Friday, November 24, 2017

A blue Cousin Itt and surprise Opuntia — pictures from my parent's garden

We spent the weekend of November 11th up in Spokane attending my nephew's wedding (ask me how old that makes me feel, after-all I was there the day that kid was born). I was surprised to see my parents still had their traditional Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata I believe) hanging on the patio...

The next morning it was obvious the color was a bit off. They've been down to 17-F in Spokane already this autumn. Those temperatures make for unhappy Boston ferns.

They also make a Cousin Itt look-alike from blue chalk sticks (Senecio mandraliscae)

Hakonechloa ages gracefully, even with a bit of a haircut.

Saxifraga umbrosa 'Variegata'

Hellebore, already blooming!

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' always looks good in my parent's garden. I'm quite jealous.

As does Bergenia.

This right here is a family tragedy, the cement donkey with his cart as been a fixture in my parents garden since the 1970's. He started out in the garden surrounding the house I grew up in, and then moved here, to this garden, in the mid 90's. Poor guy isn't gonna make it through another winter.

The colors were so vivid during our visit. Spokane can take on a a rather greige tone over the winter, it was nice to be there before that set in.

I only know this as Oregon Grape, not sure which Mahonia it is.

There are the grapes.

Seasonal color from these Chrysanthemums blended right in. Not jarring like some bedding plants can be.

Jarring, but fabulous, Japanese Barberry I believe.

Another great vignette of Sedum and Bergenia.

Yuccas are worth their weight in gold in a colder climate like Spokane (Zone 5-6 depending).

Here Y. filamentosa 'Color Guard' is putting on a little pink for the season.

Somehow my mom manages to grow Phalaris arundinacea var. picta (white ribbon grass) without it taking over.

Here's my current "favorite thing" in their garden. Back in spring of 2016 I planted an Agave and an Opuntia here. On a whim, just for fun. I figured the Agave would be mush once winter came (it wasn't a particularly hardy species) but the Opuntia should have stood a chance of living on. Still it rotted. So sad. But wait! What's that?

Yep, a year later it makes a rebound from the roots.

Lots a spikes on that little guy.

They're scheming on a little winter protection. Cute little thing deserves a chance, don't you think?

Weather Diary, Nov 23: Hi 63, Low 46/ Precip .22'

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


  1. Poor donkey and cart. Perhaps he needs to spend his future winters in a warmer garden in Portland. Sweet pictures of autumn. Go, little opuntia, go. We're all rooting for you.

    1. I think the donkey is bound for cement heaven, unless you'd like to drive over and rescue him...

  2. What a lovely garden your parents have. Their Bergenia is terrific. I need to go see if mine looks half as good. I was just thinking about going shopping for a couple of indoor ferns today as they would not die getting from the shop to the car on this warmer day. I used to have a Boston fern for years. Such a gorgeous plant. I kind of like its damaged color. I am guessing it will rebound.

    1. I think the ferns are destined for the compost pile. It will get much colder there over the coming months and they are so huge there's not space inside for them. My mom did bring in several succulents for overwintering though.

  3. Poor donkey, so sorry to see what happened to him. But your parents garden is lovely and we can see where you took on a good base for being a fab gardener! Happy thanksgiving to you all!

  4. Ah! Cute little Opuntia! Love the color on that Color Guard Yucca, I wish mine looked that good. Does Angelina not do well in your garden? It loves mine, and I love it (or her).

    1. I hear tales of Angelina being so easy for everyone but no, she doesn't love my garden. There's one spot where she's managed to (somewhat) establish but otherwise she just fades away... (sad face)

  5. Yay for the Opuntia! Ouch for the Senecio. I wish I had fall color like that.

  6. I see where inherit your gardening gene. Hooray for Hakonechloa at any stage. Add a little Saxifraga and Angelina and you have a worthy garden for all seasons.

    1. Indeed, that is a carefree — and always good-looking — trio!

  7. I don't know, the donkey looks ok. Can't you just get him a new cart?

  8. The color of those chrysanthemums must blend perfectly with fall foliage. :)
    The Opuntia is delightful! Curiously, I remember discovering a small one (species unknown) on a wooded bluff in the Kansas City area: Zone 6a and plenty of rain, though no doubt the drainage was better up there than in my garden!


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