Thursday, November 16, 2017

Revisiting the garden of a friend...

I hope my friend Steve won't take offense if I describe him as a casual gardener. While he's got great taste in plants (and everything else) — and has created a super garden around his Beacon Hill (Seattle), home — he's not as plant obsessed as a lot of my friends are. He actually does things besides visit nurseries and obsess about the next must have plant. He might even go several weeks without buying a plant... I know!!! Those people really exist, and I'm friends with one of them!

I visited Steve's place when I was in Seattle a couple weeks back and of course I took pictures. I've already shared a few inside-shots on Instagram, but wanted to share the inspiring garden photos here. Steve's garden is the first place I ever saw the purple/blue fruit of an Akebia vine, it was amazing. Looks like he's since tamed the vine as it's not nearly as massive this year.

Steve's fence design is pure genius for privacy. I first wrote about it in 2010 (here). The Fatsia plantings and baby Trachycarpus soften, but don't obscure, the lines.

Out on the public sidewalk looking in...

Only one of his street-side Yuccca (Y. gloriosa 'Variegata' — maybe?) decided to bloom.

If I recall correctly he said it's bloomed before but the buds never seem to fully open. The show usually stops right about at this stage...

I love the blue creeping conifer patch against the neighbor's fence (no guesses on the ID here).

It's an especially nice pairing with the fern.

And the autumn leaves.

Steve mentioned he'd went on a bit of a Yucca buying spree last summer, they're so easy and always look good.

Yucca baccata is a favorite of mine too, I probably need a couple more.

I have many memories of Saturdays Steve and I spent combing through vintage shops looking for treasures, of course he'd have a fabulous vintage sprinkler.

More Yuccas...

Hmmm. I'll be asking about this little Aloe come spring. I know it wouldn't make it through winter in my garden but Seattle tends to stay a little warmer.

I suspect I'm to blame (or thank, depending on your outlook) for the Tetrapanax pup. I gave him a pup of one of my plants last year and it's planted nearby.

Eryngium pandanifolium I believe (perhaps var. lasseauxii). I miss mine! They got too soggy last winter/spring and rotted out.

Not only did his Hesperaloe bloom but it also set seed. Have any of you successfully started seeds from this plant?

Tomatoes and Opuntia with a Conifer backdrop.

I absolutely love the privacy wall he added to the side of his patio, it definitely has a beachy feel.

Beach balls?

Continuing the theme...

Cement seagull...

And my friends — the flamingos.

Against the back of the house...


My favorite small flax, Phormium 'Tom Thumb'.

Of course I covet this low aggregate planting bowl. It would be the perfect partner for the taller one gifted to me.

Since I visited on November 4th I was too late to see Steve's vintage furniture collection in use in the garden, instead it had been moved undercover on the patio.

Still worth admiring though.

Next year I will definitely plan to visit in high summer. Maybe I'll even successfully talk him into visiting a nursery or two...

Weather Diary, Nov 15: Hi 56, Low 42/ Precip .86"

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


  1. The two of you on a shopping spree could be a dangerous adventure. I believe the creeping conifer is Blue Star Juniper. Slow growing and fantastic color.

    1. Financially dangerous for sure! Thanks for the ID.

  2. Yes, Blue Star Juniper which is painfully sharp when one is clearing leaves out of it. Love the way the front fence sections are offset so the entrance is less obvious. Very clever. That plant you thought might be a yew is possibly Jp. plum yew but I am not positive about that.

    1. Clever and a plus for privacy from the street...and it makes backing out of the driveway easier.

  3. the mystery plant may be a podocarp. but which specie I don't know..

    1. Evan, below, agrees and says "Podocarpus macrophyllus"

  4. I hope that street-side Yucca in bloom is Y. gloriosa 'Variegata'. I bought 2 in 4-inch pots on a whim, then had buyer's remorse when I got more information about their size and proclivity for spreading. They're still dinky specimens but I've moved both to give them more room and control their creep - if the mature plants look like Steve's, I'll be very happy.

  5. Of course people do things other than visiting nurseries. Things like going to plant sales, visiting gardens, and going to garden shows. Love the fences and, of course, the flamingos.

  6. Peter's comment made me laugh. He's spot on.

    I love me some pink flamingos. I need to get another pair.

  7. The conifer against the back of the house is almost certainly Podocarpus macrophyllus. That fence makes a wonderful backdrop for the Fatsias and Trachy.

  8. Your friend Steve has good ideas! Love his fence and screens. (Did you post elsewhere about the surfacing he used on fence? We're thinking thinking thinking of doing the charring method...wonder if he tried it. No biggie if you don't know!)
    I have a Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Maki', still in pot and still looking fabulous, that is one of my favorite things!

  9. Oooh, those chairs. It's okay to be a casual gardener if you've got cool chairs ;)

  10. Hesperaloe is easy to start from seed. Mine germinated after 3 months on top of a pot in a 60-70 degree pot.the germination rate was abysmal though.

  11. Hesperaloe parviflora is easy to grow from seed. (I'm answeting 5 years after you asked ...)


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