Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Kalama Harbor Lodge

Last year a new McMenamins opened in Kalama, WA. This one is a change from the traditional McMenamins formula of rehabbing an existing property. I guess when a great location right on the Columbia River offers itself you do what you've got to do, even if it means building new...

I finally stopped last October, on my way up to Seattle to tour the Amazon Spheres, and checked out the plantings.

Looks like this Gunnera is going to be happy soaking up rainwater run-off from the parking lot.

And that's a lot of sedum!

The sky kept flirting with blue, but then the fog would settle back in.

That's a big container grouping!

I've walked around to the north side of the lodge now, the river is in the distance.

The plants here are still small, I'll have to make this a regular stop to, or from, Seattle, so I can watch them fill in. That tall gangly guy is a Magnolia macrophylla.

And here's a little Magnolia laevifolia.

The tiniest Schefflera delavayi I've ever seen.

Schefflera taiwaniana

Isn't this Melianthus hilarious? It looks like it can't decide how it wants to grow.

Moody river scene...

A Beschorneria? I even think I asked McMenamin's gardener Ryan Miller (he also cares for the Kennedy School gardens and I happened to run into him up here) about this plant, but that was 4 months ago and my memory fades...

Love this combo, the colors especially.

Looking back the direction I came from. That brown building is the Port of Kalama.

The fog, the river, it was all very photogenic that morning.

Check out the tunas on that Opuntia!

Tiny baby Agaves...


These two appear to be best friends.

Finally, I'm not going to lie, my jaw dropped when I saw this. Agave! Columbia River! My signature plant growing on the edge of my river. My heart was happy.

I know there were little Agaves before I spotted this one, but a mighty river deserves a mighty Agave and this A. americana (I'm assuming) definitely fits that description. Can you imagine the massive clump this could become with time? I'm giddy!

Moving on...

These are pretty sweet.

Agave bracteosa

I think that's a Grevillea...

And that's a charming wrap around balcony, or two.

The Port of Kalama Marine Park is to the south of McMenamins.

They were installing an amphitheater.

Lawn gets no respect.

I'd seen an Instagram photo of this Aloe cooperi, aka “Grass Aloe” — so I knew to walk around into the empty outdoor dining area to get a close up look at it.

It's foliage is good looking too.

Annie's Annuals says it's hardy to USDA Zone 8. I think I may need to try this one out.

Okay, my fingers were frozen and it was time to get back in the car and warm up! Hope you enjoyed this visit as much as I did.

Weather Diary, Feb 25: Hi 38, Low 32/ Precip .01"

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. The opening of another McMenamins always brings with it the excitement of fabulous gardens. I didn't know about this one but may have to add it as a stop on the way home from Portland! So happy you found an agave planted by your river.

    1. It's just right off the freeway, an easy stop!

  2. I do love foggy days. Beautiful views of the river banks. It would be fun to get updates as the plantings mature.
    The large agave by the sitting area had a flowering "skirt". Do you happen to know what that was?

    1. That's not an agave, I think it's a Beschorneria. But I'm not sure what the flowering skirt is...sorry!

  3. Oh, thanks so much for profiling this! Nigel often wants to stop for food while driving back and forth from Portland, and this looks like the prefect spot for both of us to enjoy. I thought Agave americana wasn't hardy enough for our area. Will it have survived the winter?

    1. Nice idea! Lots of parking, right off the freeway so there's easy in and out. My Agave americana fought hard to survive bad temps (+ snow and ice) here in winter 16/17 and has battled back to look okay. It's not an ideal choice but can survive most winters.

  4. It's a beautiful setting. I'm glad your "there's always an agave" rule remained intact.

  5. Looks like a great spot to do some exploring. The grass aloe is a looker!

    1. Ya, I'm kind of surprised how much I love it (the aloe).

  6. For a new building, that is very attractive, but the gardens are amazing. That is such an addition to any property but so nicely designed and such great plants. I look forward to your future visits.

    1. McMenamins always does the gardens well, even if the food isn't so amazing...

  7. Like Starbucks coffee...food never "amazing" but predictably OK (not bad for a roadside stop.) New construction that manages to look like renovation of old property (what do you think: brilliant planning or missed opportunity?). I'm on the fence.

  8. Oh damn, that's great. Gotta get over there! Thank you for posting your visit here. And even moreso--thank you McMenamin's!!, once again. Bringing beauty back to the industrialized river of life.

  9. I drove up to see this wonderful Aloe cooperi but sadly it’s a skeleton of its former self now. Must’ve been smacked hard with a freeze. You were fortunate to see it when you did! :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!