Monday, October 31, 2016

In a Vase on with their heads! (oh the horror)...

As a result of last summer's Aeonium challenge  I find myself with multiple plants that need to be overwintered. These are from two different containers...

They're such fabulous plants, but I never seem to keep them happy over the long winter months.

So I chopped off their heads!

The carnage continued throughout the garden. Begonia luxurians I love you, but I'll buy a new plant in the spring. Chop.

Paris polyphylla, you look vaguely spider-like. Since you're as good as dead anyway wouldn't you like to be part of my Halloween bouquet?

The finished product...

Aeoniums, Chasmanthium latifolium seed heads, Abutilon megapotamicum 'Red', the Paris polyphylla...

Also a bit of Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' and Sambucus nigra foliage...

When it came time to put the knife to the Aeoniums I discovered many of their petals were already being devoured by the slugs and snails of the garden. Few of them were as unscarred as these...

Looking around the garden I spotted a few more unsuspecting plants who fell victim to my secateurs.

Looks like someone/thing beat me to these...

The small beheaded succulents were stuck in a green orb vase.

I'm emphasizing my ruthless approach to the garden for Halloween fun, but it's based on a desire to not add to the overwintering burden. I can't let these beauties just die in the landscape, but I've got no desire to try to find a spot for them inside.

This may be their last hurrah...

Unless they last so long I can plant them out directly in the soil in the spring.

Here's where the succulent vase ended up, on the dining table, along with a few other items gathered from the garden. Magnolia macrophylla seed cones, early Schefflera brevipedunculata seed-heads...

And a few of the Poncirus trifoliata fruit...

The big vase landed on the mantle, of course. With the same decor you've seen for a few weeks now.

Curious what other Bloggers have cooked up for Halloween? (Eye of newt? Toe of frog? Wool of bat, and tongue of dog?) Or maybe there are end-of-season Dahlias and lovely seed-heads. Either way you'll find links over on Cathy's blog Rambling in the Garden.

Hope you all have a spooky (and fun) Halloween!

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

October Favorites...

Before I decided to include them in my "October favorites" post, these first few photos were destined for a post called "you can't kill those things"... I'll explain...

Those tall trunks belong to my oldest Tetrapanax papyrifer...

But instead of the lush, large, leaves that should be at the top, there is only this.

Not so pretty, eh? During the summer drought I thought I'd give them a nice, deep, watering by just letting the hose run in the tank for awhile. Just a short while! But when I returned I discovered a pond. Standing water that was not draining. I scooped out as much as I could but the damage was done. Over the next few days the large leaves wilted and fell off.

A couple weeks later I had friends over and my dear husband pointed out the sad Tetrapanax tank. Something I was quite happy to have let gone unnoticed, thank you. Sean (yes, Cistus Sean) quickly said "ah, you can't kill those things!" and then went over to give the trunk a shake. At which point one of the remaining leaves broke loose and fell to the ground. As though to tell him otherwise. there is this! While the leaves on my other (in ground) plants are turning a seasonal yellow these are pushing out bright green new growth like it's spring. And not at the top on the trunk but further down.

This same thing has happened previously, when a cold winter killed back the top but new growth pushed out lower. In fact here's where it first happened, in 2010, the "new" trunk on the left is kind of swallowing up the old scar.

And there's another one, further up. I think that growth-point dates to the winter of 2013/14.

I won't cut back the old trunks until spring sometime, this tender growth will be zapped by frost and who knows where it will begin again. The important thing is there's still life in there!

There are also new plants emerging from the soil, something else that has happened when the main plant is cut back over a winter. The moral of this fav? Sean was right, you really can't kill these things!

So...last weekend brought a break in our nearly constant rain and Andrew and I finally got the walls up on the shade pavilion "greenhouse" (I hope not too late, things are very wet!). As I was moving plants inside a brief sunny moment illuminated the Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' growing at the base of the Tetrapanax.


Planting the Sweet Flag here wasn't a considered decision. I was simply removing it from a place it was no longer desired and couldn't just toss it. Looking around I saw bare soil here and thought, why not?

It seems happy.

Stopping to appreciate that "grass" had me then glancing across the patio to the Liriope growing in front of one of the bamboo tanks. All of these plants came from the descendants of a 4"pot I bought at City People's Garden store when I lived in Seattle in the 90's. It grew in a container until finally being set free in 2005 when starting my Portland garden. This strip was planted with divisions during the spring of 2008. I mostly don't think about it when the patio is full of containers, but it shines during the winter, when the patio is empty.

Here's another plant I'm admiring now, with fresh eyes. It's Asplenium bulbiferum, aka mother fern — because of all the babies it produces along its fronds. I bought this on a whim at the Farwest Show in August. Now that it's been potted up and had some of its older (heavy with tiny ferns) fronds removed it's looking really fabulous.

Great texture combined with those dark, dramatic stems.

And finally Coniogramme intermedia ‘Yoroi Musha’. I picked up a pair at Secret Garden Growers last summer. And they're finally getting some size to them. I feel a major fern project coming on...

The stats on all these favs...

Tetrapanax: hardy in USDA Zones 7-10 (can resprout from the ground in colder climates), happy in sun to part shade with regular water (although my plants in the front garden get by on much less water than I would have though possible). Eventually reaching 8-12-ft tall, and spreading under ground to form a small forest (if you're lucky). Blooms late in the fall, but only in mild climates, in my Zone 8 the blooms are typically cut down by a freeze before opening.

Acorus (Sweet Flag): hardy in Zones 5-9, this grass-like perennial enjoys sun to shady conditions where the soil stays moist, even doing well in a bog or at the edge of a pond. Grows 10-12" tall and wide. Small inconspicuous blooms resembling tiny yellow cattails.

Liriope (I believe mine is L. spicata): Zones 5-9, full sun to part shade and regular water. Reaches a foot high but arches gracefully. Will spread underground to form dense patches. Small purple flowers form in the summer. I've heard of people mowing this plant to the ground in the early spring to get rid of the old foliage.

Asplenium bulbiferum: hardy in Zones 9-11 (comes from New Zealand), I'll be bringing this one inside when it gets cold. Thrives in the shade and with ample water, eventually reaching 3-ft tall and wide. I've been trying to get some of the small plantlets (off fronds I cut) to root, but so far they're refusing to do so.

Coniogramme intermedia ‘Yoroi Musha’ (Asian Bamboo Fern): Zones 7-10 and as you would imagine shade and plenty of moisture are required. It's said to reach 3-ft tall and 2-4-ft wide...which would make me very happy.

I'll end this post with a pair of Tetrapanx leaves from my front-garden plants. They're all rapidly coloring up and I enjoy bringing them into the house whenever I've got an empty vase. What are you enjoying in your garden this October?

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wrapping up that trip to Santa Barbara...

It's about time I put a wrap on the July trip to Santa Barbara, don't you think? Just a few random photos to share and I'll be done...

This photo could have been so much better. Andrew was (he said unintentionally) shadowing the wooden Indian's posture, until he saw me walking up and he dropped his arms to start walking with me. I was too slow with the camera.

At least I got the palm tree shadows.

And the palm itself, rather charming.

My what heavy blooms you have!

I never fail to be amazed at the star atop Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla). Such spectacular trees.

Hotel Indigo was not where we stayed, although we had been tempted. Their decor (and plant choices) looked oh-so stylishly modern. The construction next door however didn't bode well for a good night's sleep.

Ah the blue sky with sand and palm trees...maybe there's a reason I waited until (a very rainy) October to post these photos.

No doubt the dolphins are the focus of most photos in this round-about, I however was swooning over those Agave attenuata, maybe A. attenuata 'Nova'?

Where there is sand, there are frequently artists.

These we looked down on from the pier. Of course the goal was to toss a coin and have it land in the bowl, thus rewarding the artists labor.

Similar, but far more "complex"...

It's worth noting we visited Santa Barbara while the Republican National Convention was on, the Democratic convention hadn't yet occurred, thus Bernie was still in the running.

Creative commentary.

I have no idea what this one is about.

I thought for sure if I zoomed in there would be something in those little containers, but no.



Walking back up State Street toward our hotel this vine was amazing, it covered most of the front of Eladio's restaurant, anyone know what it is? UPDATE: Jane Strong replied with the name almost immediately upon this post publishing — Solandra maxima — thank you Jane!

Another angle of the humongous flowers...

And an unopened bud.

"Just" a perfect Agave attenuata..

And another. They're like weeds in this part of the country.

And finally a pair of ginormous Agaves outside of Lotusland, which was the reason for this Santa Barbara visit in the first place (posts here). Thanks Santa Barbara for being just a quick plane ride away. I vow to visit more often...

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