Monday, May 9, 2022

Portland desert garden drive-by (under construction)

What a difference a block makes! I regularly drive a path just one street over from this garden, I had no idea this was just around the corner. Granted it's new—under construction even—but it's already looking pretty fabulous...

Last weekend I attended a couple of Hardy Plant Society of Oregon open gardens and parked just a half block away from here. I was making a U-turn to head home when one of the agaves caught my eye—not literally of course. Wowsa!

It looks like the visionary gardener at work here is planting islands of plants and rocks and then will be spreading gravel out between them. Of course that's just my guess.

I do worry when I see plants like those blue chalksticks go in. Obviously I flirt with danger and plant many things that are not reliably hardy here, but I always hope other gardeners haven't been sold a bill of goods and think they're planting long term plants when really an average winter might take them out..

Looks like an Agave parryi 'JC Raulston', that's pretty much bullet-proof here.

I'd be guessing if I tried to ID this agave, but I do think it's one of the hardy varieties.

I love this vignette most of all. It's a crevice garden pyramid!

Hmm... what the heck?

Folks that's a Leucadendron 'Ebony'! Hot damn, definitely not hardy here in an average winter. These are some hard core zone pushers gardening here.

Zone pushers who love rocks.

Agave ovatifolia

I love the fact there are a couple of trunking Yucca rostrata and then several other smaller ones that will begin to trunk very soon. It's a great mix of sizes. 

This agave has me stumped. Anyone care to make a guess? *update, the owner of the garden has been in contact and says this is Agave x protamericana 'Silver Surfer'*

Nice opuntia, more chalksticks...

The plantings up near the house are obviously established, which has me guessing that maybe the current residents have been here awhile but are just getting around to removing a front lawn and taking their garden style all the way to the street?

This is definitely one I'll be watching!

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  1. I have a container of Blue Chalk Sticks in my greenhouse. When it gets leggy and trails down the side of the pot, I clip it back in the spring. The cuttings root easily, so then I grow them in the garden as annuals. It's been wetter than usual here this spring, so this year they're struggling a bit.

    1. Ya, I've done the same, growing them as annuals and some years taking cuttings before they freeze (and turn to mush), then rooting them and planting them out again.

  2. What a great find! And it's fun that you discovered it as an early work in process too. Re the Leucadendron, hopefully its placement close to the house and surrounded by other plants will help protect it when your winter weather turns nasty.

    1. I ended up chatting with the owner/designer/gardener on Instagram (turns out we've "talked" before) and that leucadendron has been in place for four years! That's a run of mild winters for sure.

  3. I love seeing the process, so your timing is perfect.

  4. AnonymousMay 09, 2022

    This is a good garden to return to periodically, to follow its progress to completion, and through the next winter or two. Leucadendron 'Ebony'... only in my dreams. A profusely pink blooming tree snuck into the last photo. That unintended pop of color made me chuckle.

    1. Those pink dogwoods are exploding all over town...

  5. You manage to find so many wonderful gardens just by accident. I try, but no such luck where I love.

    Senecio mandraliscae is hardier than people give it credit for, but I would be surprised if it managed to live through a Portland winter. But you never know....

    1. Ya I lost some last winter and it wasn't even that cold here. They're easy to propagate by cuttings though!

  6. Very nicely designed, with good plant choices. Did they do the design themselves or hire it out?


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