Friday, December 18, 2020

The Practical Plant Geek's Garden

One of the last things I did before our COVID lock-down last spring was to buy a new camera, since my trusty Sony Cybershot died during our 2019 SoCal holiday trip. As you may imagine that "new" camera has not gotten much use in the months since. Unfortunately my lack of experience is painfully obvious in these shots from my friend Evan Bean's garden, taken during our Blogger's Plant Swap early in October. 

It was a rainy day and I didn't take the time to work with the settings, instead I was just chatting and snapping photos as I used to do—thus many of these images are blurry, which is so sad! Anyway...

This is my second visit to this garden, the fist was in 2017 and a lot has changed since then.

Evan gardens on a rather large chunk of land in Castle Rock, Washington, which he's transformed into a small botanic garden.

You couldn't see the dry creek bed in the above photo, thus I share this one too, even thought they're quite similar.

The color on this little patch of Comptonia peregrina was rather gorgeous.

There was plenty of the usual green as well.

Wow! Check out that Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop' border (I assume it's 'Black Scallop').

There were a lot of us bloggers there, I am surprised my photos are so empty of people...

Iris confusa

×Fatshedera some somebody.

While I love my tall tetrapanax I kind of miss them at this height.

Beneath the bamboo is a nice patch of Blechnum penna-marina (now called Austroblechnum penna-marina) some of which Evan has shared with me. I love this little fern. 

And here's the larger Blechnum chilense, now known as Parablechnum cordatum. 

Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca', I believe

Not sure what this little number with the gorgeous variegation is.

And I'd be guessing if I tried to assign a specific name to this abutilon.

I was quite jealous when I spotted the dark leaves of a Pseudopanax crassifolius, a plant I tried planting out in the garden and promptly lost to a bad winter.

Sandwiched in the middle there is a mahonia, perhaps Mahonia eurybracteata 'Indianola Silver'.

How masterfully are all those different types and colors of foliage mixed? I was in awe and really wish it hadn't been wet so I could have lingered longer in front of each and every vignette.

The cordyline on the left kind of surprised me, not figuring Evan for the cordyline type. I like it very much, especially for the contrast value.

I do love a good mossy stump—and I think it's time to let the photos stand on their own and stop captioning for a bit, just scroll and admire...

I so wish I had room for an Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle tree).

The other end of the dry creek bed which you saw at the beginning of this post.

Oh and there's a masked Evan! Probably answering plant questions—Evan's blog is called The Practical Plant Geek, hence the name of this post.

I promised I would remember the name of this hardy fuchsia, but guess what? Not a chance.

Ditto for the plant with the golden fruit. Maybe a sarcococca? No, I think they're usually darker.

Okay, just a couple more photos and then I needed to go join the others for our plant swap near the barn.

I love the repetition of the hakonechloa and farfugium.

Evan had talked like this might be our last chance to visit this garden before he moves on. I hope not. I would love to visit on a dry day where I can wander slowly and catch every detail. Until then, I thoroughly enjoyed this look at the garden, thank you Evan!

Weather Diary, Dec 17: Hi 51, Low 43/ Precip .01 

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


  1. Unpleasant for you but the rain really makes the foliage colours pop and everything looks so fresh. Evan does a great job of using plants to fill in all planting zones.

    1. The rain certainly does do that! And yes, I love a gardener who plants all the layers!

  2. Such a lovely tour. It is so gratifying to see the wide-shots which thoroughly demonstrate the garden's complete transformation. From the endless grass pasture, open to deer visitation, to this stunning, well on its way fabulous garden. I do wish you'll get another, dryer, chance to visit.

    1. It's amazing really, the transformation. So many cool plants!

  3. Oh, wonder why he is "moving on." What a garden! That abutilon is to die for! They don't grow here in the dry, dry Sonoran desert and neither does most of the rest of these plants and mosses! That is why I love your posts. My eyes drink in the green!

    1. There is a lot of green to drink! Evan has his eyes set on slightly warmer climates, perhaps the southern Oregon coast.

  4. That is an absolutely beautiful garden. And you are right about his color/texture contrasts. I've never seen such masterful use of greens.

    1. To be fair you also are a master of greens!

  5. Thanks for the tour, Loree! I've missed seeing regular views of Evan's garden. It's certainly filled out over the years and he should be rightfully proud of what he's accomplished there. I love that Comptonia peregrina but it appears that SoCal isn't its preferred environment. The moss, lichen and fern encrusted stump was fabulous and of course nothing one would see here.

    1. Maybe when you and your husband make the trip up north you can stop by Evan's for a look-see in person? (isn't nice how I invite you to his garden?)

  6. Beautiful photos of an outstanding garden. Evan has such a gift. I really admire him.

  7. Oh I am so sorry to have missed this. He is so talented and your photos take me away, thank you for that. I'll get there some day soon - post covid vaccine, perhaps? Just splendid.

  8. Great collection of plants.

    It would be really difficult to ave to move from somewhere like that.

  9. Looks like Fuchsia 'Delta's Sarah' to me.

  10. I though of Deltas Sarah too,one of my faves. I love seeing collectors gardens and I miss Evans more frequent blogposts. It really is a splendid garden.Thanks for the tour!

  11. Thanks so much for coming and for your kind words and photos of my garden, especially since I'm still struggling to rekindle my own blog. I took a quick skim through the earlier post from your first visit and wow. It's hard to realize how much things have changed when you're living in it, you know? It makes me happy to think about where the garden is at now compared to then. I can't really say how much longer I'll be at this garden. I had been planning to leave by spring of 2021, but the pandemic has delayed those plans and made me reconsider, and then reconsider again a few more times. Everything is very much up in the air, but it's possible I'll be staying for some time yet, so you may have ample opportunity to visit again.

    Now let's see... Yes, Ajuga 'Black Scallop. x Fatshedera 'Annemieke'. Yes on the Cunninghamia. Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata'. Abutilon megapotamicum from Plant Delights. Random Mahonia eurybracteata from seed, though possibly originally from 'Indianola Silver' stock. Fuchsia 'Delta's Sarah'. And Danae racemosa.

  12. I'm so glad you posted these photos, blur or not. Evan's a master, combining the a designer's sensibilities and a collector's drive to have the most special plants. Whenever I think I couldn't possibly garden in a climate like Evan's, all I need to do is look at photos of his garden and I'm a convert.


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