Friday, October 31, 2014


Encouraged by my autumn loving husband I am trying to embrace the season. I've added a few autumnal touches around the house.

He's not a lover of the velvet pumpkins, but I adore them.

I was going to originally title this post "Autumn, I can do that"...but I realize I'm really not all that good at it so I shouldn't boast. My touches are minimal. I bought 3 (3!!!) gourds. Here's one along with some seed pods of a Liriodendron tulipifera. What I really want you to notice in this photo is the amazing graphic representation of a Fouquieria splendens. I bought it at Flora Grubb and it's the work of John Bell.

Here are the other two gourds, and tucked into the front of the white vase is the hair comb (still looking good!) I wore during the opening night of the 2014 Portland Garden Bloggers Fling (you had to be there for that to make any sense).

Okay now we're getting serious about the holiday, a vintage paper Halloween mask. A couple of years back I went up to Seattle the weekend before Halloween, I came home to discover a pair of vintage masks Andrew had found while out doing some early Christmas shopping.

This one (temporarily) hangs over a sconce in our hallway. The best part is after-dark it can be seen glowing from out on the street. Passers-by might be left wonder about the masked man...

This is the other mask...

Those Craspedia globosa have been going strong for months.

The pumpkin moves back and forth...

We don't have any outdoor decor this year, I never got around to buying a pumpkin or three. As glimpsed yesterday our neighbor's Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes' is stunning this time of year, it's orange tint makes a festive view from our living room window. I frequently consider adding one to our garden, but then I remember, I don't have to!

In another neighbor's front garden.

Lila paused and I thought she saw the skeleton. No, it was the cat. I appreciate the understated touch. No big blow up pumpkins, spiders or witches. Just a skeleton hanging out in the ginkgo...

Whatever and however you might celebrate the season, and the holiday, I hope you're making the most of it. I leave you with a scene from the fun Disney short from 1929: "Silly Symphony "The Skeleton Dance" something Andrew grew up with that he recently shared with me (click on the title to watch)...

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple' is my favorite plant in the garden (this week)…

I’ve never been one to garden with an eye to fall color. Most of the plants I’m drawn to don’t really put on a big fall display and besides, there’s plenty all around me (in the neighborhood) so why worry about including it in my garden? So I am surprised every year when my Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' starts to put on its fall show.

I planted it for the dark leaves it holds through summer, not having a clue it would color up in the fall, eventually putting on a show that rivals the neighbors sumac (Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes', which it is closely related to) seen here on the left...

It’s also my short color-echo for another neighbor’s maple...

The stats on this “smoke bush”:
  • deciduous shrub which grows in USDA Zones 5a-9b
  • eventual height and width of 15' x 15' - can be kept smaller with pruning
  • likes sun to part sun exposure with average soil and moderate water
  • flowers in the summer with small yellow blooms which give way to pink to bronze colored puffy smoke-like plumes

While I was thinking about it I took a look around for anything else in my garden that’s colored up red/orange. I almost included the blood grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron') but since it’s always red that would be cheating. The big winner is the Parthenocissus quinquefolia, a hitchhiker that came along with some plants from my mom’s garden in Spokane. I tear out huge pieces of it all the time, lest it take over. Here it is picturesquely climbing across my neighbor’s garage (yes it originates in my garden) mixed in with the foliage of a clematis and her hops vine...

The only other bright color I found belongs to the fallen seed cones of the Magnolia macrophylla, which are starting to hit the ground with an audible thump.

They look like this when they fall, but then the seeds start to disappear.

Or like in this case the whole thing disappears! I placed a fallen cone here just yesterday, all that remains is the stem.

Anyway, back to that cotinus and a question…got a fall fav in your garden?

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stock-tank mulch, two ways...

My morning began with a chiropractor appointment, their parking lot was full so I parked on the street. Returning to my car I noticed this...

Not your average mulch. I looked up and realized I was in front of a sushi restaurant. I see.

Later that day I had an appointment to get my hair cut. Parking on the corner and hurrying to the salon I stopped when I noticed this, snow. Or so my brain told me, then I realized it was ice - probably tossed out from the bar next door.

Someone thought he was doing the plants a favor. I doubt they felt that way.

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Greg's dry garden...

This is not what most people picture when you mention a "Portland garden"...heck there isn't a single rose, rhododendron or doug fir in sight!

These plants don't belong in "rainy Portland!"

Oh but they'd be surprised how many people think Portland is a rainy, grey place 365 days a year. It's just not true. Our summers are dry, very dry. The joke is that the sprinkler gets turned off on July 5th and it's not far from the truth.

This garden belongs to Greg Shepherd, co-owner of Xera Plants. Xera is a local wholesale (and retail) nursery that grows "climate adapted plants for gardeners in the PNW"...

As you might imagine the garden is planted up with Xera plants, although don't head over there to pick up one of these, as Greg tells me they sadly have no Agave bracteosa at this time.

Since planting and getting things established Greg has provided no summer irrigation.

Perfect location for that Caesalpinia gilliesii, don't ya think?

That's Greg's dog Polly, it was a long, hot day.

The backyard garden...

I've ever seen a dudleya look this good in the summer, mine always go semi-dormant.

And there was a pair!

Did you spot that silver patch of goodness just beyond the dudleya? It's Lupinus albifrons, I was thrilled to see it here, and it was in the ground through last winter.

Oh what's that!? Pachystegia insignis, and I just happened to score one recently at Xera, after ogling a huge one at their shop for years, and then this little guy.

This one (Cynara baetica var. moroccana) I've loved and lost - and really should plant again.

Rounding the corner of the path I was (I'll admit) a little startled by the stick. I thought it was a snake.

We all agreed the subtle screening along the back fence with Azara microphylla was genius.

But I've saved the best for last and we're heading back out front. The parking strip was probably my favorite part of this garden. It's just so perfect. Colorful, spiky, and crammed full of plants.

I actually fell pretty hard for this grass, if I remember right it's Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'...

Yucca linearifolia, I believe...

It's just all so wonderful, thanks Greg for sharing your garden!

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.