Monday, June 24, 2013

Visiting the garden of Paul Bonine…

Does that name sound familiar? Probably because he’s co- owner of Xera Plants and the author of Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden from Timber Press. I had the opportunity to visit Paul’s garden a couple weekends ago and while I was happy to have a beautiful sunny Saturday it certainly didn’t make for a great photo taking experience. There were so many fabulous plants that in my photos just look like a shiny greenish blob! Ah well, we take the sun when we can get it here and don’t complain!

The directions to his house included the line "there's a big Eucalyptus in front" yep, he wasn't kidding. And it's breathtaking, much more beautiful than you can tell in these photos (it's Eucalyptus pauciflora debeuzevillei, which btw the Mulchmaid featured as her "favorite plant" last week).


The parking strip was full of some of my favorites. The silver plant is Curry Plant (Helichrysum)

And this bottle-brush is Callistemon pityoides 'Excellent'

Yucca linearifolia

Yucca rostrata

Agave bracteosa

And although I failed to get a good overall photo of them there are also a pair of Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate.’

Paul describes his garden as formal, which I can't help but hear as "uptight"...but it's not. The trees along the sidewalk are Osmanthus x burkwoodii, kind an experiment he said (they're still being trained to stand tall and straight). The garden is only two years old...

I'm going to call it formalized chaos (which is meant as a compliment).

Leptospermum lanigerum 'Silver Form' I believe...

Up against the front of the house I spy a palm, grevillea, astelia...

And over against the fence this Indigofera decora is blooming like mad!

Isn't it beautiful?

This plant is one I loved when I saw it at Xera but managed not to buy. Then I saw it here. In bloom.

I've since bought it, and yes it's Caesalpinia gilliesii (Bird of Paradise Shrub)...we'll see how it does for me.

It does look pretty fabulous with those burgundy leaves too (which I forgot to ask the name of but coordinate with the house trim wonderfully).

This damn restio (Rhodocoma capensis) is following me! (I can hear it saying buy me buy me buy me quietly)

Got cracks in your sidewalk? Plant them!

Looking back out at the street the formal design becomes more apparent. On the left...

And on the right.

Don't you just love how the unusual glass fence post finial makes the new foliage pop?

Okay we've moved to the back garden now where a tiny patch of lawn remains and there's another Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate.'

Ceanothus topaz with Choisya x 'Goldfingers'

I'm in love with this ceanothus...

Look at those long blooms and red/brown stems!

Crape myrtle, of which he has several and I can't remember which one this is...

Love the Stipa barbata...

I mean really love it and I am finally going to have to break down and buy some!

It's a Pluot! Which is a combination of plum and apricot.

Along the garage (on the left) is a pair of Feijoa sellowiana (Pineapple Guava). They both had flower buds so naturally as soon as I got home I searched mine for any signs of flowering. Nothing.

That little cutie supervising the garden tour is Miles...

And this purple groundcover is another one I flirt with buying but so far haven't managed to commit to (Acaena inermis purpurea).

Schefflera taiwaniana

Take a look at what it's doing...the new flush of leaves isn't just coming from the central growing point. Nope this thing has like a million branches forming!

It looks nice with its neighbor the Mahonia fortunei.

And this sweet little Rhododendron.

And look another Rhododendron...

Kniphofia thompsonii snowdenii

Telopea, but I can't remember which one! You can see it's expired protea-ific bloom on the right.

Here Miles is playing the "I can't see you" game using an Embothrium coccineum leaf to hide behind.

Finally I couldn't resist another photo of the Albizia. His all came from the same big orange bargain box that mine did, but his look so much nicer!

That's the tour! Again I regret the full sun conditions didn't allow for great photos...hopefully you still got a sense of how many fabulous plants Paul has squeezed into a small garden and yet maintained his formal design. Thanks for the tour Paul!

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

31 comments:

  1. That is one insanely magical garden! There are so many hidden gems in there. Naturally because there is a palm they score big points in my books. But those olives at the front are insane! the Caesalpinia gilliesii looks super gorgeous!! I'm glad you felt the need to get one after seeing that.

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    1. How did I completely space mentioning the olives? Duh.

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  2. Paul's Garden is beautiful - I too succumbed to Caesalpinia gilliesii after seeing it bloom at his place.

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    1. I'll be curious to see where you've planted yours. I think I've decided mine's going in where the Echium wildpretii is, since it's in it's final days.

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    2. Zonal DenialJune 26, 2013

      Paul told me he doesn't even mulch the C gilliesii in the winter. But he said summer heat is essential to ripen the wood and help them survive. The reflected heat from his house must help.

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  3. What a great garden! Thanks for taking us along, even if it was a very sunny day. I am sure that voice you hear telling you to buy the Rhodocoma capensis is Peter, echoing all the way from here. We keep seeing it here too, and he keeps telling me to buy it (or maybe he's just talking to himself?)

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    1. Weird! Your comment ended up in my spam filter!...Anyway I'm sure you're right, it must be Peter. Maybe when I do finally buy it I'll send him the bill.

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  4. Formal planting it may be but using loads of very exciting and unusual plants!

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  5. Nice! I still can't get over the fact that people *buy* Mimosa trees. Everybody I know who has one here hates the mess and gazillion seedlings -- of course theirs are not "chocolate". I guess it depends on who you talk to.

    p.s. Submit, and give an R. capensis a home!

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    1. Perhaps your climate is just more conducive to seedlings and we don't have it as bad out here?

      (okay...soon)

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  6. What a cool garden! It's hard to believe he's done all of that in two years! That's one crazy cool Schefflera! Did it get cut back or did it just decide to do that all by itself? Indigofera decora is gorgeous and new to me!

    "We are the Restios, you will be assimilated, resistance is futile!"

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    1. I believe it just decided to do that all by itself...and I know, you're right of course.

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  7. What a fabulous garden! He's managed to organize a large collection of plants so it flows seamlessly - something I can only accomplish in my dreams. I love the Indigofera decora (which I've never seen locally here in SoCal) and that Ceanothus topaz (ditto).

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    1. Kris you need to rent a big SUV and go on a mad plant buying binge up here in Portland!

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  8. I love all of this! The way Paul combines plants is unique and refreshing, and gives me so many ideas about new ways to consider plants for my garden. I agree about that stunning ceanothus, and of course, Paul has excellent taste in eucalyptus ;-) And seeing those Agave bracteosa in the ground, I'm determined to try that myself. Great tour!

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    1. Oh yes Jane you definitely need a few A. bracteosa in the ground! They're tough and beautiful at the same time.

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  9. How can you not love an Albizia 'Summer Chocolate'? Thanks for the ID on the Indigofera. We saw it in a couple of gardens during our trip to Long Island last week and no one knew the species. Was wondering why I had never seen it for sale around my way...zone 7...duh!

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    1. And the zone strikes again! Sorry Sue.

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  10. Gorgeous! I love all the crepe myrtles -- I wonder if that's what the burgundy foliage is next to the BoP shrub? I also want to know, what is the purple foliage shrub behind the astelia?

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    1. I wish I knew...but I haven't a clue. Paul?

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  11. Great tour. I can't believe his Indigofera is blooming already. My I. heterantha doesn't even have buds yet. And his crape myrtles also look like they're forming buds. The growth on the schefflera is amazing. Fun post!

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  12. How fun to visit Paul's garden! Stipa barbata is a beauty, for sure...and love that Ceonothus...those red stems are a nice bonus!

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    1. And to think I didn't "need" another ceanothus, until now!

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  13. I love when people use a more formal layout with less formal plants -- makes for such an interesting & beautiful garden!

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  14. Formalized chaos is an apt term. I can see the formal elements, but when you focus on the plants they are not what one would expect. Paul is a star in the plant world, and his own garden does not disappoint.

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    1. Glad you like it, hope Paul didn't mind that label (formalized chaos, not star...)

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  15. Fantastic garden!!!

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