Friday, December 11, 2009

I mock you winter!

Well ok, I personally don’t mock winter. I kind of cower at the idea of it. But I found a Portland Garden that is mocking winter and its freezing temperatures; remember the Arizona-esque garden I took you to (twice) last summer?
I did a drive by the other morning to see how they were protected their plants from the cold cold temps we’ve been enduring. They aren’t.
Not a sign of plant protection.
And not a sign that any of the plants care.
They all look fabulous.
Well except for this little crumpled Verbascum, but since it’s hardy to something like 0 F it should be fine.

And the Prickly Pear and a little deflated, but they too should recover.
Last summer a neighbor told me about this garden and said he watched it sail through the cold and snow of last winter without loosing a single pant.

Who ever you are…you people who live in this fabulous brick house with this kick-ass garden, you are my heroes. And someday I’m going to work up the courage to knock on your door and beg you to share your knowledge with me. I’ll bring a bottle of wine; do you like red or white?

I also drove by Kennedy School to see how they were protecting their newly planted (just last summer) desert-look garden. Same story, tough love.
Zero protection…
I’m pretty certain this Spiral Aloe is not happy at 13 degrees…
And this Squid Agave (or is an Octopus Agave…I’m not sure I know how to tell the difference), I’ll be checking back to see how it looks when we warm up.
Aloe Striatula…
I planted a couple of these last spring. Mine are currently under burlap and bubble wrap. According to my tag (from Cistus) the top is hearty to 18, and it has come back from the roots, if mulched well, to 0F. Dave’s Garden says hardy to 20. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. If it does survive this, I’m buying more!

Agave 'Blue Glow’ hardy to 25-30F according to San Marcos Growers. Not looking so good for this guy. Since we’ve been below that 3 nights in a row and barely reached that in the daytime.
Agave parryi (lil guys) should be fine.
Agave victoria regina, not sure what one exactly but looks a lot like my Agave victoriae-reginae 'Porcupine' which should be hardy in a zone 7 (0-10F)
I think this one is Agave gentryi 'Jaws' – San Marcos says 0-10F so…should be ok. Like a wimp I covered mine with burlap and leaves. Hesperaloe and Prickly Pear…
Callistemon, I wish I knew what variety. I planted 2 of these, different varieties, last summer.
Manfreda 'Macho Mocha’ which should be okay to 10F but looks like it’s lost its color.
This is what it looked like in September…
Both of these gardens are in my neighborhood, so I’ll check back for damage and file a casualty report, if needed.


  1. Go knock of the door of the people with the kick-ass garden already! Don't be a wuss -- I've done it numerous times in multiple countries and always had a warm welcome (well, except once when only a non-gardening husband was home -- and he was nice, just confused and a little weirded out). Gardeners love to talk about their garden. So go do it already -- and blog about it. I want to hear their secrets too.

  2. I'm all for survival of the fittest in the garden without unnecessary covering and wrapping.

  3. Yes, go knock on their door tomorrow! They're bound to want to talk plants for a few minutes at least. At best you could end up with a fabulous gardening friendship---and passalongs!

    It's good to see what doesn't need covering. You guys have been colder than we have, but it's true that many desert plants don't need babying from freezing temps, just from cold, wet roots. I *finally* took a long survey of my garden after two hard freezes, and I have some unhappy aloes and two pouting Agave desmettianas; the latter two were covered even. It bugs me to cover plants though; I'm more of the tough-love type myself.

  4. Wow. That's incredible. Beautiful photos! But... 'mocking winter'?? :D What do you Oregonians know about a real winter? [Just kidding.]

  5. Wow, I can't believe nothing has been harmed by the cold and ice we have had. Perhaps I should plant some agaves. ;)

  6. Hi Loree~~ The way I do it is, get one of my gabby girlfriends to go with me. A few years ago said friend and I asked a lady if I could take cuttings from her ginormous Mutablis rose bushes. I handed her a five dollar bill. She refused the money and was most abliging and friendly. Same thing with hollyhock seeds I was desperate for. Please do keep us posted on the hardiness or not of these beauties. ... I love your first photo, the gardens with what looks like a vintage red vehicle behind. It evokes a bit of Christmas, don't you think?

  7. How lovely - I feel toasty warm just looking at the photos.

  8. Hi, Grace pointed me in your direction, and I am glad she did! My kind of gardens too.

    If you wouldn't mind, would you stop over at my blog and look at my agave that I have posted there? Grace said you might be able to help me identify it, and at the very least, you might enjoy looking at it.

    I think you should go knock on their door, but maybe take a friend with you. You never know about strangers, some are stranger than others.

  9. I'm braver looking at how other gardens have fared, but I haven't even been out there to see how my own stuff is doing. I'm hoping the dry stretch will help the agaves pull through even if some of them are pushing their boundaries of cold hardiness. It's good news that these gardens are doing just fine for the most part, it gives me hope. I cannot believe we put up with the cold for this long, and I haven't seen a single snow flake! Grrr

  10. Greensparrow, I think I am extra wussy about this one because I left them a calling card the first time I visited and they never responded. I don't want to be a stalker pest. But I do need to know what their methods are! (soil mix and plant names)

    Nell Jean, that way certainly has a simple appeal!

    Pam, I'm thinking that a couple of those agaves and aloes are going to show their damage as we warm up. It's getting warmer now but it's supposed to be record setting rainfall next week so they will really be tested!

    Kate, see the thing about us Oregonians is that most of us (it seems) have came from places where there really was winter. So being here we think we've escaped it, which makes it doubly irritating when it finds us.

    Di, wait til our warm up, I think we'll see some damage then. Thanks for visiting!

    Grace, I think I know just the person! Good eye about the vehicle it is an oldie! And you're right...a little holiday color thrown in for cheer!

    Stevie, hi there...toasty huh? So you have a good imagination?

    Janie, I did check out your blog, hope to spend more time there later. I believe you've got an Agave americana there. And a beautiful one!

    Megan, I really thought you would see your snow today (Sat) but so far....nothing! (yea)

  11. Where is the line you cross to become a stalker gardener? I once had an homeowner come out on her porch, standing hands on hips (while I was photographing her garden). She glared at me, not speaking, until I skulked away. And I was across the street. Not everyone is open to garden intrusion. Some may set the dogs on you.


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