Friday, July 3, 2020

My pond-side Agave ovatifolia, a retrospective

Last week I found myself looking—really looking—at the Agave ovatifolia next to our stock tank pond. My thoughts were along the lines of "how much longer am I going to be able to leave that agave in that container?" It's getting big, really big. Of course I have no idea how I would get it out of the container without smashing it to bits—something I don't plan to do.

Then—as though she read my mind—Pam Penick posted about switching placement of two of her 'ovatifolia'. Just like that—bam—huge spiky plants were moved. She hired help, even then I don't know that I could do it. I imagine a smashed pot and a broken agave.

Here's what it looked like when I planted it, in 2014 (post here). The thing was so small I stuck other agaves in there with it, so it didn't look pathetic!

These photos were taken right after we had the fence built (there had been a large, unruly, privet hedge). It's freaky how new and wide-open everything was!

Here's how things looked a year later, in 2015 (this post)...


Then in 2016 (post)

And here's a photo from 2017. In that post I actually wrote: "How much longer can I let the Agave ovatifolia live in that container? I can't imagine trying to free it."...

Here's a double-shot from 2018 (post)...

And from 2019 (post)...

And today...

What really caught my eye, and got me thinking about it's size, was the way one of the leaves has hit the tank and is growing up, at a 90-degree angle. It's hard to see in this photo, but it's under the large one growing out over the tank.

It's been my experience that pot-bound agaves stay smaller than those in the ground...so I am surprised it's gotten this large. Time will tell if it just keeps growing, starts to decline, or reaches some point where it's just content to hang out...

Weather Diary, June 3: Hi 72, Low 56/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Moss and adventure...

On a wet day in early June Andrew and I headed out, southeast of town, following the Clackamas River. As we drove I became enthralled with the trees covered in hanging lichen. The images I saw were a PNW version of Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) found in warmer climates.

I wanted to take home armfuls and drape it around my garden.

As I photographed the moss and lichen the sun came out.


This growth looked like a miniature staghorn fern.


Walking on I discovered this contraption. Wanna go for a ride?

Just a couple of slats for your bum and a place to rest your feet...

And off! Across the river you go...

Sadly the ride was labeled with private property, no trespassing signs and locked up... so I can't tell you about how much fun it was...

—   —   —

Weather Diary, July 1: Hi 66, Low 57/ Precip .05 

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wednesday Vignette; an opuntia of many colors

On any regular day this big mass of opuntia is pretty fabulous, however in bloom, well, it's an opuntia of many colors...

Any plant that has yellow and orange flowers at the same time is spectacular.

Then you throw in the fact they turn pink when they've closed and things get really wild.


 
I am rather jealous.

Weather Diary, June 30: Hi 72, Low 58/ Precip .01

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The generosity of friends...

Back in May, maybe late April, my friends Laura and Charlie Heldreth dropped off a metal light fixture shade. They've used a few of them in their garden and were curious what I'd do with one of my own. Oh the possibilities! All sorts of ideas were running through my head. Here it is after being cleaned up...

It's quite large, 2.5 ft wide at the top and just over a foot tall.

As I said, Laura and Charlie have several in their garden. Here's one used as a raised planter in their stock tank pond...

And a pair used as planters on wooden plinths. As you can see they've painted them a dark color.

I'll admit, all the possible uses I dreamt up were of the planter variety. I knew I had the perfect place somewhere in the garden. But then I was moving some things around and it occurred to me just how much I hated that orange parsons table under the shade pavilion. It dates back to 2014 when the Garden Bloggers Fling was in Portland. I needed a table to hold some refreshments and picked it up on the cheap at IKEA thinking it was good enough for that use. Six years later and I was still using it! Not because I liked it, but because I couldn't find anything better.

Maybe the light fixture shade could go here? I tried it and the size was right. I showed it to Andrew and we brainstormed about what color to paint it and what to use as a table top. I wasn't excited about painting it, but it seemed the easiest solution. That is until Andrew said, "well, it's probably aluminum, why don't we strip it?"... "we", meaning "he"...

And so he did. Nasty chemicals were used, we won't dwell on that part of the story.

Because eventually the shiny metal was revealed, and I was thrilled with the new table base.

Here the top is just cardboard, I made a pattern from which we planned to get an aluminum top cut.

My original idea was that the table's top—perhaps made of wood—would cover half of the opening, the other half would be open to soil in which I would plant. I still love that concept, but my ever practical husband convinced me it was an impractical idea. The issue being the weight of the soil, and the fact we have to move the table in the fall when we turn the shade pavilion into a greenhouse.

Our next idea was to get a top made and cut holes in it, holes that I could insert planters into. I spent a face-masked hour at the big box store looking for something uniform in size with a rim that would rest on the table top surface. These were the winners, galvanized "reducers" and terracotta pots—oh and of course I picked up that poor agave that was languishing in the houseplant section.

The terracotta idea won; silver base, silver top, silver planters...too much metal! I'd use the terracotta but paint it, to add another color to the scheme. At first I thought the planters would all go to one side.

But again, Mr. Practical pointed out the manner in which the edge of the base tapered in could potentially make that an issue. They moved to the center...

Andrew sketched out the design and sent it off to SRC for fabrication, these are the same folks who cut the pattern for our agavegate

Meanwhile I painted, and planted, the terracotta pots...

All done, and I hated it.

Why? It just didn't feel right. Too silver, too prissy. Too early 2000's—back when I was first starting my container collection and still used a lot of terracotta I "jazzed" them up with painted rims. I felt like I was regressing.

I went back to the drawing board and tried other options.

And came up with this...

Rusty steel pipe planted with Asplenium trichomanes, the two small terracotta pots (painted the same color as our house) stayed, but were planted with a couple cryptanthus. A rusty round adds more color...

If you page back up to the earlier reveal, or the original parsons table, you'll see a galvanized cylinder that had been taking up space in front of the table since the 2014 version. It had to go, it was blocking too much of the new table. But then things just looked empty...

So a rusty plough disc was pulled into the vignette and the bromeliads that had been in the terracotta pots found a home...


I also pulled a couple of other pipes into service as planters, because I do appreciate a certain consistency of materials.


The old galvanized cylinder moved off to the side of the shade pavilion where it holds another bromeliad or two...

I'll admit, there's a part of me that wishes I'd have used this gift as a planter in the garden. But there's another—larger—part of me that's thrilled to be rid of the table I'd made due with for years and to have this new, fabulous, table...


It's the perfect height for a beverage, or your feet—that is if you're sitting in one of those chairs and want to put them up.

Thank you Laura and Charlie!

Weather Diary, June 29: Hi 73, Low 52/ Precip 0 

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.