Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Things you really should be doing – if you're in the Portland area

It’s summer! I know, not technically – but Memorial Day serves as an unofficial startling line and I’m happy to celebrate it. And you know what…there is so much going on right now! The next two months are filled with gardeney goodness and you really should be partaking…

First of all it’s sticky beak season! You know, open gardens. Who doesn’t like to get out there and take a peek at what other people are up to? Stick your nose in where it doesn’t "usually" belong…but it’s been invited! What could be better?
The garden of Vanessa Garder Nagel – one of the Garden Conservancy gardens in 2016, photo from my visit in 2013 
Coming up on Saturday June 11th is the annual Garden Conservancy/Hardy Plant Society of Oregon open garden day. This year the tour features five gardens in Clark County, WA (you know...just across the bridge). If you're a HPSO member and buy your ticket in advance (til June 3rd) it's $20, non members pay just $25. The day of the tour (at the gardens) it's $30, still a bargain!
The garden of Vanessa Garder Nagel – one of the Garden Conservancy gardens in 2016, photo from my visit in 2013 
On Saturday June 18th it's the annual ANLD (Association of Northwest Landscape Designers) garden tour. This year the tour will visit seven gardens on Portland's east side. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or: at Garden Fever, Portland Nursery, Al's Garden Center (Sherwood location only) and Cornell Farm.

But for the ultimate in garden touring though you really need to become a HPSO member. Why? Because for the paltry amount of $35 you get (among other things) a member book that has the addresses of multiple open gardens every single weekend from now through September. Yes, seriously. Just imagine getting to visit these gardens and many many more! (the name is linked to my prior visits to these gardens)...

Linda Ernst and Joanne Fuller June 6th
Jim Gersback June 12th and August 14th
Old Hurlburt School Gardens June 18th
Beth Hansen-Winter and Merideth Hilderbrand June 18th and 19th
Bob Hyland June 19th and July 25th
Eric Peterson July 10th
John Kuzma July 16th
Thomas Vetter August 6th
Vignette from the garden of Linda Ernst, during a visit in 2013
Vignette from the garden of Beth Hansen-Winter, during a visit in 2015
Vignette from the garden of Eric Peterson, during a visit in 2014
Vignette from the garden of Eric Peterson, during a visit in 2014
Then there are the events...here's a list of the Hardy Plant Societies upcoming events, some are open only to members (join already!) some are open to all. First up are the "after-hours" events at local nurseries. Previous after-hours gatherings have occurred at Cornell Farms, Garden Fever and Cistus. The next event is coming up at Xera Plants and Contained Exuberance on Thursday, June 16th at 6pm (details).
photo from a Pacific Horticulture event at Xera and Contained Exuberance 
The next up after that is at Thicket in NE Portland on July 14th and then Sebright Gardens on August 20th.
Photo from a visit to Thicket in  2012
And deserving of special recognition (and excitement!) is "Fergus Fair"...3 days worth of events in July via the Hardy Plant Society. From their website: "HPSO proudly announces the visit to Portland of Fergus Garrett, head gardener and CEO of Great Dixter House and Gardens, one of England's most famed and beloved gardens and the home of the late Christopher Lloyd.  Fergus perpetuates the groundbreaking work of Lloyd, his mentor, and at the same time leads Dixter in new and exciting directions only dreamed about by Lloyd while he was still alive.  Together with is staff and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, Fergus maintains Dixter's pivotal role in educating and inspiring passionate gardeners around the world.  A frequent speaker and leader of intensive workshops, Fergus is an accomplished teacher.  His knowledge of plants and planting techniques, along with his charming personality and willingness to share information, makes him an exciting presenter."

Fridays's workshop is already sold out but there is still room available at Saturday's program: "Designing with Plants the Great Dixter Way" and the special event later: "An Afternoon with Fergus Garrett" (details here page down to July 23rd). Sign up already! What are you waiting for!

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, May 30, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: an unusual opportunity

A particularly wet weekend had the lower branches of our Magnolia macrophylla bending down to the point even I (at 5ft 3in) had to duck to walk under them. I had to admit it was time to at least prune the loopy bits off the main branches. The fact two of the three had big luscious flowers on them was a huge bonus and of course you know they went into a vase.

Andrew would have liked to remove the three lower branches in their entirety, I wasn't about to go for that.

The largest leaf on the bits we cut was just over 2ft long, not including the petiole.

The flowers are about 19" across.

I loved the opportunity to examine them up close, taking in the details...

And the subtle fragrance.

Their size was somewhat cartoonish, but in a good way (note the sleeping dog on the couch, she was not impressed).

This has been a very good year for flowers on the tree, it's simply covered in them. They've been opening for weeks now and there are still several in the swelling bud stage.

I'm joining up with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for Monday's In a Vase meme, click on over to see what other gardeners have created.

For my American readers I hope you'll take a moment this Memorial Day to remember those that have lost their lives in service to our country. It's so easy to get caught up in the day as a BBQ holiday that kicks off the beginning of summer. There's nothing wrong with enjoying those things, but I also want to specifically send out my appreciation to all the families that don't have their loved ones with them today, I am sorry and I thank you and your brave family members.

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"Red Sky at Night"...favorite plants at the end of May

As assembled this post I couldn't help but hear my dad reciting the old rhyme "red sky at night, sailors' delight, red sky at morning sailors take warning" it's one of those childhood memories that takes me back...

But of course we're here to talk about plants.

I picked this beauty up at last weekend's Rare Plant Research open house and sale.

It's a pineapple, and as many plants at RPR are it was unlabeled. Still I had to have it. A little research has lead me to believe it's Ananus lucidus or Ananas lucidus 'Lava Burst'.

It is a beautiful plant, both the top and bottom of the leaves have incredible detail. Naturally it's not hardy here in Portland so it will be living the life of a container plant, winters indoors, summer on the patio. Hopefully I can give it the light it needs to stay this vibrant color.

While admiring my new purchase I got to thinking about the fact there are a few other reds in my garden that I've been appreciating...and thus my May favorites post was born. It's no secret that I have a passion for dark purple/burgundy/black foliage but now it appears red is also making it's way into my heart.

On the left is a new-to-me NOID Bromeliad, on the right is Woodwardia unigemmata. I am quite obsessed with this fern that puts out new growth in shades of red. Isn't it fabulous!?

It can get quite large too, with plants eventually reaching 2-ft tall and 5-6-ft wide. Ya, I may not have properly taken that size thing into account when I planted it.

Oh and get this, small baby ferns are produced at the leaf tips!

The Bromeliad was picked up at a private plant sale a few weeks back. Word went out that a local gardener was moving and needed to sell plants, garden art, and tools. I looked back through my photos to see if there was anything I had to have and remembered how taken I was with this plant...and it was there waiting for me, now it's mine. Score!

Next to it is that Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’ I picked up earlier in the month. Now it's true purple is the dominant color but...

There are reddish tones.

This one is hardy to USDA Zone 5 and prefers part shade. It's also a slug magnet, something I've overcome so far (knocks on wood) by planting it in a container set on gravel.

The new growth on Epimedium wushanense leans to red (zones 5-9, shade).

And while Podophyllum 'Red Panda' is a little less red now...

It was redder earlier in the season (hardy to zone 7, shade, likes moist soil)

Mammillaria spinosissima 'rubrispina' (aka "Red Headed Irishman") picked up from Alison at a recent plant swap.

And the new growth on my Rhododendron 'Ebony Pearl'...decidedly red, which will fade to a dark purple with time (zones 6-9, part shade, even moisture).

Another NOID Bromeliad, with a red blush.

And finally a couple of stressed succulents, showing their displeasure with a red face. This an unlabeled Aloe via IKEA...

And my spiky Aloe marlothii.

What plants are looking lovely in your May garden? Please tell us about them!

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Garden of Jeffrey Bale

It was with anticipation and curiosity that I visited the garden of Jeffrey Bale here in Portland. I've seen several photos and imagined it to be a densely planted, colorful oasis. But truth be told, I was also a little apprehensive.

This garden was on tour last summer and I heard from many people who were disappointed. I was not, disappointed.

I visited on a rainy afternoon in May, which I think might just be the perfect time. The foliage was lush and dripping, the rocks extra colorful. Last summer's tour was in August after a long, hot, dry summer.

This metal arch frames the entry.

Rusted metal acts as a screen from the neighbors yard as well as a nice backdrop.

Arachniodes simplicior ‘Variegata’ looks great against the rust, and in the rain.

On the opposite side of the entry...

Jeffrey owns two houses next door to each other, so the gardens kind of run together.

Fabulous hell-strip Yucca!

This is the path leading around to the back garden, unfortunately I cut off part of the snakes head!

I guess I should have explained that Mr. Bale is a mosaic artist, as well as a garden designer. He recently gave a talk for our local Hardy Plant Society. Since I've read his blog for awhile now I thought the talk would be a good one and it was. The images he shared were absolutely gorgeous, I could have sat there and listened to him talk of his travels and garden-making for hours. This blog post of his talks a little about his garden and some of the others he's worked on.

I honestly didn't think I would like this wall as much as I did.

I captured just an edge of the tub, on the far right. There is hot water available for cool weather bathing and a cover is placed over it to convert to a bed when the need arises. The gravel is covered with rugs when it's not raining.

There is so much to see...

Here in this garden, as when I visited the gardens of Shirley WattsKeeyla Meadows and Marcia Donahue, the extreme ornamentation doesn't detract from the garden...it is the garden. My negative feelings about "garden art" don't apply when what's on display is the work of the garden's creator.

I'm afraid that sounds horribly nonsensical and a little snobbish but there you have it.

I was lucky enough to see inside both houses too – and while there was a lot that I'd love to share – I'll limit it to just the creative tile work in this bathroom.

Pretty fabulous no?

Back out on the front porch it's time to bid farewell, and I must admit the layers of objects and strong colors had me worried my house and garden was going to feel mighty boring by comparison...

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.