Friday, April 28, 2017

Month-end Favs, for April: the surprise survivors

Here were are again, it's the last Friday of the month, and that means a chance to look at a few of my favorite plants in the garden. This month I'm not focusing on things because they're looking especially good, in fact many of those featured are just hanging on, but they're survivors. Each of them made it through a winter that, by all accounts, should have done them in, and certainly did take away several of their neighbors.

Salvia clevelandii 'Alpine Form' — I've lost this plant in lesser winters, so I was thrilled to see those sticks pushing out new growth. While this plant does send up small purple flowers that's not why I love it, instead it's the "powerfully fragrant" leaves. On a sunny morning brushing up against them releases scent that sends me to warmer climates...

Another plant I grow for the fragrant leaves, Salvia apiana. In close-quarters (think a car on a warm day) this can be too much of a good thing, but in the garden it's heavenly. The big white leaves are dramatic, and if it blooms it's rumored to be quiet the bee attractor. It is also very picky about drainage, so the fact it's pushing on despite our record breaking rains is quite amazing.

While worrying about my Agaves this winter I didn't even stop to thing about the Echinocereus triglochidiatus v. gonacanthus hybrid. Amazingly it's still solid. It's not the most beautiful Cactus ever, well...

...until it does this...(bloom from last summer)...dare I hope for more this summer?

Having lost one of these in the winter of 2013/14 I never would have believed my Banksia marginata would make it through.

Especially since this one is in front of the house, where the cold east wind whips through and completely defoliated my Pineapple Guava (Acca sellowiana, which by the way are showing signs of new growth)...

Grevillea rivularis, why isn't this plant more popular?

It's proven itself in my garden. Through heat and lack of water, and now cold and too much water.

There are buds forming too!

Another Grevillea, G. x gaudichaudii. This is one of those plants that seasoned local gardeners have all grown and lost. I thought for sure my plants were doomed. Yet all three are still alive, this one in the front garden...

And this and another in the back.

Hopefully those great leaves will be joined by bright magenta and purple tooth-brush shaped flowers this summer.

Rounding up the Grevillea surprises is G. juniperina ‘Molonglo’...

I thought for sure this one was a gonner, I lost multiple plants the last time we had a cold winter. Nope. Didn't even phase it. Right plant right place? It's more protected here, than the ones I previously grew in the front garden.

A pretty picture this is not. The upper stems of my Correa backhouseana were fried, but the foliage remains on the lower parts. I am hopeful this means there will be new sprouts as our weather warms.

Lupinus albifrons lives on!

Well one of them does anyway. This one broke off during one of the ice storms, and hasn't sprouted any new growth. Another lost most of it's leaves from the ice and was bent at an awkward angle, I cut it back too, and that seems to have been the end of it.

But at least one of them is still happy.

With lots of new growth.

Back in 2015, when I excitedly announced my first plant purchase of the year was Ceanothus griseus horizontalis 'Diamond Heights', it seemed every Portland gardener on Facebook piped up to let me know they'd lost it after a bad winter. So imagine my surprise when I saw not one...

But both of my plants pushing out new leaves. I love that green on green (or gold, to some) foliage...

That bit of happiness was just the push I needed to yank out my (disliked and deformed) Ceanothus impressus ‘Victoria’ and replace it with Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Zanzibar'. Hopefully it has years of happy-bee blooms ahead of it!

So those are my month-end favorites, a few happy surprises after a lot of garden sadness. What's making you happy in your garden at the end of April?

Weather Diary, April 27: Hi 56, Low 42/ Precip .08"

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Back to Salem and my visit to the Cornwell Garden

On the final day of the Salem Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend, last June, I toured this garden, in Woodburn, OR, just north of Salem...

From the tour brochure..."Started in 1986, "Clementine" is a small city garden created with frugal acquisitions and recycling of both plant and structural materials. This garden was reclaimed ground from a distressed dog-run, boasting several large historic "anchor" trees and shrubs that surround a rented and sadly-neglected 1912 Craftsman bungalow. Living in the core area of the city is difficult, but with "dirt" in my blood (grandpa was a Dust Bowl farmer and daddy an undertaker), I couldn't let one square of aesthetic possibility go unimproved. My father would often refer to my efforts as "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear" but it didn't deter me. Gardening brings balance and purpose to my world. As time and relationships evolved, so did my plant acquisitions and garden hard-scaping. There is a purpose, story, and memory related to most every notion in my "outdoor" rooms. I decorate my outdoors like I do my indoors — a colorful gypsy caravan palate with a tapestry of plants, flowers, and found objects. I declare no "theme" — the plants tell me where they fit best aesthetically — sometimes wrongly — yet the spirit of the home and garden is real and I am its current caretaker. Of special note are the monstrous Catalpa tree in the backyard, the hell-strip plantings, and the beauty of the restored home."

The hell-strip was indeed worth noting. In fact it was a whole entire garden into itself, squeezed into a small strip.

Walking into the shady back/side garden I wasn't sure what to expect...

But was completely enthralled with this rectangular pond/bog.

The patina of time helped to amp up the beauty.

Shady spaces can be so magical.

The mossy flagstone/paver area added emensly to the charm.

Dierama blooms.

Thankfully it wasn't all shade.

Time to exit and walk around the other side...

I loved the gravel driveway, but didn't get a chance to ask the gardener about it (damaged concrete? No concrete?).

I believe this was a family heirloom. Or maybe I just made that up, it was 9 months ago that I visited.

A shady pavilion just off the driveway...

And a chance to eat among the plants.

There are so many great gardens out there to discover...

Weather Diary, April 26: Hi 58, Low 42/ Precip .21

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday Vignette, perfect pairing

I found this plant and pot in an out of the way corner at the Desert Botanical Garden...

The poor Agave has seen better days, and getting it out of the container looks next to impossible. It wasn't just planted in there, it's like the container was made around it, almost as though they've grown together. There's something about this combo that has stuck with me over the months since my visit. It's a perfect paring of plant and pot. They have become one.

Weather Diary, April 25: Hi 54, Low 45/ Precip .15"

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I got to go to the Getty!

Family time, during our January trip to the Los Angeles area, meant visiting somewhere with multiple levels of interest (not just plants). Enter the Getty Center, art, architecture and gardens = something for everyone! Oh and it's free...

Contrary to what it looks like I didn't wait until just the right moment to capture the plaza without people. And there were plenty of people there that day. I guess I just got lucky.

While Andrew and family headed right indoors I headed towards the gardens. Specifically for the tour of the Central Garden and grounds.

Everything came to a screeching halt when I saw this.

The Central Garden is huge, that entire "green-space" in the center, below. How could it be closed?

What the hell? There were some clouds, some rain the day before, but no rain on this day.

There was a security guy in a suit with a ear-piece, like he was secret service, standing at the entrance to the garden. I laughed at the sign and then turned to him for an explanation. Evidently when there has been strong rain some of the soil runs across the paths, the lawn gets wet. They don't want people getting their shoes "muddy" and then walking into the art galleries. I am sorry, but not sorry, that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

You could walk up to the garden, but just not into the garden. I made a point of getting a little beyond the closed sign while I took pictures. Nobody seemed to care (although the security guy kept his eyes on me), and my shoes didn't get dirty.

Melianthus and Dyckia, that's a combination you don't see every day. Well, unless you live in L.A.

Dangerous paths ahead!

Look at all that mud.

The plants seemed happy.

I wonder how long these have been in the ground? Do they change them out seasonally?

Firesticks, indeed.

Finally, coming to terms with the fact I was not going to step foot into the Central Garden itself, I decided to see what I could see by climbing up the stairs and stopping at the various view points along the buildings.

Wow! That's all sorts of sexy fabulous. A Cordyline?

The Bougainvillea covered arbors have long been a fascination of mine. I still can't believe I was so close, and yet not allowed to get near them.

They're amazing! From the Getty's website: "(Robert) Irwin began planning the Central Garden in 1992, as a key part of the Getty Center project. Since the Center opened in 1997, the Central Garden has evolved as its plants have grown and been trimmed. New plants are constantly being added to the palette. Irwin's statement "Always changing, never twice the same" is carved into the plaza floor, reminding visitors of the ever-changing nature of this living work of art."

"Always changing, never twice the same" that seems about right for a garden.

Moving on I had to smile (smirk?) when I saw these. They're Arbutus unedo, aka the strawberry tree.

They produce hundreds of small fruit which ripen to look like a round strawberry. Then they fall to the ground. Where they can be stepped on. Their red fruity pulp then can be tracked into the pristine art galleries on the bottom of visitors shoes...well unless there's a security guard nearby to pick up every fallen fruit.

Okay, take a deep breath. Don't be bitter. Bitter isn't healthy...deep breath...

Moving on...isn't this a lovely vignette?

I do love Bougainvillea.

Aha! Finally.

We're at the desert garden, the garden you can't ever walk into, but rather look at from above. I've seen oh so many photos of this, but seeing it in person is so much better.

It is a little difficult to get a true sense of the scale when your looking down, and out, at the plants. But they must be huge.

The rains look to have caused the weeds to sprout. I would have loved to volunteer to go out there and weed, really...

A memorable image indeed.

But there is more to see...

Aloe trees!

With a Senecio carpet.

I could have spent a lot more time photographing the architecture, but this is a garden blog after all...

Sometimes the plants become architecture...

Imagine those Echium in bloom, blue bloom, against that white wall and with a blue sky. Must be breathtaking.

I've been down there, on the 405, many a time. It's nice to finally be up here, looking down.

In case you're wondering, I did make it into a couple of the galleries. I was particularly excited to visit the "7,000-square-foot Center for Photographs in the West Pavilion" but was rather disappointed in the exhibit on display. Oh well, my visit was really all about the plants, and just like a visit a museum they were to be looked at from a distance, and not touched.

Weather Diary, April 24: Hi 54, Low 44/ Precip 1.05"

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.