Thursday, March 19, 2015

The last walk of the "winter" for Les…

A long day on the phone and at the computer, I needed a break. A slight drizzle was falling, just enough that I didn’t feel like working in the garden. Then it hit me, I needed to take a walk so I could participate in the annual "Winter Walk-Off" hosted on the The Tidewater Gardener. Out the door, and heading southwest…

If you're not familiar this is an annual event where Les (who blogs at A Tidewater Gardener) encourages us all to get up, get out, and walk. Oh...and take pictures, post them and leave a link on his blog. While the point is to walk-off winter you'll see winter left my part of the country a long time ago...

He says these posts don't have to be garden related, although of course mine always are. This year I've included a lot of NE Portland residential architecture examples along with the plants and gardens, they kind of go hand in hand don't you think? Oh and my walk ended up being a long one, so is this post...

The extra-wide front door on this house grabbed my attention, perhaps a baby-grand piano needed to come inside? I also love that snug little sitting area tucked up against the hedge. Private, yet social.

This is a hellstrip after my own heart!

I love that they've given the arctostaphylos/manzanita room to really strut their stuff.

"X" marks the spot...

I could very easily have taken this entire post and turned it into a rant on some of the infill development happening in NE Portland, and the city in general. Older homes, with their inherent smaller size, bought by developers (who often swoop in with cash) and then torn down - replaced by lot-filling McMansions or subdivided into two lots with "skinny houses" on each. Another phenomenon is when an older home exists on what's deemed a lot and a half. They sell that half lot and a skinny house is built next door. What I can't stand is how these homes tower over the rest of the neighborhood and are often completely out of context.

Here's an example of the size difference, at least this builder tried to blend the skinny house stylistically. This is one of the better examples I've seen.

Deep breath...let's look at a pretty camellia shall we?

Sometimes I miss the camellia which was growing in front of our house when we moved in. Then I remember the brown blooms that fell and covered everything for a month and I don't miss it as much.

Love this tiny little side garden...

Love the old commercial building, turned residence, it belongs to even more.

Pow! Orange accents hit a home-run. Love the peep-hole in the mailbox and that fabulous metal railing.

Such a tiny house, with a very tidy landscape plan. Grasses, a couple trees, conifers (?) and lots of manzanita.

I have a crush on this style of home, can you imagine how wonderful it would be to hang out in that window surrounded room? It's probably a breakfast nook but would become my office.

Another beautiful Convolvulus cneorum. That's two in a row I've spotted on walks, both grown well. I might just have to give this one another chance.

Something about this metal edged landscape just isn't working for me. It needs more plants. There's too much order!

How's this for contrast? Crazy gardener on the left, minimalist on the right.

I say crazy gardener with nothing but the highest admiration. In fact this particular house and garden have a bit of a prominent status with my plant lust partners and I. We'd all noticed it independently and then later talked about it, and it's out of control planting style, knowing that we were all headed in the same direction. When I first discovered it, probably around 2007, I remember thinking it was a little too much of a good thing. But you know what? Walking it (for the first time, previous visits had just been drive-by) I was totally blown away by the plant choices. There are so many cool plants here, combined really well. It's a collectors garden and yes, I would be proud to become the "crazy-plant-lady" someday (or maybe I already am??)

Anyway...I couldn't help but notice this poor rhody pulled from it's planting spot. Or maybe the gardener was interrupted while planting? I was tempted to right the wrong but also didn't want to look like I was stealing the plant...

Curious. Fresh mulch piled up around what look to be rose canes, all surrounded by paper bags. What's up with that?

I don't know squat about camellias but I know I like the shape of this one, and those big serrated leaves.

It's that berberis I always forget I want until I see it blooming in someone's garden.

I recently professed my love for the magnolias, the star magnolias aren't ones I identify as favorites but when I see them up close like this they're pretty sweet.

Lovely carpet...

More lovely.

And again.

Looking back down one of the sidewalks, this intense garden is on a corner, both sidewalks look like this.

On the street looking at the hellstrip. The soil has been built up and up and up. And it's showing...

Okay, I tore myself away and walked on...

And to think we were worried about making a statement painting our house dark brown.

Painted rocks are always head scratchers.

Daffodils. They're a little to "churchy" for me, but this color combo is striking.

This spring has been such that everything seems to be blooming earlier and faster than normal. Like these iris...

This is one I'm hoping someone can identify for me. I have a suspicion I probably caught it at it's best and once it's in bloom those wavy leaves won't be quite so prominent.

Still I'd love to know, anybody?

Your house must be something special when it has a matching corner wall announcing the address.

How wonderful that they've let these yucca just get a little crazy...

Wow, how's this for something different?

Lights strung for entertaining...

And I love the attention to detail on the metal edging. Rather than just a thin edge they've capped it. Perfect. That gnarly eucalyptus (?) is pretty sweet too.

Now I'm crossing Alberta Street, if I'd been thinking I would have walked the length from 33rd to 15th, maybe that will be next years Winter Walk-off post. Alberta is a very entertaining street. The sign below reads: "#AlbertaArtWorks - This is a rare time in the history of Portland and most importantly the comunity (sic) of NE Alberta if we respect each other as well as respect the buildings and neibors (sic) and when this is all over all we can take home are the pictures and the memories of how we treat each other...Dr.OXO'99" Alberta Street has a "last Thursday" artists festival in the summer months, the street closes to vehicle traffic and it can become a free for all. The neighbors and businesses have complained about things getting out of hand.



In warmer times those palms are dwarfed by huge bananas.

Creative wall treatment. I like how it works with the planters flanking the front steps.

Next door is this sweet stair and railing.

I've shared photos of the landscaping around this condo before.

But those euphorbia! They deserved a photo.

And flowering quince always deserves a little love.

The emerging foliage of the Hydrangea quercifolia is pretty darn fabulous...

Oh thank god! I thought this walk was going to end without discovering an agave. That would have been sad.

Speaking of sad...

Oh, but this one looks happy. We've got an agave, I guess I can end here.

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

39 comments:

  1. So much here worthy of comment, but I'll focus on the 8th-to-last photo of the "sweet stair and railing". What makes that stairway so special is the adjacent bamboo. Seriously. It's all about juxtaposition!

    Also, wire used in any railings always makes me feel a bit nervous, almost woozy. Must be thinking of a wire cheese cutter that I once had, but they seem dangerous!

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    1. I agree! It's all about the juxtaposition, but my eye picked out the old wooden stairs as the thing that made it work. Interesting.

      BTW my grandparents had that same cheese cutter, yikes. I get it.

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  2. We had a fun walk, didn't we? I want to come back to this post again and again. The skinny house near the beginning made me wonder, does a conductor come though periodically, "Tickets. Tickets?"

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    1. Ha! So true (about the skinny houses).

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  3. I think the mystery shrub is Cistus 'Blanche' or a similar cultivar. The leaves stay wavy like that year-round on 'Blanche.' It's a nice addition to the garden with all that texture.

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  4. Having been on your neck of the woods we can definitely say that you live in a wonderful part of the world where there are so many lovely properties with well kept gardens that are not lacking in individual style too! Thoroughly enjoyed that as usual! And that orange door, it's so vivid it looks like it's been photoshopped, love it!

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  5. I always love seeing a bit of Portland through your eyes (and lens)!

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    1. Have you ever visited here John?

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  6. Great walk post! The neighborhood - heck, the entire city - I used to live in was filled with what you referred to as infill housing. I lived in a "2-on-a-lot" myself, 2 townhouses sharing a lot and a driveway (but at least I had a tiny backyard). All the surrounding beach cities are filled with those and "tall-and-skinnies" resembling the house you showed. It's sad to me that Portland is allowing that kind of congested living arrangement. On the positive side, I liked all the brightly painted homes and/or doors, with the possible exception of that red number. Pam/Digging featured a red house (in Houston, I think) that was fantastic but the strong base color was offset with darker trim and fabulous plants.

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    1. Infill housing is applauded as bringing density to existing neighborhoods which keeps outward sprawl from happening. I get that part, we don't want to loose all the scenic natural area around us. However what kills me is how that type of housing completely ruins the character of existing neighborhoods. I wish I were blogging back when the small house behind us was torn down to make way for two huge McMansions. Then again maybe it's good that I wasn't since the developer had anger issues and physically threatened any of the neighbors who dared to ask about the development...which btw totally disregarded the approved set-backs put in place by the city. Build 3-ft from the property line, no problem! (as long as you're a bully with money).

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  7. I've spent a lot of time looking at these. What you have chosen to show is very appealing and/or intriguing. I wonder whether people who paint their houses unusual colors always do unusual things with their gardens? Fun plants, too. I will come back.

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    1. I suppose that correlation could be made. If you're creative and love to play with color then you're probably not going to be satisfied with a boring garden, right?

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  8. What a sweet project. I'll try to remember it next year. Right now, we're heading into summer, it seems, and winter appears so far away.

    Seeing large houses built on tiny lots always makes me sad. I was talking about this just last weekend with a friend from San Jose, where the practice is rampant.

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    1. Gosh you know I don't think I've ever actually been to San Jose! Driven by of course on the freeway heading south but never actually stopped.

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  9. I have the wire cheese cutter, an inherited heirloom. Some families hand down Tiffany lamps. I got a wire cheese cutter.

    The steel edging looks bad, installed too high?

    The rose-in-a-bag is a technique to protect the canes from cold or sun damage--it protects the stored carbohydrates in the canes while the roots grow enough to support foliage.

    I love the bright colors of the homes which really must cheer up residents in your long grey winter. Here bright house colors just don't work as well.

    Wonderful Winter Walk Off.

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    1. I agree, but so high that it almost seems to be a design choice, as though they really wanted to create an island. More plants! Thanks for the rose info, you would know!

      As for the house colors there is definitely something to the cheeriness on grey days. Although you've reminded me of my search for the perfect color for my house in Spokane, WA. I finally found it in Phoenix, on the newly painted Children's Hospital. I picked up a few painted rocks and other debris that had the color on it. Back in Spokane I had paint mixed to match and tried a bit on the house. Oh my! Bright (BRIGHT) green looks better under the Phoenix sun. It looked ridiculous on my house, I went with something much more subtle.

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  10. You live in such a great neighborhood! So much great stuff happening! Loved the orange door! The second orange house was certainly bright! Mcmansions - GRRR!

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    1. Funny you say that about the neighborhood. I was just thinking what my winter walk-off would look like if I still lived in Spokane. I think you can find interesting things just about anywhere, if you look hard enough.

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  11. Why oh why oh why are developers allowed to do this skinny house and tear down business? It's everywhere in Portland, but thankfully people are taking notice and there are Facebook and other groups dedicated to spreading awareness and hopefully laws to stop rampant tearing down of homes for profit. At least give consideration to the existing neighborhood for effin' sake. OK moving on - the walk was lovely, thank you for taking us along Danger. Very lovely and intriguing choices.

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    1. We could go on forever about the tear down business couldn't we? And who wants to live in those hideous things they build? Well, somebody obviously. But why!?

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  12. Because of your post, I took the long way home from the gym today to check out that crazy landscape again. Some beautiful little pointy white tulips were wide open. Always something interesting there, I'll give 'em that.

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  13. WOW, there is so much to see on your walk, making me doubly glad you decided to join in. Of course I love all the varied plants and landscaping, especially the Euphorbia in front of that condo. However, I equally love all the varied architecture that you have shown. Every so often we have new homes built in our neighborhood, and they have all been dismal vinyl failures, but their numbers are puny compared to all of the older homes, and fortunately more and more of these are being bought by people unafraid of color. Thanks for walking with me!

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    1. Thank you for providing the inspiration!

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  14. I love the houses. Well not the tall skinny house, that looks so out of place like you said. This was such a fun read! Thanks.

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  15. You are a "Crazy Plant Lady", (A compliment in my world!) the reason I enjoy reading your blog. I really like those very crowded plantings where walking down the sidewalk gives the feeling of walking down a jungle path or a trail in the woods.

    Thanks, John (Aberdeen WA)

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  16. Very interesting walk!! the garden of the crazy gardener looks like a forest! I also think the mystery shrub is some kind of cistus.

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    1. When I first discovered that garden that's exactly what I thought it was, a forest. The trees were all leafed out and you couldn't even see the house.

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  17. I vote for cistus too, the sticky-leaved kind like ladanifer or populifolius. Those euphorbs are really something. And what a lovely magnolia photo you started with.

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    1. I guess that means I need a cistus, it's only right, you know because it's a Cistus!

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  18. Good god - have you been down Williams/Vacouver lately? Entire blocks are gone! Drove through it and just gasped - couldn't even point out the little place where we bought our first coffee here in Portland. Good thing people are noticing, but probably a little too late. Fun to tag along on your walk though. Loved that row of Euphorbias outside the condos, and of course the crazy plant place. My kind of gardening!

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    1. Yes! Actually I travel that way frequently and I am always amazed at what I see. I remember all the vacant lots just 5 years ago!

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  19. You do live in an interesting, eclectic city. Similar to Madison, except the climate is much milder. It seems something fabulous is always blooming in your part of the world, no matter what the season. That side garden you showed is really pretty. Great post.

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    1. Thanks PP, an ex-neighbor of ours is from Madison. It sounds like a great part of the world!

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  20. A bit of everything on your walk: the wild, the beautiful and the whaaa?
    The Northwest Neighborhood Association does a pretty good job of holding developers' feet to the fire. Can't fight progress, but might have some effect on how it looks. I have seen the occasional skinny house that I really like, in which case the neighborhood might eventually be referred to (fondly) as "eclectic". I find that preferable to a neighborhood where all houses use the same plan, just flipping it every so often.
    I had a Cistus 'Grace', found at Joy Creek. It also has a lovely single white flower. I lost mine, maybe because I kept it in a big pot.

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