway that I use to get to other areas of the garden, and the stock tank pond.

So what do I have hiding behind the Grevillea which will suddenly be exposed should I (oh the horror!) remove it? Well this Pittosporum illicioides.

And a currently dormant cut back) Melianthus villosus under-planted with Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop' — to the right of that, a variegated Ginkgo.

Then there's the Quercus dentata 'Pinnatifida’, but it's lower section is clear of branches.
And a lovely Podocarpus matudae.

And even further back a Lardizabala biternata.

Which has yet to bloom, but when it does!

So what would I put in its place, should I remove the flopping Gevillea? Well of course there are any number of sexy plants that will thrive in that full sun exposure. I'm also thinking of this hunk-a-metal trellis (Passion Flower!) the Mardi Gras Gardener gave me last summer.

And honestly I will simply appreciate being able to walk through here again, easily.

Of course in an ideal world I would be able to cut the Grevillea back to rejuvenate it, and keep it. But I don't think that's gonna work.

What are your thoughts?

Weather Diary, March 19: Hi 58, Low 35/ Precip 0

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

Paris Wanderings Day Six / aka my "Winter Walk-Off"

This is my 8th annual post for the "Winter Walk-Off" hosted by Les at A Tidewater Gardener. My first post was back in 2012, Les started in 2011.

His rules are simple, although I fear I may be taking liberties with them: "On your own two feet, leave the house, and share what can be seen within walking (or biking) distance of your home (if you want to drive to your walk destination that's OK too). Your post does not have to be about gardening or a travelogue (though I do like both), unless you want it to be. Maybe instead you will find some unusual patterns, interesting shadows, signs of spring, a favorite restaurant or shop, questionable landscaping, or local eyesores. Whatever, just keep your eyes and mind open, be creative, and have fun, but don't show anything from your own garden." He says walking, biking and driving to your destination are okay. I wonder how he feels about taking a taxi, two airplanes, another taxi and then the Metro? Well I guess he'll let me know if he disapproves. In the mean time I give you the wanderings of my sixth day in Paris, on January 22nd.

This is the ornamental wall as you climb up, up, up, up and UP out of the Metro station in Montmartre, nearest Sacré-Cœur.
And after that, there is even more climbing.

With interesting things to look at. This woven bit of artwork was solid, I have no idea what it was made of.

A wall painting...
Loquat! (aka Eriobotrya japonica)

And even a small pond (all of these are just to the right, or left, of the long staircase shown in the second image)...

There's our first destination of the day! Sacré-Cœur, no doubt it would have been much more remarkable had the rain not been falling hard. A blue sky would really accentuate all that stone.
And the view would have been even more expansive, without the clouds. C'est la vie!

Although I still found interesting things to observe...
We walked on, without going inside. My friend Julie had been in before, and I toured plenty of churches in Italy. I've no need to stand in line to see another. Besides, I found the surrounding buildings so much more interesting.

And when the rain came pouring down, again, we stopped for a glass of vin. My friend Julie...
And me (she was out on the sidewalk edge, I was sitting under the heat-lamps!)...

And then we soldiered on. This watertower and it's surrounding green-space pays tribute to  the urban architect and musician Claude Charpentier.

We both were happy to just walk the streets and stare at the buildings.

Yes there was a ceramic shop here, with lots of wonderful things that I had no way to get home.
I peered into every planted area that I saw.


Or large...
That's some crazy tree pruning.

And some crazy security fencing.

One of my favorite images of this walk.
Old meet new. New apologize to old.

And then we ended up here. And the surroundings got a little dicey. We were looking for a place for lunch and went down a few questionable side streets. Still we felt safe, after all it was daytime and there were two of us. It's also worth noting that all of Paris felt very safe. I would not have hesitated to wander the city alone (but thankfully didn't need to).

The last photo from Montmarte before we hopped back on the subway and headed towards home base (the Latin quarter)...
Stopping just short of "home" to do a little more exploring.

At the Terrain d'Aventures: "A unique and educational place, open 7 days a week, in the heart of Paris. The team of the sculptor Henri Marquet imagined a universe "halfway between the Wizard of Oz and Mario Bros", with innovative games. Here, freedom to play! The Adventure Park is open only to children, supervised by animators. It is organized as a course with micro-landscapes with varied reliefs. It leaves a large place to the greenery. Specially designed for the pleasure and fulfillment of children aged 7 to 11 , it promotes the development of their imagination and their physical abilities as well as their socialization." (source) Of course it wasn't actually open when we were there...unfortunately.
An under-development part of Terrain d'Aventures...
Plant bondage!
We then decided to walk over to the Louvre. While I had no need to go inside (a rabbit hole I simply did not have time for), I did want to see the famous I.M. Pei glass pyramid. In route we passed the Duluc Detective "The sign and doorway may look like part of a movie set, but they belong to one of the last — and oldest — private detective agencies in France."
The backside of the Louvre.

And the courtyard.
And then we passed through an opening and were here...

Another wonderful day walking the streets of Paris (in the winter) had come to a close...

Weather Diary, March 18: Hi 54, Low 41/ Precip: trace

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