Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Ranch-lands

Remember the Arizona-esque garden that I’ve been obsessing about ever since I first saw it last August? The one I’ve posted about over and over? Well I’ve actually met the owner! Ok…“met” is a bit of an overstatement, I’ve been emailing with him, and I’ve learned the story behind the garden. Apparently the designer of this fabulous landscape used to work at Xera Plants (another reason for me to love this local nursery since I would imagine it was the source for most of these plants).
Here is the best part…I’ve been invited to see the backyard garden! Exciting news huh? You know I’ll be taking my camera! Here are a just a few of the plants that are looking especially hot right now in the front yard garden...
This little piece of garden paradise is situated in what we (my husband and I) refer to as the “ranch-lands” it is very close geographically to our neighborhood, but a world apart design wise. When we were house hunting this is where I wanted live, but nothing was for sale. And who am I kidding, when we were hunting (nearing the peak of the housing bubble) if something had been available we probably couldn’t have afforded it anyway.

Unfortunately most the other ranch-style homes in the neighborhood subscribe to a more “traditional” style of landscaping.
An exception is this homeowner who seems to be bucking the trend and coming over to the spiky-side of gardening. I see an agave, yucca and even prickly pear, go team!
The “ranch-lands” is even home to the longest running wall of Arborvitae in Portland…
And I suppose this doesn’t really qualify as landscaping but I thought it was worth sharing…I wonder what it’s like on the inside looking out?


  1. Oh goody!! I hope you will also ask him, while you are snapping away at all the tucked-behind-the-house treasures, how he protects the plants for winter, what kind of soil he started with and if he added anything, etc. Inquiring minds want to know!! Great coup!

  2. I'm looking forward to this-our house is a 60's brick ranch ...

  3. Here's hoping the :Arizona-esque style catches on in this neighborhood...seems an ideal match for the architecture. Growing up in a ranch, my idea of a "real" house was always at least two stories, but now this style is beginning to grow on me...minus the tortured foundation plantings.

  4. Wow, how cool that you've made the connection and get to tour the back garden! I really wish Xera had a retail part of their nursery: I could spend lots of money there!
    I love your front-yard tour of the Ranch-lands. They look like pretty nice ones and could definitely use a bit more danger gardening to set them off.
    Isn't that the strangest screen/trellis/security device: maybe it allows them to feel safe when they have their sliding door open?

  5. I love the front. Can't wait to see the back!

  6. Patricia C, Portland ORApril 14, 2010


    You have such a way with getting in good places. Can't wait to see the report.

  7. Oh, I love the colors in the zeric garden pictures - those soft turqoise blues and grey-greens make me sigh with delight. No sighs of delight over the traditional landscapes you picture, though ;-)

  8. oh I can't wait to see the backyard!

  9. Hi Loree~~ Oh, exciting. I'm looking forward to the grand tour. How did you get the owner's email? I'm wondering what method I could employ to get the same results. Snoopy yet polite.

    Those fortress-esque bars on the ranch are really quite pretty. Maybe if they were painted an unobtrusive color and blended with the house. I think they'd look kind of cool surrounding the corner of a backyard terrace with a Clematis wending its way up....

    Sometimes traditional is okay. It's not exciting better for a NON-plant person to have these easy care plants than a jungle of heartbreakingly neglected gems.

    Sun is shining today!

  10. I wonder if the people who live in the last house also wear straight jackets?

  11. So they got your note then? That's great that you've been invited to see the back garden. I've seen some of the best gardens in Austin by being pushy enough to basically invite myself over. And met the coolest people that way.

  12. Interesting landscapes, or should I say plantings. My favorite Ranchland shot is the first one with its floating yellow and green foliage blobs.

  13. Karen, I will I most definitely will!

    linda, I am jealous!

    ricki, I can't imagine how cool it would be if the whole neighborhood started spiky gardening! Isn't it funny that we tend to gravitate towards what we don't have? I grew up in a 70's split level!

    Jane, you can always go crazy at the Xera booth at the HPSO sale! And the window behind the screen is just that, a window, a big plate glass window not anything that opens!

    Megan, me too!

    Patricia, I guess I better start planning my next adventure eh?

    VW, the colors are so beautiful and the great thing is that they work here in Oregon just as well as in the desert!

    Mary C, May...we are talking about the first week in May...

    Grace, it's an odd story that involves my emailing him about an entirely different subject and not knowing that it was the owner of that house that I was emailing. I agree that as far as bars on the windows go this is definitely above average. I just can't imagine though how much it must obscure their view!

    D+N, I hadn't thought of it but now that you mention it....

    Pam, nope I ended up in contact with him through and entirely different avenue! I need to work on the pushy thing, polite pushy of course!

    Les, "foliage blobs"...I like it, I'm going to use it someday.

  14. Loree - in looking for arborvitae photos I came across this post. I wasn't going to comment until I saw that last picture - what a hoot! That would be like living in a prison I would guess!


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