Friday, May 17, 2019

The Lizardland Garden

Oh social media...love it or hate it you have to admit it does connect us in a powerful way. A powerfully positive way if you're a plant person. I got a Instagram message a couple weeks ago from someone who found my blog while searching for "cactus/opuntia interested folks." He'd started a little guerrilla gardening with cold hardy cactus on a patch of rocky land by the river,  and was looking for plant/cutting donations. Cool right? I rounded up a few things to donate and asked if I could see the garden. Luckily he, London, was up for that so I headed over to his house to drop of the plants...

I didn't expect that in doing so I would also be getting a tour of a very cool private garden, but that's exactly what happened. Ain't life grand?

You'll see more of this cylindropuntia when we visit the guerrilla garden site, later in this post.

This sheet metal fence borders the south side of the back garden. I was experiencing serious jealousy over how cool it looked. Andrew and I talked about doing something similar when we put up the fence in our garden, but since ours borders the north side we didn't go this route—think reflected heat and glare.

A moss encrusted crab is not something you see every day.

Unfortunately, my photos of this garden are in no logical order. I didn't want to assume it was okay to take photos so I waited awhile before asking. You'll recognize this vignette as being just beyond the patio shot above. The green wall is the side of the studio, and we're facing east.

The rusted industrial objects around the garden set just the right tone, perfection.

The gorgeous peony was just a day or two past it's prime, but I'm so glad I saw it. If it were mine I wouldn't have been able to resist cutting blooms for a vase or three.

You walk under that stunning clematis to enter the garden.

It was covered in blooms...

Turning around now and looking at the west side of the back garden.

Artful training of weeping trees seems to be a house specialty.

I wanted to ask the history behind every object in the garden, but being aware of time (we both had places to be, and things to do) I did not. Still, I learned a little, like the metal lid is covering a small fire pit.

The triangular pieces in the center of this planting were used (in their former life) to abrade burrs and other surface issues, frequently on metal parts.

Shells and bones and sticks and stones. Okay, I'm not sure there were any stones, but it rhymed.

London told of doing some pretty drastic pruning on this clematis, enough he was worried if it would bounce back. Looks like it couldn't care less.

Shark!

Did you spot that perfectly round "stone" (concretion) above? This is what's inside, a crab fossil, pretty cool eh?

Tomatoes!

There's gonna be some good tomato eating around these parts.

Let's take a quick look at the front garden before we pack up...

It's a slice of perfection.

And that's a very thick sedum carpet.

After I snapped that last photo we headed out to the guerrilla garden location. London has already been prepping the site and planting some Opuntia pads.

There's the man himself. In case you're a little unclear on the concept; this is a plot of land London doesn't own. He's planting it as a volunteer effort, just doing, not asking permission. He's moving rocks to create planting pockets, amending the soil (mixing rocks in with the sand) and stabilizing the bank. He's not buying plants for this space, but rather reaching out to people to make a trade, plants for art (he's a tattoo artist and also makes clay goods, which are available on his Etsy shop).

All I wanted in trade was to see the garden location, but I also received a sweet little tile and a couple of drawings.

I've been following London's progress on Instagram, he's already added quite a few plants to the mix since my visit back on the 5th.

That cylindropuntia was the star of the show when I was there.

Isn't she a beauty?

Well, I guess I should say she was sharing the spotlight with these madrones.

They were glowing.

So are you wondering why this post is titled The Lizardland Garden? That's London's name for the site, because there are lots of lizards. He told me a couple stories of them hanging out on the rocks as he planted. Thankfully my visit wasn't lizard-less, this guy made an appearance as I was leaving.

Weather Diary, May 16: Hi 61, Low 55/ Precip .03"

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

27 comments:

  1. How fun. A new gardening friend. Is this the Willamette or the Columbia? I love all of his rusty goodies and your photos have given me a few ideas. Not a tattoo lady? Me either.

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    1. The Willamette. Not sure how you picked up that I wasn't a tattoo person? I do love them, on other people. I couldn't ever do something that permanent on myself.

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  2. A very impressive garden, impressive gardener with a great mission. Kudos to London.

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    1. I didn't mention it, but hopefully it showed in the photos, his garden was immaculate!

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  3. Nothing like plants to bring people together and create new friendships. London has created a wonderfully eclectic space.

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  4. This is a wonderful and inspiring story, I love it. I also love the term "guerrilla garden"! It reminded me of pothole gardening, where plant people bring life and natural beauty to where is none. Against the sheet metal fence were very cool geometrically shaped rebar. I wish I knew where one can find those...

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    1. The term pothole gardening always makes me think of some of the randomly unpaved streets in Portland. They could be turned into entire gardens.

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  5. What a cool garden! Seems you've found a kindred spirit. His gardens are very artfully laid out. Love what he is doing on the river bank. Off to follow him on IG. Great Blog Loree!

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  6. How very cool, good for him! Thanks for sharing his story and the photos of both his garden and the area he's working on. Very nice tiles at his shop, he's a talented artist.

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    1. He is, his appreciation of nature and great design eye really come through.

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  7. Sounds like a neat guy - who doesn't love a gardener? ;)

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  8. What a cool idea and his garden is beautiful!

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  9. With your first photo, I knew it was going to be a cool garden. I loved all the metal art pieces, especially the one in your 15th photo. Any garden mixing cactus with peonies and clematis is extraordinary.

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    1. Ha! You're right...(cactus with peonies and clematis).

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  10. This kind of encounter makes social media worth the frustrations.

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  11. Now that is one interesting garden. How great that your paths crossed through social media. It has brought me much in the way of garden visits too as well as many more interesting things including plants.

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    1. Glad you've experienced the social media positives too!

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  12. So it benefited you and London--that's awesome! His garden(s) is wonderful. I really like all the Sedums as groundcovers. Lots of good stuff here!

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    1. It's deceivingly simple, I'm thinking he's a master of design!

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  13. I've heard about this garden!

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    1. The private garden or the public one?

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  14. Love his garden and the guerilla gardening concept. Glad you had a lizard to welcome you the the site.

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