Monday, May 21, 2018

Who did it first?

Strolling down E. 4th St, on our first evening Austin, Andrew and I spotted these excellent dish planters. Before I could say anything he said "they stole your idea!" Ha, he's great that way, assuming the best from me, like I could possible be the one to have come up with such a fabulous design.
No I simply put my spin on it, with the materials I could find (photos here, if you're unfamiliar with mine). I do wonder though, who did it first? I tend to think it may have been the Big Red Sun (see photos of their signature steel dishes here), a design company / retail shop originally based in Austin, but now in Venice, CA. And since these are in downtown Austin I wonder if they are from the Big Red Sun?

Whatever the case I love them, and applaud their cramscaping ways.

People often look at my dish planters and worry about the shallow area for roots, ha! Mine have nothing on these, with those tall Yucca rostrata.

The Agave 'Sharkskin' look to have been a little abused.

But wow, I would really like to have these in my garden!
When I sat down to write this post I wanted to check my memory that we really were walking down E. 4th St, so I pulled up Google Maps. Then I realized Google street view might show a better photo of the installation my images, since since mine were all severe close-ups. Then things really got fun when I traveled back in time to see how it all began. Here's a screen-shot from June 2009, I see sweet potato vine, pencil conifers and pink flowers...

March 2011, one of the conifers has dissappeared...

And the planters finally show up in February of 2014, but with Agaves and cement balls!

June 2014

July 2014 — and note — it looks like the same plants have been in the dish planters all along.
April 2015
And January 2017, the most up to date image on Google street view. The Agaves seem to be shrinking, maybe that's why they were replaced with purple Dyckia and barrel cactus?
Weather Diary, May 20: Hi 72, Low 54/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Welcome to the jungle...

This is roughly my view as I open my eyes each morning and look out our bedroom window. The softly arching foliage belongs to Metapanax delavayi.

Once I drag myself out of bed and walk over to look out the window this is the view. The Metapanax only gets better the more of it you see. And to think, I paid just $2 for a 14" tall, deformed twig, at the 2010 Cistus Tough Love Sale and it's grown into this...

Down on ground level, having just walked into the back garden, the Metapanax view isn't quite as dramatic. In fact the Schefflera delavayi may steal the show, along with the Polygonatum odoratum and Schefflera brevipedunculata.

But what really matters is the Metapanax delavayi is helping to block the view of U.G.L.Y. — aka our neighbor's garage painted two wall colors and two trim colors for a total of four headache inducing shades of bad (detailed here). Once you're down on the patio level U.G.L.Y. is really obscured. In fact, it's a jungle!

I look back at photos of when this area was newly planted (that would be spring 2014, prior to 90 garden bloggers visiting that summer....) and I cringe. It was all so little. The jungle effect is what I was always after...

Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon' is both a star, and a thug. I love it's dramatic foliage, but it's already 5ft tall, and it's only May! It will continue to grow and sometime in July I'll hack it back and it will (hopefully, always has) regrow to a manageable 3ft or so.

I still love the variegated Daphniphyllum as much as the day I bought it, maybe even more. I'm so glad it's carefree because I've lavished no TLC upon it.

Tall plants!

The Paulownia tomentosa was hacked back to manageable size earlier this spring. It's exciting to watch new growth explode from what looks like dead wood. I think this may be the last year it's pollarded and next year we may go for the more drastic coppice.

The non-variegated Daphniphyllum macropodum (on the left, below) has definitely settled in and is looking fabulous, putting on tons of new growth (another photo from a different angle follows in a bit). The Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' also gets cut back severely in early spring, and quickly regrows a substantial amount of that dark lacy foliage. Barely visible behind all that is an Eriobotrya japonica (Loquat) that's actually large enough now to provide an evergreen screen (hence my thoughts on coppicing the Paulownia).

Smashed into all the jungly goodness is Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' — a very special plant that deserves a bigger spotlight than it's getting in my garden. Its new growth is amazing.

Here's that Persicaria at eye level...
And surrounded by a random Grevillea victoriae that I stuck in the mix, but never thought it would amount to much. Thankfully it's getting tall enough to get some real sun and might actually bloom.

Daphniphyllum, again.

And again (I do rather adore this plant)...

And before we can back away from the jungle, proper love must be paid to the Quercus dentata 'Pinnatifida’ (Cutleaf Emperor Oak)... cause it's so cool!

Weather Diary, May 17: Hi 68, Low 55/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"The Desert Next Door" — my garden is in Sunset Magazine's June issue!

I like to think of it as a little Ruth Bancroft magic. Back in August of 2016 I attended the the media preview party for The Bold Dry Garden, the fantastic book from Timber Press on Ruth and the garden she built. Johanna Silver, the books's author, and at that time garden editor for Sunset Magazine, was there and we chatted. One of the things we talked about was my garden — she brought it up, really! Johanna kept in touch and then pitched my story to the decision makers at the magazine, they loved it, especially my then and now post from October of that year.

Nearly a full year later, last July 29th — a scorchingly hot one, as luck would have it — Sunset flew a crew of three up from the Bay Area and they spent the day photographing my garden. I was told the article would run in the May 2018 issue. I shelved my excitement and got on with things. In the following months Sunset was sold, Johanna and Sunset parted ways, and I thought my story would be filed in the "oh well, we thought it was a good idea" bin. But nope, it's real!

The two page spread as it appears in the magazine...

The June issue hits the news-stands tomorrow, Friday May 18th. The article is also available online, here, but the online version has a different headline: "How to Grow a Desert Garden Anywhere". I'm kind of giddy about the print headline: "The Desert Next Door", it just makes me smile.

And again, the two page spread...


It was an interesting process; seeing what caught the eye of their photographer, Thomas J Story, working with the writer Elizabeth Jardina, and senior garden editor Mike Irvine. The layout must have morphed a dozen times as they asked for plant IDs in a handful of photographs one day, only to be followed by more the next (many of which don't show up in the 5 page story). But, it's gonna be on newsstands tomorrow...and I'm thrilled!

Weather Diary, May 16: Hi 65, Low 55/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wednesday Vignette, I will attempt to replicate this

Austin, TX, isn't the only place I've visited recently — I spent a couple days toward the end of April in Davis, CA. The Pacific Horticulture Society board of directors met at the UC Davis campus and I got to spend a night at Gerhard's place. There will be a future post with photos of his amazing garden, but in the meantime I had to share this vignette I spotted on campus, as he was touring me through some of his favorite spots. Isn't it gorgeous?

Echium wildpretti and Tradescantia pallida, a match made in heaven.

We saw Tradescantia pallida all over Austin (it's a weed!) but I don't remember seeing a single Echium. This is a singularly Davis vignette, although dammit I am going to replicate it in my garden...however brief the magic may be (neither are reliably hardy here).

Of course the drama goes up about ten notches when the Echium blooms.

Can you even? I swoon...

Weather Diary, May 15: Hi 71, Low 56/ Precip 0

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Garden Blogger's Bloomday — May 2018

The wonderful Carol Michael, mother of the Bloomday meme, blogger at May Dreams Gardens, attended the Austin Fling. Had I been a better blogger I would have captured a photo of her, with some gorgeous flowering shrub. Sadly I did not. Let's just say Carol is one of those people you remember and feel fortunate to have spent a few minutes with. Hopefully she'll attend next year's Fling in Denver, CO, and I'll be ready. Maybe with a big bouquet of fake flowers for her. She'd be game, I'm sure of it.

So on to the flowers, those that are blooming in my garden on this May 15th. Oh and how do you identify a tired blogger? They're the ones that don't bother to reorder their Bloomday photos from the alphabetical order the software uploaded them in. Oh well, hopefully you'll enjoy them anyway. Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop'

Calycanthus floridus 'Athens', smells so good!

Ceanothus 'Dark Star' — I thought I took a close-up photo but I guess not.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Zanzibar'

Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'

Disporum cantonese ‘Night Heron’

Embothrium coccineum

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'

Genista lydia, snuggled up to a volunteer Verbascum.

Grevillea 'Ivanhoe', not reliably hardy here but both of my plants lived through last winter, yay!

Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’

Grevillea miqueliana, blooming for months and months now...

Grevillea rivularis

Grevillea x gaudichaudii

Grevillea x gaudichaudii again, because I have multiple plants, all blooming!

Indigofera amblyantha

Leptospermum lanigerum

Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Rainbow'

Lewisia cotyledon 'Sunset Series'

The same Lewisia, but shown with it's foliage rather than the grass it flopped into.

Lewisia NOID, sorry, but it's so bright the camera can't handle it.

Lonicera ciliosa

Lonicera x brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet'

Anigozanthos 'Bush Ranger'

Parahebe perfoliata

Podophyllum 'Red Panda'

Podophyllum peltatum flower

Podophyllum peltatum foliage (bonus photo)

Podophyllum pleianthum

Polygonatum odoratum

Rhododendron 'Ebony Pearl'

Sarracenia flower

Saxifraga urbium 'Aureopunctata'

Sedum palmeri, the flower belongs to the Aeonium looking foliage at the top half of the photo.

Symphytum × uplandicum 'Axminster Gold', a few buds showing up.

And we wrap with Thalictrum 'Evening Star'. May is so darn bloomy!

Weather Diary, May 14: Hi 89, Low 59/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.