Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lost in a leaf...

Does a single leaf make a vignette? I think so, when there are as many colors and lines as this...

Joining up with the Wednesday Vignette meme hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum.

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The 2015 Ornamental Cabbage and Kale Challenge

I have been rather vocal in regard to my dislike of ornamental cabbage and kale. Like mums and pansies they represent (to me) a gaudy, temporary, celebration of the changing seasons, aka “the end of summer.” However – as you know – we gardeners sometimes change our feelings towards particular plants, even without Hell freezing over first. This photo...

Which I took at Pomarius, had me thinking back to a display I saw at Garden Fever (my local nursery) last winter. They’d planted up a container in front of the store using the dreaded ornamental C&K – and it looked fabulous. Something the talented designers at Flora Grubb would have been proud to call their own. Do I have a photo? No. Wish I did. Instead I’ll share an image of the bad side of OC&K, taken in Tacoma, WA, one April, long after the cabbage and kale should have been composted (or at least cut and used in a vase arrangement). It's this look that helps to give OC&K it's bad name....

Thinking on my changing outlook I decided, what the heck. Why not go all the way and embrace it? By celebrating this symbol of autumn perhaps I could (partially) avoid my sadness over the end of summer? By golly I'm going to plant some OC&K!

Wait a minute, maybe I should invite you all to join me and make this into a challenge...

The 2015 Ornamental Cabbage and Kale Challenge is on!!!!!!!

Who – everyone who wants to participate, you don’t need to have a blog, or even a garden.

What – you plant up an area in the ground, a container, or even do a vase arrangement with cut OC&K stems.

Where – in your house/garden and here – after you create your planting/arrangement take a photo and email it to me (spiky plants at gmail dot com). I'll do a blog post with all the entries. Of course sharing your photos via your own social media channels (and linking to the challenge) is encouraged too.

When – now! The challenge starts now and closes on November 1st. The winner (yes, there will be a winner) will be announced the week before U.S. Thanksgiving.

Why – because summer’s over dammit and I need something to have fun with! A winner will be selected from all the photos received. If so many inspired entries are sent in then maybe there will be more than one winner – like an “in ground planting” winner and a container winner, we’ll see.

What do you win? I’m glad you asked! Of course there is the reward of just being declared "the winner," but I’ll also mail "the winner" a Starbucks gift card so you and a friend can celebrate the season with one of those disgusting pumpkin spice lattes that everyone seems to go crazy for. Or you could switch it up and enjoy my fav, a mocha (nonfat, no whip) with some pumpkin bread. The choice is yours (and no, Starbucks is not sponsoring this challenge).

Oh, I hear you wondering….just who’s doing the judging? Let me introduce our fine panel of judges:

Wes Younie – Garden Designer/Buyer at Pomarius Nursery. Wes is also an artist who shows at the Mark Woolley Gallery in Portland, see his work here.

Nathan Limprecht – the Head Operator of the Retail Division and Partner at Cistus Design Nursery. Nathan draws from a background in horticulture, floral design, and artistic pursuits.

Heather Tucker – she blogs at Just a girl with a hammer and has been called “The Tina Fey of Garden Blogging” (although she says a better comparison might be Dave Coulier). Heather is a lady of great taste and sassy whit.

What will they be judging on? Words like originality, imagination and innovation come to mind. Then again there's the intangible, "wow" factor which will probably loom large. Plus I reserve the right to award a couple of honorary winning titles like "best use of aluminum foil" (should there be such a thing) or "planting most likely to inspire a WWTT post."

Next week I’ll post photos of the OC&K planting in my garden (they're up now - click here to see them), but today I leave you with a little inspiration. This collage is from photos in the current (epic!) issue of Garden Design Magazine

These amazing sphere's are in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living.

And this vase arrangement comes from the blog Desire to Inspire.

And finally photos I took from a 2012 visit to University Village in Seattle. I was still in the "hate" camp then. Now, well, I can see the potential...

So are you in? Get to it! Oh and take a photo and send it to me…spiky plants at gmail dot com. Have fun!

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

Monday, September 28, 2015

In a Vase on Monday, the "Goodbye Neighbors" edition

These (sad, yet beautiful) Hydrangeas grow along our driveway, in a narrow strip of land that belongs to the house next door. With modern zoning and setback regulations this scene would not be repeated in current-day building practices. So as it is they never see the plants and I occasionally feel sorry for them and toss a little water their way. Or not. My own garden is enough work.

The owner of the home and the Hydrangeas has been away for several months, he's had a lovely couple renting from him, last weekend they moved across town. Moving is my worse nightmare, I hate it. Whenever I move one of the first things I do is to buy a few cut flowers, nothing makes a new place feel like home (or takes the focus off the chaos) like a bouquet. I decided a nice arrangement from around "their" old home would be just the thing for our (ex) neighbors to take with them, to welcome them to their new home.

No doubt this volunteer vine is a garden thug, can anyone identify it? It's sprung up around the Hydrangeas and is working it's way forward to the front of the house. I did cut some to use in the vase.

Well, not so much a vase really. This colorful Ball jar held the gift arrangements we were given at a "Field to Vase" dinner back in 2013. I thought the color would go nicely with the Hydrangeas, little did I realize I'd be stuffing that jar so full you wouldn't even be able to see it.

The tiny white flowers belong to Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’, I included a few branches thinking the dark stripe on the leaves would look good with the several dark Canna leaves I'd added.

Instead they basically disappeared.

There's the mystery weed/vine.

Another Persicaria shot.

And the whole mess. I am not particularly thrilled with this creation. I needed something more substantial to balance the Hydrangea balls. I was on the right track with the Canna leaves but then got sidetracked.

Knowing we wouldn't get a chance to say goodbye (and hand over the flowers) until the next day I brought the vase inside and stashed it in our "media room" (aka the second bedroom which we use for TV/computer). Shocking how different indoor lighting makes it all look!

As much as I would have liked to re-make this one it was still nice to hand-off something to the moving neighbors. I should also add that as a infrequent contributor to the "in a vase on Monday" meme I am in awe of those who join up every single week. You're amazing. Always out there looking, cutting and creating.

See all of this week's creations here: Rambling in the Garden.

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Favorite plants, at the end of September

When I realized this was the last Friday of the month I briefly considered calling an end to the “Fav’s of the Month” meme. It’s been a nice long ride but perhaps it was time to put it to bed. Then I went out for an early morning walk around the garden.

Wow, have to share that!
Oh the foliage…
Oh the color…

And so here are my favorite plants in the garden right now, on this, the last Friday of September. Each of these plants are looking especially grand at this moment in time...

Poncirus trifoliata in the background with Amsonia hubrichtii in the foreground.

We're concentrating on the Poncirus today because it's foliage is such a bright golden yellow that I can hardly stand it.

Add in a streak of pink at the base, and the always-present long green thorns, and WOW! This plant is screaming for attention.

Mine's been in the ground since the spring of 2011, I bought it with a strange bend to it's trunk which it's almost overcome (meaning I hardly notice it anymore). Hardy down to USDA Zone 5a this shrub/small tree is credited with a significant size difference in it's potential size: 8-29 ft tall, 6-15 ft wide. It prefers full sun and flowers in the spring. Mine had a couple of delicate white flowers this year but no fruit...

I'm not completely sure this Stapelia is getting monthly fav status, it is however fixing to put on another stinky (fabulous) bloom which is interesting. Especially because with the weather conditions ever-changing it might just open indoors. Yuck.

It's purple coloration has definitely gotten stronger as the nights have gotten cooler.

Oh Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' how beautiful you are, why can't you be perfectly hardy?

I happened upon several in 4" containers at a great price and I bought three. This was the week before my garden was open for a fund-raiser, so I thought they would make plants to squeeze in here and there as filler.

That's exactly what I've used them for, but I've also grown attached.

A local nursery is selling them as hardy in USDA Zone 8 but I'm not buying the idea.

Ian at The Desert Northwest wrote a long essay about cold hardy Grevillea in the Pacific NW, read it all here. This is what he had to say about G. 'Ivanhoe': "And finally, here are a few not to bother with, which I'll mention just because I used to be hopeful that they were hardier, and you may chance across one in a nursery. In the past I had suggested Grevillea aspleniifolia as a possibility for really sheltered gardens. I can't recommend it though because it just doesn't have what it takes to endure temperatures below about 22 - 24°F. Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' seems inclined to croak at about the same point."

So, while I love the foliage...

I'm not married to the idea they'll be here in the spring.

Okay, just one more...Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'...

I have several of this plant but this is the only one on fire, so to speak.

It's only hardy to USDA Zone 10 so it comes inside for the winter. Sun and water stress adds to the color.

These plants, plus the Bocconia frutescens I wrote about earlier in the month, are all standouts in my garden for September. What's looking especially fabulous in your garden right now?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Hilderbrand Garden

Today I'm sharing the 3rd HPSO garden visit Andrew and I made on a hot Sunday back in July. Earlier we'd stopped at the Old Hurlburt School Gardens and then the Hansen-Winter Garden. Both the Hansen-Winter Garden and this garden contain a lot of garden art; statuary and rusted metal. They also are both obvious plant lovers. However the two gardens are very very different...

We parked near the scene above, there was also a barn and a pair of the cutest little ponies. I left Andrew there and followed the pathway into the tall trees...

There was something slightly surreal about a pristine cement pathway in a forest. I couldn't help but wonder what mysteries lie ahead.

Perhaps a basket of alien eggs?

I successfully fought the urge to take the silver spheres out and roll them across the lawn. I really really wanted too...

There were several orange umbrella's scattered around the 2-acre property. On an overcast day I would have thought perhaps they were placed for visitors to keep dry if a rain shower should break out. There wasn't a chance of that on this day. Maybe then as a shade providing device? Nah, the trees were taking care of that.

Then I read this article in the Fall 2014 Pacific Horticulture Magazine. Written by the gardener and homeowner it talks about her art extensive collection. She writes: "Almost every day I have yet another garden art epiphany. Big nylon banners would provide fantastic color and motion! I yearn for the soft evening glow of dozens of solar-powered Chinese lanterns. I would love to install Christo-like swaths of tulle between the 150-foot Douglas fir trees that shade our property. Then I remember the incessantly drifting fir needles that fall from the trees much the way hair falls from our corgi." Perhaps the colorful umbrellas are a nylon banner/glowing lantern compromise?

When I reached the gazebo I was still unable to see the house. Part of me wondered if there even was a house!


Finally, the house!

To get to the back garden I felt like I was walking through the house, but actually I think it was just a covered walkway, at least I hope so - don't want to be trespassing. This grouping was at the back of the house...

And as you've no doubt noticed the harsh shadows made the photographic conditions horrid.

So many places so sit for a spell...

And yes, I loved the orange accents. Talking with Ms. Hilderbrand at a later HPSO event she mentioned that she'd been told orange was now "out"...we both agreed we couldn't care less.

Back out front I hoped to retrace my steps and find my way back to my waiting husband.

And I did. What a garden!

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