Thursday, March 21, 2013

A few things around town that have caught my eye…


Originally I planned to call this post “an opuntia named Harold” but decided that wasn’t fair to all the other plants I have pictures of. Harold and his friends occupy a rather overgrown hell-strip in SE Portland.

They suffer the indignities of being held up by tomato cages…

And being buried under misbehaving neighbors.

I wonder what Harold and his friends would do if they were transplanted here? To what is perhaps the smallest hell-strip in all of Portland…

Here we have a hell-strip full of Bergenia and cloud pruning.

I wonder, is this style of driveway strictly a Portland thing? I’ve never seen it anywhere else, at least not that I can remember.

While house hunting we looked at a few homes with driveways like this and the thought of pulling into one gave me shivers.

Did you notice the extreme planting in the first driveway example? Here’s another version.

I could almost hear the little Arum italicum leaves “must grow...must reach the sunshine”

Yes those really are rocks.

And yes they felt just like you think they would.

Loved this combo of colors and textures.

And the same here. The green-ness of it all along with the texture of the rocks and the climber…I stared at it for far too long.

This looks almost like an opunita farming operation!

Although they needed to do a little weeding, carefully.

Moss on opunita, that’s not something you see every day.

It really was quite beautiful, with the pink fruits and blue green pads.

Just down the street I discovered the largest weeping Blue Atlas Cedar I’ve ever seen. It was horrifying, these plants really give me the creeps and this one was HUGE! It started on the north end of the property at the sidewalk and continued back to the house, along the entire length of the house, the garage, and then back to the sidewalk on the south end of the property. How long did that take?

Someone with a sense of humor lives here though…

And they like euphorbia…

That is a sexy cone.

Finally I end with another opuntia farm.

It’s interesting that both of the houses with huge opuntia plantings don’t really have much in the way of other landscaping/plantings.

There must be an interesting story here; I just wish I knew it.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

35 comments:

  1. Interesting stuff! I think the "weed" is a California poppy seedling, which is actually a combo I'd like to see when it flowers. Those driveways with stairs are definitely odd.

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    1. Ahh...I bet you're right in which case that would be a cool combo.

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    2. I thought everyone had driveways like that but I've never thought about it since I've lived here my whole life. Wow. That's kind of funny. I like the combo too.

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  2. I had no idea Portland had so many opuntias. They do seem to thrive in your climate even though you get so much more rain than their native lands. Do you ever see ones that rot from too much moisture?

    Driveways with steps: I've never seen them before, but they look super cool. You certainly
    wouldn't want to be drunk when you pull up into a driveway like that though...

    Love that little green house about half way down. Is it a residence, or a home office?

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    1. Neither did I just a couple of years ago...but when you start looking they are everywhere! Actually I should give credit to the husband for discovering (and reporting) the last two patches. As for rot yes! There are a couple of examples of that in my garden right now (sad).

      The green house...I don't know. I've walked by there many times and never noticed it. The paper in the windows (doors) as well as the fresh paint job tell me it's been recently upgraded. I'm going with home office...

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  3. If your hell strip is planted with an opuntia "hedge", you don't have to worry about too many people parking there and stepping through the flowers when they get out. They won't cut through your yard either.

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    1. Maybe I need to get rid of my yuccas and go with opuntias then...

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  4. I've always wondered what the story was with those stair-step driveways.

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  5. I have a neighbor with a huge patch of Opuntia humifusa in his front yard, basically because it's maintenance-free and extremely tough, like Yucca filamentosa which they also grow. (St. Louis, not Portland)

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    1. Does it look good? I would think so...

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  6. Every time I see a weeping blue atlas cedar I think. . .

    Must get one of those! They do have a sinister look about them, I agree.

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    1. I don't think I could sleep in a house with one that size out front. I'd have nightmares about it wrapping it's arms around me in the night...

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  7. Stair-step driveways are new to me! Loved the green house/wall/climber/stone scene and those fuzzy rocks are adorable! Here's the story: When someone begins gardening with opuntias, he/she decides that the hobby is too painful to go any further and stops leaving only the opuntias which spread because they have no competition.

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    1. Uhm...maybe...I'm not sure if I'm buying that one.

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  8. I agree with you on that Cedar - it really looks sinister. I wonder if it gets up at night and stalks the neighborhood...

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  9. I like the title "An Opuntia named Harold" or perhaps 'A Yucca named Thing". Those moss covered rocks are phenomenal.

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    1. Harold and Thing...what a pair!

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  10. Looks like those opuntia planters were just meant to demarcate territory and discourage strangers?

    Those mossy rocks are gorgeous!

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    1. But the sidewalk/and or lawn invite people to go around them. Maybe they supply the PNW with prickly pear syrup?

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  11. fifi la fontaineMarch 21, 2013

    Ha! I know the couple who own the house with the huge weeping cedar! You can't tell from the outside so much, but the inside decor is totally groovy, mid century mod all the way.

    If you are feeling adventurous next time and want to venture into my scrappy 'hood,I live south of this neighborhood in the bright red ranch with that big agave out front on Sumner!

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    1. Actually I could tell that house was going one way or the other...either super cool inside or, well, not. The plantings and all the fun chalk work said somebody fun lives there (minus the creepy weeping cedar, but I know a lot of people love them).

      I'd love to see your place sometime...but it wold feel wrong to stalk your garden without you being there. Oh and did you see that Kym from the Oregonian wrote about your agave's mom? http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2013/03/giant_agave_thrives_in_northea.html#incart_river

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    2. Oh, yes, I DID see the article you posted about my bambino Agave's mom! If my agave ever got that big, I'd die of happiness. I wonder how old the parent agave is... I'm thinking about maybe building an even bigger/higher berm for the agave and put in more large rocks since the pictures in that article made it look like their agaves was perched on a steep pile of rocks. Maybe I didn't take the drainage thing far enough....

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  12. It just isn't fair. Here I am, babying along the one opuntia I got from you. It IS doing well, though.

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  13. Those driveways - amazing, some extreme! The Opuntia farm - doesn't every real garden person have one?

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  14. I can't imagine anyone wanting to spend a weekend trying to get rid of those Opuntia patches, so there they will stay until someone rents a backhoe. Funny combination, lawn and Opuntia.

    Another fan of those mossy rocks--how beautiful!

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    1. Agreed...folks from the Desert SW must think we're crazy up here!

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  15. So funny to see that little tiny hell strip of mine! I might miss it when I move, but something tells me that's highly unlikely. I should have planted all kinds of great things out there.

    Next time, I mean in the next house, I'll be sure to check out the hell strip potential. So much more important than I'd realized.

    I love the Opuntia parade. Planted more Opuntia seeds today too. I'd be curious to know as well about why those folks planted them that way. Seems like a fence, but not. Weird.

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    1. I should have taken another photo of your hell-strip when I was there a couple of weeks ago and things had started to grow. This one was an oldie.

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  16. That Weeping Cedar is awesome! I want one now}:P

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  17. Maybe your neighbors are growing opuntia to eat, though having tasted them, I can't see why.

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  18. Yes, Fifi and I both know the folks who own the epic weeping Blue Atlas Cedar house! The house was built in the mid 50's and I think that tree was planted there around that time as well. They have to do some bolstering of the tree supports every now and then so it doesn't take the house down, but it pretty much takes care of itself. It gets a lot of attention, and yes, it's cones are awesome!

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