Friday, March 4, 2022

Visiting Pam Penick's garden again—Part Two

I wonder sometimes; do y'all like garden visits to wrap up in one tidy post? Or do you prefer two days worth of photos, a chance to see more detail? I decided to err on the side of more being more, with my recap of October's visit to Pam Penick's garden (Part One here)

I'm picking up in the back garden, just about to turn the corner and walk out front. Such a nice wide, tidy, pathway...

Now standing just a little beyond that tall Yucca rostrata you saw above, and looking backwards. 

Having walked thru and closed the side gate (not wanting Cosmo to escape), it was fun to see that same Yucca rostrata highlighted in the gate's small window.

Just to the side of the gate is one of a pair of fabulous cantera stone columns, Pam says a friend passed them along. This one is topped by a simple bowl planted with a foxtail fern.

Here's the second column...

Topped with a large metal bowl and a variegated Agave americana, perfection. 

As I recall Pam placed the mirror-backed lattice rectangles along the wall to break up the expanse of brick. Since I know her home was recently painted, including the brick (see photos here), I wonder if she's planning to rehang them?

There are a couple private sit-spots along the side of the house. I envy people with generous side yards.

Looking back...

I forget how many Texas stars there were in the pathway—I only photographed one. 

That agave was begging to have it's photo taken again, I obliged.

I saw this dark pennisetum in a couple Texas gardens, I'm jealous as it's an annual here in Portland and it's been years since I've bothered to find a spot for it. Such a great plant...

While photographing this raised area with the retaining wall by the garage I started to wonder if this was another of the many upgrades Pam has done around the property. I've been reading her blog for years, but of course don't remember everything she's done, so I asked. It turns out this area was a steeply sloping berm when they moved in. Pam had the berm cut back from the driveway and put in the retaining wall. See some seriously old photos (her kids were so little!) of that area and the project here

Plants in the raised area include Dasylirion wheeleri (wheeler's sotol) and Yucca pallida. The groundcover is Stemodia lanata, aka woolly stemodia. Pam says all three are native to Texas.

A photo with dramatic morning light...

As I mentioned Pam recently had the house painted and as a result (in her words) "No more busy brick!" I guess I shouldn't admit that I kind of liked the busy brick?

Then again I didn't have to live with it!

Standing in front of the garage and aiming my camera out across the driveway towards the neighbor's house. 

Of course I realize now that I've managed to avoid mentioning the very attractive elephant in the room, aka the live oaks that tower over Pam's garden and the neighborhood. I am guilty of forgetting to look up, instead concentrating on the ground plane. 

An iconic Pam planting.

I love everything about how Pam has planted up the island surrounded by their u-shaped driveway. I didn't ask, but assume the Agave ovatifolia is being protected from male deer rubbing the velvet off their antlers. During my visit we saw so many deer hanging out in her neighbor's yards, wandering the streets... gangs of them!

The agave's a beauty, even in a cage.

I'm also kind of palm dumb, unable to ID most of them. This one though, Sabal minor (aka Texas dwarf palmetto), I've got a major crush on it.

Just a few more photos to go! Up against the front of the house Pam planted a lovely patch of Carex leavenworthii as a (better than) lawn replacement. Of course my eyes are drawn to the tractor seat plant, Farfugium japonicum ‘Gigantea’. 

Looking across to the spiky side.

Pam's inspired collection of rusty circles filled with spiky plants is the perfect way to end this in-depth look at her fantastic garden. 

I previously mentioned how different our USDA Zone 8 growing conditions are, but I'm happy we can both grow a mean Agave ovatifolia! (or three, or four, or...) Thanks again for sharing your home and garden with me Pam! I can't wait to come back...

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. You've reminded me how much I like Pam's raised pots. I need to do more of that in my own garden.

    1. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  2. Lovely garden. It's very cool to see what is growing in different environments. Pam has a great collection of succulents in more xereic areas but then also a wide variety of herbaceous plants in others areas for a lush look making her garden truly eclectic.

    1. I hadn't thought of the contrast as being unique (since that's how I garden too), but great observation!

  3. In answer to your question- I like the detail your posts offer about the gardens you visit. If some of them require multiple posts to convey what interested you, then I am also interested. Our gardening environments are so different that every plant and texture you show is exotic to me, particularly this time of year when we are still dipping below zero fahrenheit at night.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I spent significant time working in the garden yesterday and noticed many signs of spring, I can't imagine dealing with the cold you are dealing with.

  4. Thanks for sharing your Part 2, Loree! Again, you got some perspectives I've not used myself. I'll have to remedy that on my blog. To answer your question about the mirrored lattice panels on the long blank wall -- I took them down for the painting, and in the process realized how much the lattice had rotted. They weren't fit to rehang, and the mirrored plexi is too fragile to attach to new lattice. So I ditched them in favor of metal lattice panels -- unmirrored, alas, but they still look good, echo the lattice fence, and break up that long wall. And they won't rot.

    The dark purple grass is 'Vertigo' pennisetum. Regular purple fountain grass is an annual here in Austin (or a sad straggler if it returns), but 'Vertigo' reliably returns each spring. I love it.

    And I think that may be a deer's hoofprint (a little smeared in the wet gravel) in the picture with the Texas star!

    1. I look forward to seeing your new lattice panels (hint hint). Yes I thought that was 'Vertigo' pennisetum, and it's is an annual here, unfortunately. I totally missed that hoof print!

  5. If a garden provides a plethora of opportunities to take pictures, it doesn't matter to me how you share them, all at once or in multiple parts, as long as you share.
    I intended to comment about other things but then saw the Carex leavenworthii lawn replacement. I just love that! I've seen it in done using Liriope in hell strips or other confined areas in West Seattle: lush and textured green without mowing.

    1. Would you believe Pam has since taken out the Carex leavenworthii lawn?

    2. Only because it had become infested with chiggers that bit me every time I had to pull a weed in there or even brushed against the sedge. It was very frustrating because I loved that sedge lawnette. But if you've ever had a chigger bite -- they itch like mad and last for a week or more -- you'll understand that 2 seasons was all I could take. My other sedge areas have not had that issue, for whatever reason. And now I have a nice little patio by the Japanese maple to enjoy. :)

    3. I have been bitten by chiggers and I completely understand! Luckily I accidently removed the offending host, but had I known I would have removed it sooner. A front garden patio sounds lovely...

  6. I like longer posts, even if that means breaking them into multiple parts. As you say, more is more!

  7. I'm good with multiple posts for gardens with lots to see. Almost every image here was a revelation. I felt like I didn't really know her garden nearly as well as I thought.


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