Friday, December 11, 2020

Visiting the garden of another Portland agave lover...(Part 2)

Here we are, back at Linda Callahan's place, admiring her fantastic garden (Part 1 here). Shortly after my visit in early November, she lifted this monster Agave americana 'Variegata' and moved it under cover for the winter. I think there was a little blood.

Since we spent yesterday in the front garden, now we've stepped through a gate and into the side garden, where this beautiful Arctostaphylos 'St. Helena' specimen is cozied up to the fence.

Hesperoyucca whipplei (aka Yucca whipplei), in the front, directly behind is a Yucca rostrata.

This hunk of agave hotness is an Agave gentryi 'Jaws' that Linda purchased back in 2017. I could stare at this beauty for hours.

Stepping back to look at the entire planting area (we're officially in the back garden now). It's hard to see in this photo but that beautiful Eucalyptus is leaning towards the fence.

You can see the lean better here. Sadly it got worse and the entire plant is history now, replaced by a new Eucalyptus gunnii. 

And it was not your imagination, the short tree in the foreground of the above photo is a Magnolia macrophylla. Linda has had bad luck with previous attempts to get this tree established, so hopefully this one will be THE ONE.

We've moved back over now and are looking at the far corner of this side of the back garden. You can see the base of the eucalyptus on the far left for orientation.

Since I last visited this area has been transformed from lawn into a vegetable garden, and what a great space it is! Oh and yes, those are chickens on the far right. I tried—several times—to get a good shot of the gang, but this one really is the best I managed.

Did those corrugated metal planters catch your eye? Linda ordered them from Birdies Garden Products.

The chickens were out roaming when I visited, but they've got a nice home when they're ready to head inside.

I was lucky to see her latest agave acquisition before it was tucked under cover for winter, yes she really did source an Agave vilmoriniana, the octopus agave.

Echium pininana, hardy to the 20's. It's up against the house in a protected location. Fingers crossed it survives this La NiƱa winter.

And the same for this Echium candicans.

Here's the latest exciting addition to the garden! A greenhouse from Palram. It's the 6 x 8' Mythos, and I can officially declare it as fabulous.

It's currently keeping a bumper crop of agave pups warm. Linda's garden produces! Some people harvest kale, she harvests agaves.

It's nearly impossible to see in this photo, but these are conjoined twins, pups from the NOID agave we saw yesterday next to the driveway. 

Between the greenhouse and the neighbor's fence is this gargantuan abutilon. It's all about the blooms with abutilon, but seriously, check out the size of those leaves!

And the flowers...

Metapanax delavayi

Another Tetrapanax papyrifer.

And walking back around the side garden where we entered...

The doomed eucalyptus was looking marvelous against the cool blue sky.

And the chickens have worked their way to a new area, look closely.

Thank you for sharing your gorgeous garden Linda, and for your patience with my many questions for plant ID and other info for these posts. I feel so lucky to be able to watch your garden progress, you've created a wonderland!

If you want more of Linda's garden be sure to follow her on Instagram, here. Oh and btw, I didn't leave empty handed. Agave pups!

Weather Diary, Dec 10: Hi 45, Low 38/ Precip .09 

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


  1. Just like in yesterday's front garden, I'm salivation over the Arctostaphylos' ('St. Helena') branch structure and color. I also love the elevated veggie beds not to mention the chicken mansion! Those look like extremely happy birds, and I bet they respond by laying delicious eggs. Of course you didn't leave empty handed :-D nice shoes.

    1. Chicken mansion, ha! Yes that's exactly what it is.

  2. I've never see - or even heard of - a conjoined agave! I'm envious of that greenhouse. If I can discover a space for one, I might just put that on my 2021 Christmas wishlist.

    1. Nor had I, it will be interesting to see how it grows.

  3. I love that she keeps bees and chickens– a full service garden!

  4. Hi,
    I am impressed and encouraged by the fact that you (and others) can succeed with cactus, agave and yucca in Portland, OR which gets a lot of winter rain.
    Can you write more about soil mixes? You mentioned poultry grit, pumice and perlite. But doesn't the rain eventually carry the soil down so that on top it's mostly grit, or pumice and the bottom a tight mix of soil so water is trapped? Did you ever check when you dug a hole to plant something whether the soil has been carried down and the bottom layer retains moisture? Are raised beds better? BTW, I'm near Washington DC (USDA zone 7, Sunset zone 32) which is rainy but far less so than Portland in winter.

    1. Linda CallahanDecember 11, 2020

      That’s a great question, the soil was thick clay to begin with. I added pumice and grit and amended almost 2ft down. When I plant less hardy cacti or agave I always make sure to have the plant roots elevated 1/2” about soil line and then dress the area with a fresh 1” or more covering of pea gravel. In my experience that has stopped the valuable parts of amended soil from washing away during winter/spring

      I hope that helps!

  5. Gorgeous garden. Thanks for the tour.

  6. Ha, ha, ha, I thought to myself when I saw the Agaves in that wonderful greenhouse that you would be going home with some!!!!

  7. The back is as fantastic as the front. Manzanita + spiky plants = power combo!

    I love that greenhouse. I've been fantasizing of having one. I'll check out the manufacturer website.

  8. Choice plants well grown, chickens, greenhouse...dream garden!


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