Monday, November 30, 2015

In a Vase on Monday - California Dreaming...

Like the simple wreath I posted about last Monday this arrangement is meant to be a pause between the harvest celebration of autumn/Thanksgiving and the full on gift giving, bright and colorful, chaos of Christmas. We went away for Thanksgiving, in fact it's the first time I've celebrated Thanksgiving at home, with my entire family, since we moved to Portland back in 2004. I knew when we returned to Portland I would want my surroundings to be neutral, I got rid of all the pumpkins, gourds and the like before we left. Unfortunately cold weather moved in right as we were leaving (I expect I'll be updating you on that soon) so I didn't mind cutting bits of what could have been (might still be) evergreen garden stars...

The base of the arrangement - Blue Chalksticks. I've long ago forgotten if these are Senecio mandraliscae or Senecio serpens. Whichever it is I've kept a 4" plant purchased years ago going and going. I simply take cuttings each autumn, plant them up indoors and then plant them out each spring. That one plant has now morphed into multiple flats like what you see below.

If I lived in the warm parts of California that Senecio could take over my garden in no time. And I'd probably have Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'/aka Fox Tail Fern growing right along with it. So working with my "California Dreaming" theme I cut a few of those "tails"...after all mid 20's were expected...who knew if it would live?

And since I needed a third element, Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea'. Another sure-fire plant in Zone 9, not so much here in Zone 8.

The end result is exactly what I was hoping for. Something that takes me away to warmer points south...

I'm sure it's too much to hope for but what the heck, maybe the fragrant flowers of the Acacia might open?

Those with eagle-eyes may have noticed (from the first photo, above), I've re-purposed the Echeveria cuttings that were used in the orange bowl a few weeks ago.

It was time to take it apart, and look...they were already rooting! They are starting to etiolate however - no matter what I do I cannot keep Echeveria happy over the winter, just not enough light. So you know what, I don't worry about it! I just enjoy them while I can.

I also reused the Kalanchoe pumila cuttings from the orange bowl.

And here's a little tip. The Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' and Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' both need water to stay looking their best. However I was afraid the Senecio (Blue Chalksticks) would rot in water. My solution was to use a wooden chopstick, embedded in the bottom of the Chalkstick cutting, to keep them above the waterline.

It worked! No rotting.

Here's a close up of the vase I used this week. Another ancient thrift store find that I know nothing about, other than that I love it.

As you probably know by now - the invitation to share stems from your garden on Monday is the creation of Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. There you will find links to all the bloggers participating this week.

With our cold weather I am indeed California Dreaming...while also preparing for a Christmas makeover. Details of the Poinsettia Challenge will be posted tomorrow!

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

Visiting Grand Marketplace

Grand Marketplace, here in Portland, recently celebrated it's second anniversary. I know because I was there the day before the big party. I am a little embarrassed to admit it had been just about two years since I'd last visited. Where does the time go?

I hadn't intended to write about my visit but the planters out front kind of begged to be photographed.

Then when I stepped inside there was more plant goodness (uhm, Agave!)...

I'd never seen an Osage orange until I moved to Portland (and that was in a flower shop). Andrew tells me they grew on his family farm back in Nebraska. The wood is extremely dense and can withstand years in the ground without rotting - hence it's great for fence posts.

So I thought it particularly apt that I write about my visit to the Grand Marketplace today, on Back Friday. This is the kind of gift shopping that thrills me. Not at the mall, fighting for the latest accessory or electronic device. Instead a plant or one-of-a-kind vintage find...that's what makes my heart sing.

So many treasures!

This I want. As in I really want.

I need to go back and check the price and start scheming.

These I want to make!

Paper flowers, how beautiful.

And I see there is a financial incentive for making my own!

I'm still noticing ornamental cabbage and kale everywhere!

There was a time when I would have moved heaven and earth to have owned this. I still love it, but don't need it...

What a life-like statue! Ha, no, that's the real thing - and he's quite the character.

Good good stuff...

$175 and that fabulous aluminum chair can be yours...

I've written a lot about Digs on Alberta. Well there's another location here at the Grand Marketplace.

Little did I know she's carrying Bauer reproductions! I wonder if they're at the main shop too?

Love that Tillandsia! I hope you can find a soul feeding (rather than soul depleting) place to shop for the holidays...

A note for those expecting to see my "favorite plants" end of the month wrap-up today. I've decided to put the fav's on hiatus for the rest of the year, since the last Friday of November falls on Black Friday, and on Christmas next month. The fav's feature will be back in on January 29, 2016. Thank you!

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015


I intended this to be a list of all that I am thankful for. I did write it out as such and thought long and hard about each and everything as I wrote. Doing so was a great exercise and one that brought tears to my eyes when I realized how damn lucky I am. But the list became long and very personal, I'm not really comfortable sharing it here, in its entirety.

I do want to say, however, as I wrote I realized my list was built upon one, completely random incident: I had the luck to be born in a part of the world that rarely sees natural disasters and is largely free of life-threatening violence. This is at the very base of all that I am thankful for.

I spend a great deal of time and energy photographing and writing about plants and gardens. Energy that, if I had been born in another time or place, I might spend just trying to stay alive. What a luxury! Through those photos and words I've developed many online friendships, and have a wonderful group of readers. Sharing my love of plants with you, and hearing your thoughts in return, makes my heart happy. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, Happy Peaceful Day to the rest of the world.
Thank you for reading!

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Vignette - how lucky I am to be a gardener

Walking around the garden one morning I stopped in front of the Melianthus major 'Antonow's Blue' and looked at it, I mean really looked at it. Soaked the whole thing up. I am plant rich, and I love everyone of them. Yet in that moment this was the only plant I needed. I hope you occasionally feel that way too.

Visit Flutter & Hum for links to all the bloggers sharing vignettes today.

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How us crazy folk deal with winter

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know that our shade pavilion (pictured below) undergoes a transformation in the winter months and becomes an enclosed, sort of, greenhouse (details on that process here).

This is what it looks like now. That small black device is an electric heater that gets used on our coldest nights. There's also a fan setting which I occasionally use to circulate the air.

It's a makeshift greenhouse, but it's served me well.

Things stay dry and a touch warmer.

The concrete block and wood shelving leaves a lot to be desired aesthetically, but is extremely functional. Easy to tear down and store in the spring, and can be customized as needed.

Things less hardy go down to the basement and spend their winter hunkered down under lights.

This began as a way to overwinter Agaves and other succulents but as you can see other plants are starting to creep into the mix - like my non-hardy Passiflora.

But enough about me! As you've probably realized there are a few of us Portlanders who push our USDA Zone and thus have had to come up with creative ways to deal with winter.

Does this garden look familiar? I first posted about it here, and then again in the "great container count" on the plant lust blog. This is what it looked like when I visited on November 12th. Pretty darn good right?

This visit was the first time I was really able to see the Monkey Puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), there usually so many other fantabulous plants everywhere that I get distracted.

Yes it was raining, yes Eric and I were wandering the garden with wine, what can I say? Here I'm trying to give you an idea of the scale of this huge pot. You can also see it above, behind the black metal furniture. There had been a humongous Brugmansia in there, it was pulled and put into the greenhouse.

And there's the greenhouse. It's a garage conversion that Eric did himself. There are windows on the side, behind the Passiflora vine and on both sides of the roof.

Let's take a peek inside...

Pretty magical isn't it?

In my (much smaller) shade pavilion greenhouse the Agaves are all towards the back, where I can't easily reach, because they'll only need watering once, maybe twice, over the winter.

Once again scratch and sniff computer screens would be handy, it smelled so good in there!

Eric has an electric heater that he fires up as the temperatures drop. He's also got a back-up propane heater if things get really dire.

One more look back, as we head outside.

Where poor little Rusty is ready to head indoors where it's dry and warm.

Oh wait, I have to stop and admire the Manihot grahamii.

And the smallest Schefflera taiwaniana ever...

Inside Eric's house more plants are overwintered on the sun porch.

I believe what comes inside are the less cold hardy ones, and of course some smaller guys.

There's also a future forest of exotic Brugmansia rooting.

Amazing blooms, lots of doubles, in the future here at Felony Flats Botanical Garden - the slightly tongue-in-cheek name Eric, and his partner Robert, have given their fabulous garden.

Moving on to another Portland Garden some of you might recognize, Floramagoria. I've written about it, it was part of this last summer's Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend, and a stop on the 2014 Garden Bloggers Fling.

This is a shot Craig shared on Facebook once the greenhouse was filled up before a freeze...

And a cover he constructed to keep the in-ground (presumably cold-hardy) things dry. Craig says: "it's PVC framework anchored by rebar with a polycarbonate sheet on top and sides. Can also be enclosed if we get severe weather"...

Cool right?...Okay now we're visiting Chris Mitchell's overwintering set-up. We visited her garden last August as part of the HPSO/Garden Conservancy pre-tour (I would be remiss not to include a link to the plant lust blog post I wrote about her Agaves: here).

Chris says: "These pots are all in the garage, some under the table. I have a "freezer" heater that heats up when temperature drops to 35 degrees. Otherwise they are not lit much, and watered very little until I put them back out in the spring."

I wonder if there's still room for a car? Ah well, either way the Agaves are safe and that's what really matters.

Finally I'm including another set-up, this in the garden of Lance Wright (summer photos here and here) He's experimenting this year by enclosing an area off the back of his house, near the hot-tub. He also pulls things under the eaves (to stay dry) and into the basement where they can go dormant but stay above freezing.

I hope these images have given you some ideas if, like us crazy folk, you're trying to overwinter things that don't like the cold and wet of where you live. Questions? Feel free ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.

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