Friday, November 12, 2021

2021 tour of my garden, the private side

Welcome back to my annual garden tour! If you missed the first installment—touring the front garden—click on over here for that. If not, and you're ready to go, well then let's open the agavegate...

I am so happy the entrance to the back garden finally feels enclosed and mysterious. Exactly how I pictured it. Walking in you have no idea there's anything beyond that small patch of lawn.

By the way, those who don't like their plants to touch should turn back, while it's still safe! Looking up: schefflera, metapanax, albizia, trachycarpus, callistemon, parthenocissus.

Looking down: Aechmea recurvata, tucked into the ground for the summer. However, it's mid November and I still haven't lifted them. Guess I better think about doing that sometime soon.

Now we've walked through the initial jungle entrance and the garden opens up a bit. 

The plantings are still rather dense, there's a lot to look at! 

Moving closer to the palm (Trachycarpus wagnerianus) seen in the two photos above, and turning to look towards the southwest corner of the back garden.

Then turning to the right we're looking at the north-end of the upper back garden, as it abuts the neighbor's garage. I'm planning on asking them if I can paint this wall the same orange as the shade pavilion (seen in the photo just above). I need a pop up color! They can't see this side of their garage, but it seems appropriate to ask just the same.

Here's one of the sad results of last June's "heat dome." It turns out the new leaves on Sinopanax formosanus do not appreciate sun and 116 degrees. I plan to cut it back below this point next spring. It's an aralia so I'm pretty sure it won't mind the harsh treatment.

I can't get a photo of this area against the back of the house with good light and color. It's quite fabulous in real life.

There are a lot of nice ferns in there, including this variegated pyrrosia.

Turning, once again, towards the shade pavilion. Did I already warn you how long this post is? There are 57 images. While editing the photos I enjoyed "walking" through my summer garden so much that I couldn't pare down the images any further.

The south-end of the upper back garden and the side of our garage.

This is where the bromeliads get to spend their summer vacation.

Tucked in the same area, a potted in Onoclea sensibilis, the sensitive fern, mixed in with other ferns and a hosta.

Another overall shot of this area.

The path to the shade pavilion...

Shall we head that way? Nope. First we'll go down to the patio.

As we go though a look back, towards the shady corner with the ferns.

And now down to the patio...

And a closer look at the chartreuse circle pot. Yes I purposely positioned the camera to capture the orange version hanging under the shade pavilion in the background.

Turns out the circle pot made it into a lot of photos! I cringe at that nubbin on Clifford's trunk (Clifford is our big leaf magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla) to the right of the circle pot. Andrew wanted to cut the lower branches a couple of years ago, but I kept putting it off because they gave me a nice place to perch epiphytic plants.

Weird light in this photo but I included it to keep the tour progressing in a counterclockwise fashion around the patio.

I need to divide my Darlingtonia californica sometime soon...

Since I recently shared several photos of the newly planted area under the loquat/behind the Stachyurus salicifolius (dark branches) I won't take you back there again so soon. Moving on...

Part of me really misses being able to see the stock tank pond, which is now completely blocked by that massive Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue', then again I do love the massive agave!

The largest of seven Echium wildpretii that are dotted around the garden. What will winter hold for them? (they're not reliably hardy here)

Variegated Daphniphyllum

That Nolina hibernica 'La Siberica' is on it's way to becoming the star of this spot. Of the three I have it's the only one I managed to put in a place where it could actually grow to be the size it wants to be. Page back up nine images to where we're about to step down on to the patio and you can see the oldest/largest on the right—I stupidly put it right next to the pathway! 

It's not your imagination, there are less pots on the patio this year, I got rid of a few things that I just didn't love anymore.

Strobilanthes gossypinus was definitely a keeper...

The poor Pseudopanax laetus (tall bare stems) didn't recover well from the June heat. In the spring I'm going to give it a hard prune and see how it responds. It might be time to let this one go or maybe put it in the ground and see how it does (it's borderline hardy).

The wide leaf bamboo (Sasa palmata 'Nebulosa') got completely cut back last year as it had a bad infestation of mites. Then, this spring, the new growth was repeatedly chomped on by rats, at least that's what others who have experienced the same destruction said was to blame (yuck). It finally won the battle though and is making it's presence known known once again.

Moving along—those big floppy leaves belong to Scadoxus puniceus.

Pulled expose the empty southwest corner (thanks to laurel trimming by the neighbor), if you think you see shiny metal tubes back there you would be right. I bought them just before breaking my ankle and so there they sat all summer long, just plopped down, as-is. I have a plan though and can't wait to make it happen, next year.

Panning in the other direction (east)

Even though these containers are in the shade in this photo, they still received a good bit of summer sunshine throughout the day.

Pulled back...

Finally let's explore under the shade pavilion.

I absolutely love using the fence for vertical gardening, as you've probably guessed.

The back of the garage too...

I lost the  Dichondra argentea I had in the original trashcan lid planting over the last winter, I just couldn't keep it watered to it's liking. However since everything else is going strong (and I stuffed a couple additional cryptanthus in there) I don't miss it at all.

My mini fern crevice garden.

And a selection of fabulous fern foliage! Pyrrosia polydactyla is the star, supporting characters include Coniogramme emeiensis 'Golden Zebra', Blechnum chilense, and (if I remember correctly), Polystichum setiferum.

Group shot

The fern table is holding up well.

Since my huge Podophyllum pleianthum that used to live in this tank bit the dust earlier this spring (still not sure why, maybe the late freeze/snow/ice after they'd started to emerge?) I used the tank as a holding spot for all the bromeliads I wasn't able to get creative with due to the ankle break. Or rather I used it for that in June, and since I liked the look I never bothered to do anything else with them. Now they're all in the basement garden.

The green wall (I use that label very tonque-in-cheek).

Looking west.

Okay, just a few more photos (I may have included too many). 

Our new chairs with cushions were a huge success. Once I was able to walk around the garden again they were a great spot to stop and rest.

I may need to refresh my fern bowl (bottom center) next spring, I think things are getting a little crowded.

It's interesting how different thie Pyrrosia polydactyla in the fern bowl is from the one I shared above. Those black veins are pretty fabulous.

Another plant I couldnt stop looking at all summer, Nepenthes  x Miranda put out so many pitchers.

They're incredible.

Testing how this little Aloe aristata/Aristaloe aristata does in this rusty metal piece I found. There's not much soil in there.

Well, there you are, a comprehensive look at my 2021 garden. Thanks for stopping by!

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


  1. Wow Loree!

    What a super collection of plants that you have.

    You have created a beautiful garden with so much to look at. Well done you!

    As for all of the plants bleding together, well I am all for that. Come the end of the summer you should not be able to see any bare ground. I mean it would be different if you had a huge space, but you don't and you love plants :D

    1. Thanks Adam, and we are in complete agreement about cramscaping!

  2. This is such a dense post, I'll have to revisit it a few times to take it all in!

    Your garden truly defies categorization, both in terms of geography and gardening style. It's uniquely you, and that makes it so special.

    Your fern collection has grown considerably. You do mention ferns regularly, but this post has given me a better appreciation of the entire lot.

    BTW, I love your new furniture! Your patio table looks very similar to ours. Did you get it from IKEA?

    1. Thanks Gerhard, and yes, IKEA. I looked everywhere for something I really loved, and found nothing. Of the lot this IKEA table was the best, and certainly the best price.

  3. Your garden is a feast to my eyes. Always favoring the shady spots, I'v examined all ferns multiple times. The black vein'd Pyrrosia polydactyla is gorgeous. Strobilanthes gossypinus has fantastic color and pattern. I had to bring in my zebra fern as rabbits were devouring all emerging fronds. In photo #4, bellow Aechmea recurvata right of center, there is a low growing odd plant... what on earth is it?

    1. Those darn rabbits! I think you've noticed the tubular sempervivum—it goes by the name Sempervivum 'Oddity'... isn't it strange?

  4. Beautiful space you created. I'm like you, I cram my plants in until they squeal. I love the look.

  5. Wonderful jungle effect, but not messy or neglected. That's the way to go.

    1. If you could see it now... I think it would qualify as messy or neglected. Such is life in autumn in the PNW.

  6. It just keeps getting better and better, Loree... I love the jungly look when you first enter the back... a suburban oasis!

  7. It always surprises me just how HUGE your back garden feels. Your mastery of the art of planting to allow areas to be revealed as you pass through the space is unmatchable. Although I can't identify a favorite area, I do adore the areas under the shade pavilion, the fence beyond it, and the back of the garage.

    P.S. I got my first Pyrrosia on one of this week's plant shopping expeditions. I've tucked it into a pot and placed it in my lath house ;)

    1. So many people who have visited over the years note that it's a lot smaller "in real life" than they thought it would be. And yay! I'm thrilled you found a pyrrosia, which one is it?

  8. I loved revisiting your back garden, Loree! What a sweet reminder of summer’s bounty here in Oregon; It’s hardly been a month and I’m already fed up to *here* with autumn’s wet and cool weather(Like you, I belong to the Church of Summer! What is the interesting vine with leaves that have three points that’s climbing up your Trachy on the south side of your neighbor’s garage? I feel like you mentioned it at some point but I have blanked on the name if so.

    1. Oh that summer could go on forever...

      The vine you ask about is Passiflora lutea. It dies back in the fall but resprouts in the spring. The flowers are so tiny (about the size of the end of my pinky finger) they're easy to miss, luckily I love the leaves. I've promised Heather a piece, would you like one too?

    2. It's the leaves that I liked, so no worries about flowers. I'd love a start, thank you!

  9. Thanks for the tour, and I'm working backwards, so the public side is next. Of course I'm imagining when I get to visit! That last shot says it all, lush yet bold. A table I could sit at for hours and read, sip something to drink, and daydream.

    Summer has its place and our's was more typical than the last 3, but I'm glad we're at 2 months of warm days and chilly nights.

    1. Looking forward to the day you're here in person.

  10. Your garden is so serene and special feeling, I just love the collection of different plants (ferns and succulents). Also the mixture of colors is wonderful! Including the green red and dark blue pots Love! Love love love ❤ your sitting area under the shade Pavillion, so cozy!

  11. linda petersonNovember 13, 2021

    gosh, loree - your garden would be PERFECT if only you weren't so skimpy with plants!!! ;)

    1. I know, I could really use another 100 or so plants...

  12. it's just mind blowing what you've done here

  13. Loree, I've been following you since I read your incredible book. I was an avid agave collector in Tucson for many years and sadly abandoned them 15 years ago. Thanks to a friend and a revisit to Tucson this past spring, I have returned with a few pups of A. murphyi, variegated A. australia, A. sussalina, A
    villmorana, and plain old giant, A. americana. Happy to share or trade with you if you ever want to meet a fellow agavephilist. I'm also fern collector (yeah, study in contrasts) so happy to meet someone else who shares this love too.

    1. Hi Rob, what a wonderful comment! I just returned from a week in the Los Angeles area, I was in agave heaven. It's so amazing to regularly see car-sized agaves. I would love to trade agaves with you. I think I have a few pups you do not (from that list), and Agave sisalana (I think that's what you meant?) in particular is one I've coveted but never managed to find. Email me at: spiky plants at gmail dot com.


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