Monday, November 30, 2020

Mail-order plants from Far Reaches Farm, in November!

On November 11th I watched an NHS presentation by Kelly Dodson & Sue Milliken of Far Reaches Farm on a collecting trip they did to Argentina last spring. One week later, on November 18th I was the proud owner of a couple of the plants they talked about that night ...ain't life grand in this internet age?

I ordered three plants, look at them all cozied up in the box.
The first one I pulled out is this treasure...Alstroemeria isabellana.
Readers with amazing memoires might be saying, but don't you already have that plant? Yes, I did. I scored it from these same folks when they came down to give a talk at Joy Creek Nursery back in, oh, 2012 it looks like.

I loved that plant for years, but it eventually disappeared. Too much shade and competition from other plants, I suspect. And it's not just one you can dig up and move, it kinda moves around on it's own. I was never sure where it would come up each year, and if a stem would just be foliage, or if it would be a floral producer (they're on separate stems). I'll be thinking long and hard about where to plant this one out in the spring, and of course dreaming of seeing these flowers again...

My other purchase—two of the same plant—stayed within the Alstroemeriaceae family. 

I got two Bomarea cf. edulis, from seed Kelly and Sue collected on the trip the presentation I watched was based on. 

These are quite healthy looking plants, especially considering my one bomarea here in the garden has already died down for the year.

Mail-ordering plants is something I rarely do, thanks to the wealth of local nurseries here in the Portland area. However, the prospect of scoring a couple more bomarea vines—ones with blooms like these—had me rushing to my computer to place that order.

Photo above and below credited to James Steakley via wikimedia.

Weather Diary, Nov 29: Hi 52, Low 37/ Precip 0 

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

Friday, November 27, 2020

Parthenocissus quinquefolia, with spots

The leaves have all fallen now, but before they did I really enjoyed these strange chartreuse polkadots on the colored-up Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) leaves...

I think this may have happened in the past? It seems vaguely familiar.

But then again, maybe not.

I have no idea what's caused the dots.

There's also that interesting shadow (photo paper) sort of thing happening. Very bizarre eh?

Weather Diary, Nov 26: Hi 50, Low 42/ Precip 0 

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

Thursday, November 26, 2020

It's Thanksgiving in America

Oh what a strange holiday in a strange year. I'm going to forgo the acknowledgement of the (overdue) awakening of the less than grand aspects of the history of this day, and just focus on the thankful part, and I am thankful. My family has stayed healthy and homed. My husband's job is secure. My book is on it's way to shelves everywhere. My country has elected a human with a heart and a brain to be at the helm and our first woman in the White House as his very capable co-host. Breathe...

I am also thankful for all of you, for my garden, for the interactions we have here. I have a lot to be thankful for...Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Photo of a corner of my fern table, plants include: Pyrrosia lingua, Struthiopteris spicant (aka Blechnum spicant) and Saxifraga 'Primuloides'.

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Weather Diary, Nov 25: Hi 50, Low 41/ Precip 0 

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday Vignette, wanted

 I thought this was an interesting campaign against a couple of local offenders...

The sign was spotted where we parked at the head of the Hood River Penstock Flume Pipeline Trail. Of course the stylized presentation caught my eye, but I don't know that I could successfully ID the plant from those small photos. What about you?

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Weather Diary, Nov 24: Hi 52, Low 41/ Precip .30 

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, November 24, 2020

Wells Medina, because I had a few extra minutes

One last post from my October trip north to the Seattle area. I ended up with a few open minutes after the Bellevue Botanical Garden, so I hit nearby Wells Medina Nursery.

She found her special pumpkin.

I am so thankful most nurseries have been able to remain open through much of this COVID crazy year. I can't imagine what my world would be like had that not been the case. 

Love this color/texture combo, that's Calluna Skyline series on the left, sadly I didn't make note of what the purple foliage on the right was

Funny, I forgot I'd been lusting after this Erica arborea 'Estrella Gold' here, I bought one shortly after this, back in Portland.

Dreamy coloration...

I think I've offically given up on Hebe pimeleoides 'Quicksilver', it just doesn't look good in my garden, not like it does here.

More than just a pretty flower, ha! The ones I have, I grow not caring if they ever bloom.

Rhododendron land...

That's some bright foliage, I do like the idea of it going black in winter.

Where as I'd grow Yummy Yak only if I got to say it's name a lot.

Still a very well-stocked nursery for October, with not many people milling about. Then again it was a weekday.

Rhododendron 'Elizabeth Red Foliage'

I love the shape of these hanging baskets, if not the materials. I need to find something similar that's metal. Not that I have any place for more hanging containers.

Geranium maculatum 'Crane Dance'... love this foliage, but the two other dark-leaved geraniums I've tried both disappeared after their first year. Have you had success?

Finally,  Aruncus dioicus 'Kneiffii', aka cutleaf goat's beard. I've never grown goat's beard, but this foliage was tempting.

Weather Diary, Nov 23: Hi 52, Low 41/ Precip .15" 

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

Monday, November 23, 2020

Exploring the contradiction: WWTT and being Fearless

Today I want to talk about the many WWTT (what were they thinking) posts I’ve done here on the blog, and how the premise of WWTT may seem to contradict the subject of my book, Fearless Gardening

The book’s introduction begins with these words… I want to inspire you to look at plants differently and see your garden through new eyes—to treat gardening as an adventure, to embrace the freedom to explore a new type of plant, and then to plant it just because you want to. Why not surround yourself with plants you love? Who cares if they’re not supposed to be planted together, might eventually crowd each other, or aren’t everyone’s cup of tea? It’s your garden and you should love it; you should be having fun. 

Back in 2010 I introduced my WWTT posts with these words: Do you ever find yourself looking at a landscape and wondering “what were they thinking?” …you can see someone really put thought and consideration (as well as time and money) into what you’re looking at, but you just don’t get it. Really, what were they thinking? 

I know my neighbors surely wondered what I was thinking, when we removed our front lawn, spread gravel mulch and planted—with mostly small 1-gallon sized pots. I had a plan, but I doubt it was evident. And in fact nature had another plan since this "version" was laid flat by a harsh winter two years later, just as it was finally starting to look like something.
Yep, that's my front garden! Back in 2006

I finished my first WWTT post with: “They must be having a hell of a time putting this together” and a commenter then wrote: “… I say the same thing you do: if they love doing it, more power to 'em. They're just wavin' their flag a little higher than others. Awesome.” 

Over the years the WWTT posts have inspired a lively conversation and I’ve been amazed at the things people respond favorably too, like this method of trimming of a phormium I ran across in the Bay Area, proving there is no right way to garden...

However, one of my favorite comments on the WWTT series is this one: “I just can't find it in me to criticize especially when I think about all the mistakes I have made over time. They are starting something and even that tiny effort counts.” Exactly. We all make mistakes, doing, trying, experimenting is the important thing. 

My own garden has been the subject of a few WWTT posts (photo below for example) and as I wrote on one of them; “I think WWTT moments exist in all of us, at least those who are engaged with our gardens.” 

This seemed like a good idea at the time...

What constitutes a good garden (or a great plant) is different for everyone, after all, there is no right way to garden. It's also important (I feel) to recognize part of gardening fearlessly is accepting that not everyone is going to like what you create—they may even ask What Were You Thinking?—and that's okay. It get's the conversation started!

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Weather Diary, Nov 22: Hi 47, Low 34/ Precip .04" 

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

Friday, November 20, 2020

My back garden, tour 2020

Yesterday we stopped the garden tour right in front of the gate to the back garden. Today we walk through the gate and look to our right, at the area along the back of the house.

This used to be home to a large phormium, one that managed to live through several PKW (phormium killing winters). I took it out late last summer because it was infested with mealy bugs—too much shade at it's base. I like the replacement planting even better.

Passiflora 'Snow Queen' climbs the trellis (seen above). This is the year she also started popping up around the garden. So far the volunteers are easy to pull and I've re-homed them with friends. 

Agave lophantha 'Splendida' in an upcycled metal planter.

Wanting to break up a sea of black mondo grass I sunk a potted Agave americana 'Variegata' into this spot. It did well over the summer and wasn't too rooted-in when I pulled it for over-wintering.

Now we're looking west, down the paver pathway towards the patio, but instead of walking that way we turn to our right.

The northwest corner of the lawn includes a small container grouping.

And to its left a trio of dish planters.

If you're a regular reader you've seen these planters a couple of times recently—so perhaps this is a good time to mention we're about nine photos into a post with over fifty images. This is going to be a long one folks! I should also give a shout out to Gerhard, who helped me to finally resolve the issue I was having with Blogger posting my photos backwards. It's an amazing treat to be able to upload photos again and have then show up the way I intended!

Those planters from above...

Looking north now, towards the side of the neighbor's garage.

The  fronds of Trachycarpus fortunei appear to be weighted down by the sheer volume of fruit produced this year, the vines of Passiflora lutea are enjoying the extra sun.

The two begonias at the front, towards the left, lived through last winter. I don't expect any of them to be so lucky this year.

Pretty much everything in front of the V-shaped trunk (which belongs to Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart') was newly planted this spring when I dug up another bit of lawn.

My chartreuse circle pot hung from the Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' this summer.

It took a beating in our harsh Labor Day windstorm, but managed to hang on to most of its leaves.

I fear for the large Echium wildpretii that didn't bloom this summer. It's so big now and winter is predicted to be cold.

Turning now, to look south, at the shady side of our garage.

The Metapanax delavayi makes a nice perch from which to hang tillandsias.

And of course the bromeliad collection continues to grow.

If this wasn't such a perfect place for them over the summer I don't know that I'd have such a large collection.

No signs of a pup on this one, hopefully it will hang on after blooming to generate at least one.

One of my 2020 NWFG Fest's "orchid on a stick" purchases, Bulbophyllum sp. mini rambling laxiflorum type (so said the label).

Shifting our gaze slightly to the west we look over to the shade pavilion—so weird to see these things in their summer best, now that my reality is firmly planted in autumn—but we won't be walking over there, not yet. Instead we're going down to the patio.

Pausing on the way to admire the jungle cactus perched on Clifford's branches (Clifford being the name of our big-leaf magnolia).

These plants really did well here this year.

Next year though I'll have to find another home for them as I've finally agreed to cut Clifford's bottom three branches. Something Andrew has been wanting to do for a few years.

Down on the patio looking back at Clifford.

And now towards Sammy, the tall Yucca rostrata.

Containers and a look at the Ficus pumila 'Monier's Hardy' at the base of the steps.

Another angle...

This group is just to the left of the last.

And a bit further to the left (north-ish)...

That Agave ovatifolia is now under an improvised PVC and plastic cover as the rain comes down in buckets. Improvised because every year it gets bigger and bigger!

The Symphytum × uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' failed to really thrive this year. I think it was complaining about not gettig enough water.

The Passiflora 'Amethyst Jewel' however, it was very very happy.

The carniverous collection.

Looking to the left/west...

And then turning to look south, at the shade pavilion, the new and improved version with the neighbor's light-sucking conifers gone. This is what the light looks like at 12:10 pm.

And now at 4:42 pm, both photos taken on September 20th.

Table top plants.

The gang on the right-side wall as you look at the shade pavilion.

And again, at the pavilion and the fence behind...which seems to have more and more things hung on it every year. Oh! Also new this year, that fabulous light-fixture shade table!

Towards the back of the garage.

The fence...

The fern bowl and friends...

I was still rather shocked by the increased light (from the neighbor's tree removal) when I took these photos.

I am thrilled to report the trashcan lid staghorn fern is doing wonderful. 

As is the vertical trashcan lid planting. I didn't make either one with a thought to what overwintering might look like, but they're both in the basement and doing well.

Ferns in the short oval stock tank, behind the garage.

And one last look out at the patio. It looks nothing like this now. I miss summer!!!

Weather Diary, Nov 19: Hi 52, Low 43/ Precip .03 

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