Monday, August 31, 2020

Botanical Garden roadtrip to Kalama, WA...

What, you didn't know there was a botanical garden in Kalama, Washington? That's probably because it's cleverly disguised as a McMenamins hotel and restaurant, Kalama Harbor Lodge.

Okay in all seriousness. I needed to get out on the road, even if it was just a 45 minute drive north on I-5. I knew it would do my head good, and since I had just sent someone a photo I took of an agave at this property last year, well, it was on my mind. Let's have a look around...

Great combo of Woodwardia unigemmata and Schefflera taiwaniana.

This is perhaps the only plant in the collection that looks better in my garden than it does here, Magnolia macrophylla.

Perhaps the wind is a little too much for it?

I've no clue which bamboo this is...

But it's pretty fabulous.

As are the Melianthus major blooms! Wow...

I used to grow this beauty for the foliage.

But I did get flowers one year, that was memorable.

This display however was over-the-top good.

Yucca linearifolia, I believe.

Two of them!

Another wowsa moment, look at those beschorneria!

Those are some seriously sturdy boom stalks.

Since I last visited the rocky slope down to the river's edge has been replaced by a beach, I believe the city's work, not McMenamins. I rather like it, although it does mean the garden can be walked through, which is never a good thing.

I find the mix of plants to be quite exciting. So many spiky things! It's going to be amazing to watch them grow in.

The beach had a view visitors the morning I was there, I bet on a hot summer day—in non-COVID times—it could get quite packed.

Ah, the Agave americana clump I came to see is still there, and looking good. 

I spotted this pup, off to the left, but completely missed one that's growing up through a seam in the asphalt pathway, I heard about it via Instagram when I was back home.


The (somewhat unlikely) success of the Agave americana seems to have inspired the McMenamins gardeners, there were so many more agaves! I eventually went around to the other side of the planting to see if I could identify these three, no luck.

Agave ovatifolia, I believe. This one should quickly turn into a monster here (yay).

These blend in so it's kind of hard to tell, but that's at least seven small clumps of Agave bracteosa. 

Here's one that's been in place for awhile.

There were people dining just out of frame, so I tried to be sensitive in my photo taking. The tall clump of grass like leaves on the left is Aloe cooperi, I didn't see any blooms, but then I also couldn't see the far side.

Wow, in addition to multiple new agaves they've also planted a saguaro! Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' that is.

Now I'm down on the beach-side, scoping out more agaves. Agave parryi...

More Agave bracteosa

Taking this shot I noticed the umbrellas on the roof and later learned there's a near-rooftop bar "with expansive views of the Columbia"... I might have to check that out in person someday.

Another A. ovatifolia.

As is this, but I already shot this one from up on the pathway.

Here is one of the three I was unsure about. It's lovely, but just doesn't have any identifiable characteristics for me.

Maybe Agave chrysantha?

I couldn't resist, another image of the A. americana clump.

And another group of Agave parryi.

As I was leaving I spotted this bunch of juicy berries...yum.

And this! There are a few huge gunnera around the parking lot, in the run-off bioswales. This paring however is pretty genius. Huge leaves, meet tiny leaves.

The tiny leaves belonging to Sophora prostrata 'Little Baby'.

Weather Diary, Aug 30: Hi 77, Low 51/ Precip 0 

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

Friday, August 28, 2020

Ficus pumila 'Monier's Hardy'

When I tour gardens in warmer climates and see creeping figs—Ficus pumila—crawling along walls I become extremely jealous. Here's a lovely specimen in Jennifer's garden in Austin, Texas.

I visited Jennifer's garden during the Austin Fling, in 2018 (blog post here). I recall posting photos of the creeping fig and being told I shouldn't be jealous, after all their foliage turns hard, dark, and less attractive as they age. Perhaps this is an older version? I still think it's quite fetching.

And when it looks like this, well, I am quite smitten.

So when I heard of a "hardy" version at Cistus Nursery (thanks Evan and Michelle), well, I had to give it a try. Here it is planted at the base of the wall that frames our patio, just to the side of the stairs.

It goes by the name Ficus pumila 'Monier's Hardy', this is what Cistus has to say about it: "This little creeping fig, from a most lovely Oregon garden and shared with us by Paul Bonine, has thrived through many winters of the Willamette Valley cold pocket. As with the species, plants can be used in sun or shade to cover a wall with densely held, 1" leaves, eventually producing branches of larger, 3" leathery leaves. Eventually produces figs that neither appear nor taste appetizing. We think this will survive in a mid to upper USDA zone 7 garden but mulch in case."

And look at this! We have connection. It's actually growing on the wall now., I am thrilled.

Fingers crossed it continues to thrive...

Weather Diary, Aug 27: Hi 84, Low 58/ Precip 0 

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

Thursday, August 27, 2020

August walk-about...

It was one of those afternoons where I just could not sit at my desk any longer. So I walked...

Look at this cute pumpkin sling!

A wide shot of the garden.

I'm not a huge fan of the coneflowers, but these...perfect.

I love the row of sunflowers gone to seed all lined up for the wildlife...

This garden is about a half-block from mine and I keep coming across devoured sunflower heads dropped in my garden.

I wonder if this is where they're coming from?

Their nasturtium were on fire! (in a good way)

I've never grown tomatillo, looking at these I think I might need to.

A parting garden shot...

A flower from another neighbor's garden where many of my Opuntia came from

Earlier this spring I met a nice couple who were walking past my garden. They told me where they lived and invited me to come by. I cannot believe how many weeks have passed since that day. I did however finally make it by, and really loved what I saw. A carpet of Muehlenbeckia axillaris!

And this fabulous Agave ovatifolia backed by an arctostaphylos (I'm not smart enough to know which one).

I really wanted to knock and say "hi" and get a peek of what's happening behind that attractive door, but it was also mid-day on a Tuesday and I was pretty sure if they were home they were probably working, so I did not. Another time!

Moving on I came across another fabulous wire vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris). This plant is tenacious, but where it has the room do it's thing it is pretty spectacular.

Oh this is a good fence...

As long as you don't need complete privacy.

The pruning and shaping of this shrub was fantastic. I'm not sure I can convey it via photos, but I'm going to try. Here I'm standing on the public sidewalk looking straight at the trunk which is swept back as though it's growing seaside.

The base, where it emerges from the rock "wall"...

Looking east from the west side. So good!

Moving on. This modern home is on a very busy street. They seem to have found a balance of looking approachable but also maintaining a bit of privacy. The shiny galvanized fence next door is interesting as well. Here it's mainly metal with just a thin section of wood at the top.

This section is almost half and half (half wood half metal)...

The section with the thin wood topper features a bit of gutter as planting space.

That's not a lot of soil and I bet it can get pretty hot out here with the reflected heat from the sidewalk and street. I applaud their efforts.

A peek-a-boo cut out.

Here's a closer-up look at the sleek modern house.

I love these hebes as Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' hardy replacements.

Oh my! I think there must have been a bit of foliage leaning going on here. A drastic cut back seems to have happened.

Enough time has transpired that the bamboo is fluffy again, in some spots.

But others still have the freshly shorn look.

Culms for ID, if you're interested.

Crazy floating bamboo balls...

I saw the sign before I saw the tree.

But I can understand how people might be tempted to pick an apple or two, don't those look fabulous?

Finally, I'm almost back home, and I came upon this construction site. There was a small house here that sat empty and neglected for years, then it was torn down but the lot sat empty. Now there is action... 

That's a big old tree, it's nice to see the city tries to take it's protection seriously.

One house, replaced by 3, or 4? That's the norm now.

At least the lot wasn't scraped clean, there is still green. 

Weather Diary, Aug 26: Hi 82, Low 57/ Precip 0 

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