Friday, March 19, 2010

spiky plants out – spiky art in

If you’re a frequent danger garden reader you’ve no doubt read many a post where I refer to McMenamin’s Kennedy School. It’s our neighborhood restaurant, theater and lodging location in a building that used to be an elementary school. They also have a pretty kick-ass garden. I regularly check out what’s new, what’s growing and what’s gone. Their gardener is amazing.

Several times last year I posted about their newest planting area and it’s amazing agaves, aloe and yucca, the last time I was checking up on how things were doing after our week long deep freeze in December. Several plants were gone and others weren’t looking so good. I finally checked back a couple of weeks ago and was surprised to see more spiky plants had disappeared, and spiky art has taken their place. There’s a pair of this rusty version, you can see the second one on the upper right.
One has primarily flat ends…
And the other has some pointy and some with holes.
This version is very colorful…
For the plants…there used to be a Manfreda ‘Macho Mocha’ right here...looks like it didn't make it.
And this Agave victoriae-reginae looks to be on its way out.
But this Agave parryi (?) looks like it’s going to be just fine.
So what do you think…is spiky art a good substitute for spiky plants?


  1. I think it's a nice compliment, especially the rust colour and the way it contrasts with the blue/green of the agaves, those trees (are they Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress?) and some grasses and Euphorbias I see there.

    Not sure I'm sold on the pink and purple ones though!

  2. Safer, I agree with Andrew nice compliment. I would say if there is a cold spell outside that does not allow spiky plants to grow...great winter time sculpture...otherwise, I am in for the live plant.

  3. Love the spiky art...but as a supplement, surely not a replacement. I can see how one might be lured by the indestructible, though, after our last two winters.

  4. Well, I think they should go for more hardy ones like the Parryi and maybe leave the tenderer ones for the likes of you, who will take better care. Not wild about these sculptures, maybe I'd have to see them in person. I'm not averse to garden art, just not sure about these particular ones... hope they keep the good garden going there, it has been fun to see it in person on our one visit and the updates you have shown!

  5. i like the concept alot - perhaps the spikes could perform some other function as well? like defining spaces in the garden or part of a letter box or a boundary fence?

    yeah for you

  6. I do like the majenta sculpture...

  7. I saw an agave yesterday that someone had impaled wine bottle corks onto the end of each blade, must have been a liability concern. As to your previous post, I will be on the look out for Gardens Illustrated. I have an English customer who gives me her back issues of The Garden from the Royal Hort. Soc. I drool over the photos of things I likely can't grow.

  8. It looks like they've come up with some more frost-resistant species... That first spiky variety would look really cool with a ball of green at its center, with the brown "leaves" poking out of it...

  9. I like the flat-ended rusty spikes and the purle ones.

  10. Well, I suppose you do what you have to do. My personal policy is always at least twice as much organic as inorganic, if that makes sense. Hopefully the powers that be will replace the casualties with something equally eye catching. Have you met the gardener? I bet they could really use your expertise.

  11. Ha! That second rusty one is made out of old window weights! What a great way to reuse old metal (lead? cast iron? i don't actually know what they are made of!). I just love Portland--where else would you see something like that?


  12. Andrew, I found the rust ones to be a better compliment than the purple and pinks too.

    Matti, uhm...I nice metal agave for the danger garden would be great. I need to start making friends with metal artists.

    ricki, so care to start making any predictions for next winter? 3 in a row, or back to "normal"?

    Karen, actually I think they did everything right in building this new area, the drainage looked to be perfect and the plant selections were wise...just not when you have record cold for a week. Hope you'll get the chance to visit again someday.

    Garden Beet, I like the boundary idea.

    Evelyn, it does seem to go with your succulent styling!

    Les, after having a few run-ins with my prickly plants working in the garden last week I think they may have been on to something with those corks! OUCH!

    James, oh! I like your improvement ideas!

    Mary, this seems like the type of installation anyone could be inspired by doesn't it? I mean to create their own version.

    Grace, I've emailed with the gardener. I had a question about a Euphorbia a couple years ago and he answered it. Since I am around in the daytime more now I keep hoping to see him around there so I could talk with him a bit. He really knows his stuff, I think I could learn a lot from him!

    S, omg - your right! I guess in the back of my mind I thought they looked like something I should be able to i.d.!

  13. As a professional artist, I must warn you not to give up your day job. These really are not attractive and I don't believe will bring any enhancement to the desert environment--none of them. Ouch, they are painful to look at. Visual Pollution.

  14. Anonymous, alrighty then...I guess we know how you feel! BTW my only involvement with these was taking the pictures.


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