Tuesday, December 31, 2019

An amazing year draws to a close...

I’ve never been one for an end-of-year round up post where I look back and reminisce on the highlights of the year, or share a collection of my favorite photos. However on December 21st, while I was sitting in the warm 72 degree sun at The Huntington and thinking about how lucky I was to be there, well, it occurred to me just what an amazing year of garden travel 2019 was for me.

The new gardening year officially kicked off in February with The Northwest Flower and Garden Show, in Seattle.
"The Botanist Balcony" at the NWFGF, from Kim McCarthy of Urban Soule—and she'll be back in 2020!
In April I flew down to Sacramento, CA, where my friend Gerhard picked me up and then we drove on to the Ruth Bancroft Garden (a visit which I have yet to share many photos of).
The next morning we set off for Santa Barbara and the Bromeliad Summit. The summit included a day at Lotusland (which I'm still writing about) and visits to several outstanding private gardens including Aloes in Wonderland, St. Francis Ranch, the garden of John Bleck, as well as nursery visit to San Marcos Growers.
Hechtia lanata at Aloes in Wonderland
In May I visited the Hillside Desert Botanical Gardens in Yakima...
Echinocereus blooming in the Desert Hillside Botanical Gardens
And in June we (Andrew joined me) were off to Denver and the 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling. During the Fling I finally got to see the Denver Botanic Gardens (again...still writing about this place) and oh so many fabulous private gardens, like this one, and this one and of course this one (plus many more I have yet to cover).
Agave utahensis, at the Denver Botanic Gardens
Later in June the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon hosted a 3-day extravaganza of local garden touring and lectures called Study Weekend. This event included stops at old favorite gardens like Floramagoria, and new-to-me stops like this one and this one.
The garden of Erin and Brian Ray, a Study Weekend stop
July had me road tripping up to the Puget Sound area to take photos and do a few interviews for my book (more that in the future). Honestly I was on a high from that trip that lasted for weeks, and good thing because after that it was time to stop gallivanting around and log some serious hours sitting at my desk. Yes, by the time December rolled around I was oh so ready to get back on the road (or in the air). In addition to the day-long visit to the gardens of The Huntington I also (finally) saw Kris (Late to the Garden Party) Peterson's garden and Dustin Gimbel's garden (he of Second Nature Garden Design) as well as visit to Rainforst Flora and the Theodore Payne Foundation.
One of many stunning vignettes in Kris Peterson's garden
What will 2020 hold? Well it's gonna take a lot to beat 2019... but I can't wait to find out!

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Weather Diary, Dec 30: Hi 48, Low 40/ Precip 0

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

Monday, December 30, 2019

Agave abuse in Pasadena, California

I had several alternative titles for this post:
Gardening with straight lines
Gardening within the box
Agave, cornered
Stand back!

And on, and on—but really it all comes down to agave abuse. Someone planted a couple Agave americana 'Variegata' in a spot they—and their offspring—would easily outgrow. Then they failed to do any maintenance other than chop the hell out of the poor plants.

I briefly considered attempting to count how many agaves there are in this tangle, but quickly gave up.

I wonder what they used to cut the leaves with such straight edges?

They even cut off the center of this one...

The crime took place just around the corner from a bookstore Andrew visited during our holiday trip to Southern California. I was parking to pick him up when I spotted the abuse. I should have got an overall shot but it was pouring down rain, so I didn't. Instead here's a Google maps image from August of 2014. Things looked quite a bit different back then.

Here's what the agave on the right (in the photo above) looks like now.

If I were to anthropomorphize the scene I'd say the big agave looks like a mama trying to protect her babies from the evil person with the blade. Yikes. That's not a happy thought.

There lots more photos to come from this trip to SoCal, happy ones!

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Weather Diary, Dec 29: Hi 48, Low 40/ Precip trace

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

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Gardens on Spring Creek, from the 2019 GBFling

We're traveling back in time to June 14th and the GB Fling visit to The Gardens on Spring Creek, in Fort Collins, Co. The good news for the community is that the garden is under expansion, the bad news for us "Flingers" was that meant the rest rooms were closed. A fact we realized only after our buses (with their gross, but functioning toilets) had pulled away....

Our gracious Fling hosts had arranged for a porta-potty, but it was late in arriving. You should have seen the line by the time it showed up! (I was at the front). But enough potty talk...

Because of that construction there were only two parts of the garden we were able to explore, one was the (also under construction) Undaunted Garden designed by Lauren Springer Ogden.

Lauren was supposed to meet us at the garden but do to an accident in the days before (busted kneecap, ouch!) she was a no-show, poor Lauren.

The garden is designed to be a showpiece of plants native to western North America and non-native plants adapted to local growing conditions: "The primary purpose of this three-quarter acre xeriscape garden is to demonstrate how to garden appropriately and beautifully in a drought-prone region".

Did someone say drought-prone?

Ah, but the verbascum don't care!

Other plants that caught my eye include this fabulous Salvia cryptantha (thanks to Bob and Caroline for the ID).

A knock your eyes out bright delosperma.

And this (to die for) Sedum 'Purple Jazz' (or so it was ID'd for me)...

The Undaunted Garden was not short on rocks.

Nor was the rock garden, the other area we were able to explore...

The gardens we saw during the Denver Fling all seemed to seamlessly incorporate hypertufa planters. I found it very inspiring.

Pulsatilla vulgaris

Agave! It's a 'Neomexicana'.

And that beauty over yonder is a Yucca baccata.

The shrubby conifer makes a nice backdrop for the bloom.

I love all the creeping mounds of green we saw during the Fling. I'm not going to pretend to know for sure, but the maybe an Arenaria?

Perhaps Arenaria alfacarensis.

The color on the sempervivum tucked into the ravine is pretty fabulous.

Oh wait! Lunch is served. While I wandered around taking photos everyone else was queuing up to eat. I best go join them.

The group photo was actually taken when arrived at the garden, but it seemed like a fitting way to end this post. Oh, and I've got many more Fling memories yet to share.

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

Thursday, December 26, 2019

A shrubby layered look...

Out on a walk in November I came across this colorful scene. I was impressed with how much texture and variation was achieved with shrubby evergreens, in a relatively narrow strip of land between the public sidewalk and fence...

The dark horizontal fence and low roof-line of the house added to, rather than detracted from, the scene. Well done!

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

In the tradition of...

Remember when department store windows were all done-up special for the holidays? I do. Stopping to see the decorations; moving twinkling, snowing...it was magical, for a kid. I remember my parents making a special trip downtown so my brothers and I could see the windows of Spokane's The Crescent, all decked out for the season. Modern day kids are being robbed!

Those memories all came flooding back to me as I stood on the sidewalk in front of Sunlan Lighting on Mississippi St, in Portland...

Then I got closer and read the sign...

Damn. Now I was standing on the sidewalk both smiling and almost on the verge of tears. Happy tears, remembering all the wonderful Christmas celebrations with my family. I was lucky to have one set of grandparents we were very close to.

If you page back up and look at the Santa in dead-center of the window display you'll see he's the same as this guy, who is currently lighting up the holiday scene at my brother's house in Phoenix. My parents have the same Santa, both are discovered relics from a building they used to own.

So deep in a nostalgic mood I walked a few blocks to where I'd figured out the Santa clones were this year. The man behind the Santas, Chris Willis, had given out a few clues as to their location on Instagram (below). It was a mystery fairly easily solved. Except one of the photos Chris included confused me, I thought they would be standing on the sidewalk, instead they are hanging out in a vacant store front.

This wasn't my first Santa clones encounter, nope, back in 2016 I found them in a nearby front yard (that blog post here). I'm not sure why I didn't think to hunt them down in 2017 or 18.

This year they're displayed vertically in a window...

As well as marching across the floor.

Here's more from the person who created this display, and the one at the top of this post.

Visitors are invited to share their thoughts...


They're kind of mesmerizing. I couldn't stop taking pictures.

The big floating head at the back of the room...

...and the latecomers off to the side...

Couldn't steal the show.

#santaclones2019, thanks for giving me a holiday spark.

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