Thursday, December 31, 2020

Drift, Feel, Think...



(keep feeling)


This word study—a new year's mediation?—has been brought to you by a brick building in Klickitat, Washington.

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Weather Diary, Dec 30: Hi 49, Low 39/ Precip .39 

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wednesday Vignette, the force is strong with this one

What? I'm quoting Star Wars now? Ya, I don't know why, but that's what popped into my head when I saw this tree...

The tree and pot were plopped in that location a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...oh wait, no! Right here in NE Portland...

It seems happy enough, and it's not going anywhere

The (life) force is strong with this one...

Weather Diary, Dec 29: Hi 41, Low 27/ Precip .03" 

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Desert Island Gardens

Perhaps you've heard the phrase "desert island discs"? Those being the discs you would take if you were being cast away on a desert island. I always assumed these were entire CD's, but I guess they're instead songs, since the idea got it's start in 1949 (pre CD) on BBC radio. The original program called for each castaway to "choose eight recordings (usually, but not always, music), a book and a luxury item" (source).

I've been brushing up on all of this because I've watched a couple episodes of something called Desert Island Gardens as part of Noel Kingsbury and Annie Guilfoyle's Garden Masterclass on YouTube

The first one I watched was Noel Kingsbury himself, and I must say Noel and I have very different garden taste (a note on the video I linked to above; this is not the same one I watched but an abbreviated version, the original seems to have disappeared).

The formal Duncan Garden, part of Manito Park, one of my "d.i.g."—Nigel might appreciate this garden

The next castaway I watched was James Sinclair. As I post this his video is still available for watching in it's entirety, I hope it stays that way because he is a very entertaining fellow, find it here. He starts by saying “my favorite garden is always my own” which I found to be a delightful thought. Later he muses that the best thing about visiting a public garden that is vast, and empty, is that it’s yours. I have had that feeling and I must say it is wonderful. you want to play along? Annie and Noel propose that you get five gardens plus a book and an item. I'm also adding another question, what is the next (new to you) garden you want to visit when you get off that island? Here are my answers, the gardens appear in the order in which I discovered/visited them:

1. Manito Park, Spokane, Washington (website)

Why: I grew up in Spokane and Manito Park was always a very special place to visit. When I bought my home in Spokane in 2001 the fact it was just two blocks from the park was a major selling point. The "park" (it really is so much more than a park) dates back to 1904 and covers "78 acres of native and cultivated landscape and 20 acres of world class botanical gardens." These gardens include a Japanese Garden, the sunken formal Duncan Garden, Rose Hill, Lilac Garden, Ferris Perennial Garden, Mirror Pond, and Gaiser Conservatory. 

Inside the Gaiser Conservatory, Manito Park

When I was a kid the Mirror Pond was surrounded with huge old weeping willows, which were a sight to see. A bad ice storm took out many of them in the late 1990's. The Gaiser Conservatory was another favorite spot. Tropical plants and desert plants under glass... magic! This park is a gem and it was my first experience with just how powerful visiting a public garden can be.

2. Lotusland, Montecito, California (website)

Why: Because Ganna Walska created an over-the-top, yet just right, garden paradise. There are so many parts to Lotusland—Bromeliad Garden, Aloe Garden, Fern Garden, Cactus Garden, and on and on—each individual garden is amazing  and they all include a special "oh, did she really do that!?" touch. Put them all together and I have to pinch myself to make sure it's real, it is really that good. It's also worth noting that admission to the garden is restricted and done by reservation so there are no crowds. I've never gone the docent route, instead touring on my own. This garden helped to cement my feeling that creating a garden that makes you happy is the most important thing of all.

The Fern Garden at Lotusland

3. The Huntington Gardens, San Marino, California (website)

Why: Like Lotusland there are several individual gardens within the whole, and while I enjoy strolling them all, the reason the Huntington is on this list is because of the Desert Garden. It is a first class collection of plants I love, and it's amazing. Huge specimens, expertly grown. Plus with the curving pathways you are certain to find a secluded spot to soak it all up, no matter how busy the garden is. The Huntington is of a size that I can lose myself in the wonder of it all and that's the best feeling.

The Desert Garden at The Huntington

4. The Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, California (website)

Why? I want to call the RBG scrappy, but that sounds like an insult, and that's not how it's meant. This garden is the creation of one woman with a vision—just like Lotusland—but unlike Lotusland it's not a performance. Even though the RBG is a public garden now, it still manages to feel like a home garden, and that's part of what makes it so special to me. This garden shows that you just never know what that "thing" you're working on might turn into.

The Ruth Bancroft Garden

 5. The Taft Garden, Ojai, California (website)

Why? The Taft has a website now, and online reservations with a fee. However, when I visited in 2016 none of that existed. You got there by word of mouth and a map that was emailed and not terribly detailed. I've only visited the one time—and it was a spur of the moment thing, Christmas Eve to boot—but the experience was such that it lives very large in my memory. I was the only one there, I had the place to myself, having left Andrew in a bookstore in Ventura, oh and my cell phone wasn't getting any reception. It was a little unnerving, but one of the best moments of my life. The plants, the location, the obscurity—yes please.

The Taft Garden

The book 

This is is hard! I don't want to take a single book, I want to take my iPhone or iPad and the entire internet. However, in the spirit of playing along I'll take The Planthunter: Truth, Beauty, Chaos, and Plants by Georgina Reid with photos by Daniel Shipp. I can lose myself for hours in this book and feel submersed in the magic of other gardeners, their thoughts, and their gardens.

The item 

I was tempted to say a good pair of garden snips, so I can take cuttings and make arrangements. But the more I thought about it I realized I'd want a camera, so I can document the plant life around me on the island.

And the garden I want to visit when I'm off the island?

Chanticleer, a 48-acre botanical garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania (website). I have no idea if the reality will measure up to my ideas of the place, but I can't wait to find out.

Your turn! 

Answer the questions in the comments, or write your own blog post. Come on... play along!

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Weather Diary, Dec 28: Hi 46, Low 30/ Precip 0 

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Play with your plants (a love note to my palms)

To say that I dread gutter cleaning day is an understatement. It comes only once a year but it looms quite large in my mind. The project itself is bad enough, it's cold and my husband risks injury climbing the ladder while I stand below and hand him buckets which he passes down full of soggy, slimy, leaves. Dump, repeat. To add to the fun there's always a disagreement or two about the proximity of the plants in our lives. I'll spare you the details.

This year, while he was feeling plant murderous, he was able to channel some of that energy towards one of our palm trees, the Trachycarpus fortunei. It had an extremely bountiful fruiting year and the weight of the fruit clusters was weighing down several of the fronds, the whole thing needed a trim. A few Magnolia laevifolia branches and passiflora vines came out as well. The resulting pile of plant parts on the patio was massive. This is just a portion of it.

The poor tree looks naked now, at least to my eye. 

Of course by next spring some of the other fronds will have relaxed and not be so upright in form.

We left a little fruit in place. I'm not sure if any critters eat it, but I like the way it looks.

Stepping back a bit you can see another of my palms on the left, a Trachycarpus wagnerianus that has not yet matured to a blooming size. To the right of my Trachycarpus fortunei you can see the neighbor's trachycarpus peeking up in the distance. It's because of the proximity of this plant that I've got all the fruit on my tree. Trachycarpus fortunei are dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate trees. 

A close-up shot of the Trachycarpus wagnerianus. I like the smaller fronds this plant has.

And here's my third palm, another wagnerianus.

I do have a fourth palm, a different species, Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Needle Palm). It's a slow grower and is still hidden at the base of the first tree, the Trachycarpus fortunei.

Or as I'm calling her now, momma. 

Because boy has she got babies at her feet...

I stopped counting at a dozen.

I've seen one or two random seedlings before, but they usually die off from lack of sun and/or water.

Not this year! I think it's because last spring I redid the area in front of the palm (here), digging around in the soil, giving it all more light and of course being sure to water in the new plants well. So, we have babies!

Now I'm getting off subject but since I was back against the neighbor's garage I snapped this shot of my Rhododendron sinogrande, this is her best side.

I have a couple baby rhododendron in there too, and they've put on a lot of growth this year. These are plants I purchased in small 4" pots, not babies of my larger plant.

Okay, circling back around to the pile of cuttings on the patio and the reason for this post in the first place!

I've been working things into the weekly yard waste bin as space allows, and was left with a few palm fronds and fruiting branches that are still to heavy for the bin, they need to dry up a bit first. 

So I figured, why not play with my palms and get a little artistic?

This is a variation on my usual mantra to not toss prunings in the bin or compost, but rather to work them into a vase and enjoy them indoors.

In this case, it's patio art! To be enjoyed outdoors. The patio is empty this time of year anyway, it needed a little beautification project...

Play with your plants!

Weather Diary, Dec 27: Hi 50, Low 40/ Precip 0 

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

And the winner of the best COVIDtime landscape remodel is...

Out on a COVID lockdown walk last spring Andrew and I discovered this dark house and it's excellent plantings (click over here for a look at that post). However, things are looking even better now as they've installed some mighty fine planters and laid down a lot of interesting mulch...

Pretty sweet, right? 

I am absolutely swooning over those staggered Corten planters and their contents.

I also appreciate that the plants I first saw in March were moved into the new spaces, rather than being tossed out and new ones brought in.

That is one shiny opuntia, and the white spikes behind it provide the perfect backdrop.

The containers on the other side of the driveway have increased in number.

And that Agave 'Blue Glow' is quite the looker out there in the corner.

The  gravel mulch continues around the front of the house.

And the detail of the corner and it's precise turn is much appreciated by my eye.

I can't remember if those steps were there in the earlier version or not.

And while I suspect that little mound might just be waiting to be spread out, I like it just as it is.

Well done neighbor!

Weather Diary, Dec 23: Hi 47, Low 31/ Precip 0 

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: Jolly not Germy

It's the return of the Santa Clones!

I shared this army of small plastic Santa's and their festive line-up last year (here) and back in 2016 (here), but something is a little different this year...

It's only right, I mean if Santa hits hundreds of thousands of homes in a single night he could be the biggest super-spreader of all...

Of course there are always a few in every crowd...

"Sleeper" Santa is in this photo, can you spot him?

Perhaps this Santa just raised his mask long enough to eat a cookie?

I'm sure that's it.

I think the deviant in this line-up is headache Santa...

Pirate Santa!

If you'd like to learn more about the man behind this Portland holiday tradition there's story from our local public television station—here. Basically he's been collecting since his Grandma left him her plastic Santa years ago. This years display—it moves around town each year and is located by following clues he leaves on his Instagram page—numbers around 400. Be jolly not germy!

Weather Diary, Dec 22: Hi 49, Low 33/ Precip .06 

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.