Friday, April 2, 2021

A visit to Dancing Oaks: the garden

I promised photos of the display gardens at Dancing Oaks Nursery and I intend to deliver. I however must warn you that even I—who took these photos—was surprised by just how dark they are. It was not a nice day to wander and photograph a garden.

The building that I think of as the events facility is surrounded by gardens. Some tree damage (from the February ice storm) was evident in person but I don't think it will show up in these photos. The huge schefflera looked great...

As did the dripping planters in the ponds/raised beds...

I've always admired these huge planters in the warmer months and enjoyed seeing them now, when the garden that surrounds—envelops—them is dormant. It's been such a cool spring that everything seems behind schedule.

Behind the pond/raised bed on the left there used to be a forest of large bamboo, this is what it looks like now. Shocking! 

Turns out this wasn't because of ice load but rather something the owners decided to do last fall. The tall bamboo was a maintenance nightmare and shading the adjacent greenhouse in a way that was not helpful, so they cut it down. Some will be allowed to regrow, but it won't ever become as dense as it used to be.

Other bamboo remains...

I've long appreciated the way they use terracotta planters and chimney flues/pipes.

It's so strange to see this pond exposed, I am used to seeing it completely surrounded by foliage.

Yes please to this little vignette.

The pond from the other side.

That might be a Wissel's Saguaro Cypress in the center? Dunno, it looks a bit thick.

A good looking arctostaphylos, which I can't ID...

Solar panels!

And off in the distance, my agave friends which I look forward to seeing every time I visit.

Have I ever been able to make a positive ID? I'm not sure. I'm guessing maybe one of the Agave parryis or Agave neomexicana.

They look pretty flawless!

This was a sad sight to see. I knew from a Facebook post that the long arbor had succumbed to rot and ice load, but seeing it gone was just so shocking.

Two photos from better days, these are summer shots too, which makes a big difference...

Back to current times. I was tempted by a Euphorbia stygiana I saw in one of the greenhouses, however having lost it twice I decided to pass.

What a luxurious patch of Veratrum californicum!

Why not plant a clump of cyclamen in your steps?

More terracotta...

And Echium pininana still under protection. 

We've had several nights at freezing here in Portland so I imagine things have been even cooler out in the country where Dancing Oaks is located.

Just a couple more photos; this very patch of Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata' was where I fist fell in love with this fern. It never looks good in a container but once you put it in the ground it takes off and is a winner.

The bleached out banana stalks are rather beautiful in their dead state...

And the yuccas make me wish I had more garden space to plant up...

Weather Diary, April 1: Hi 68, Low 47/ Precip 0 

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Between mowing down the bamboo forest and the collapse of the arbor (past summer photos are startling!), this could have turned out to be a sad visit. Luckily you found your agave friends in great shape, as if saying: what ice event? The Echium protection made me chuckle: it looks like it is trying to break out and escape.
    Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata'... LOVE!!!

    1. I was really surprised the agaves looked so good. Goes to show that with proper species and site selection, along with good soil prep they are very tough plants.

  2. I could hardly see any damage so to me the garden looked gorgeous. As gardens are always on the move this is just another phase in it's evolution. The dripping pots and the Arachnoides variegated fern are gorgeous. Think I might steal the pots idea for my water garden this summer. Happy Easter.

    1. Oh if you do steal it I would love to see a photo of what you come up with!

  3. It's funny that you can so often read weather conditions in photos. Your photos read cold and wet to me. In preparing my latest post, the first photos I took read searing hot and dry - so I took others later in the day when the temperatures had come down a bit, an option you didn't have in this circumstance. Those long arbor views from "better days" were wonderful and I hope the nursery will recreate the space.

    1. I went to try and find the post where they shared the long arbor's demise—to see if there was talk of rebuilding—but now I can't find it!

  4. I've shopped online with Dancing Oaks but was not aware they had a garden. It's terrific! I love the huge raised containers in the pond and the chain-moss vignette.

    Am also intrigued by Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata'. Is it invasive or does it spread slowly? I'm currently in a fern-buying phase. Makes me feel good to see they wrapped their plants like good plant parents should. Thanks for the great tour.

    1. In the summertime their garden is just gorgeous, visit if you ever get the chance! As for the fern, I grow mine in a fairly narrow space and have never had it try to escape, so I'd say it's not invasive in the slightest.

  5. Two surprises (Devil's advocate, maybe?): First, I've had Euphorbia stygiana for years. You need to try it again. :) Second, my Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata' has done quite well in a container. I haven't been to DO yet this year. I'm almost afraid to see how different it's going to look.

    1. Remember I'm very near the gorge and get the cold winds and ice, so my Euphorbia stygiana have had to deal with that. On the other hand three times is the magic number for trying before you give up, right? As for Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata' in a container I meant a nursery pot, the usual 4" pot they're sold in.


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