Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Back Garden Tour 2022, Chapter 1

We begin this year's tour of the back garden in the driveway, where instead of sharing a container garden like I usually do, we get scaffolding and a siding project. The cedar shingles on the upper side of the house were original (1948) and in need of replacement. The job was too small for a professional to take on (we tried!), so Andrew did it himself. Pretty darn impressive I thought, especially because it involved moving two soil-filled stock tanks and that humongous agave.

Just like the front garden tour, these photos were all taken on the same day in mid-September. Rather than try to put together a "best of" collection with lots of perfectly lit photos, I'm going with "a day in the life" style of reporting. Let's head into the back garden...

Oh! But first, I am very happy with how this Agave americana, 'Mediopicta Alba' has worked in my Point Pot. I hope it gets some size to it—even though that means I might have to break the pot to get it out eventually.

The entrance to the back garden continues to become more and more jungly. Or if you're my 6ft 2in husband, it continues to become less friendly—he doesn't like plants touching him.

Shifting our eyes to the right and the back of the house. 

Passiflora 'Snow Queen' growing on the trellis.

Agave 'Cornelius' in the table planter. Yes there's a little soil in the rectangular tube, and no I don't know what this metal piece really is. I bought it at Portland's Rebuilding Center.

The view expands a bit...

And a bit more...

Looking west, our patio in the distance—at a lower level, just under 2-ft lower than the upper garden.

The orange wall comes into view! Looking northwest now, the entrance to the garden is directly behind us...

Orange accents help to pull the orange wall out into the garden. 

The shrub with the bursts of yellow is Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Miu' / Roman Candle™ Podocarpus from the Sunset Plant Collection, I brought it home in 2018. To it's left is a Nolina hibernica 'La Siberica'—yes they are too close together. We'll see how I handle that. 

I replanted this area this spring, but I don't think I ever wrote about it—a mix of ferns and rhododendrons: Rhododendron pseudochrysanthum, Rhododendron williamsianum, Epimedium 'Spine Tingler', Pyrrosia lingua 'Eboshi', etc... all too close together but hey, that's how I roll.

Ficus tikoua

Turning to look east, across the small upper lawn towards the back of the house.

And looking southwest towards the shade pavilion. Instead of focusing on the pavilion and ground level I angled the camera up to catch just how big Clifford—the big leaf magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla—is these days. That's a lot of leaves I'll be picking up in just a few weeks.

Here's the normal shot at ground level.

And focused on the trio of dish-planters.

You pass by this palm, a Trachycarpus wagnerianus, on your way into the back garden. However, since the patio and everything else is opening up in front of you, you don't really notice the plants on the trunk until you're in the back garden and you turn back to appreciate them.

I featured this Fascicularia bicolor bloom much further along in my October Bloomday post (here), but back when I took the tour photos it was just getting started.

Stagorn ferns hanging nearby, in the Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate'—which by the way was trimmed back pretty significantly early this spring and thus has been a much better garden team member this summer.

I love watching the orange wall and how it's changing as the light changes with the seasons. I am so very glad I painted it!

So the orange wall is the neighbor's garage, the north boundary to our upper back garden. This is our garage, the south boundary. No I didn't intentionally plant shrubs on only one side. There was a Schefflera taiwaniana on the west side that died a couple of years ago and I never got around to replacing it, instead dropping bromeliads into the space for the summer. 

I do love the Metapanax delavayi for the structure it provides—more space to hang plants! 

My palms are getting tall! 

Looking down at the patio now, straight on west.

Shifting my focus south, to the shade pavilion.

SW with the blooming Agave victoriae-reginae.


And almost straight north, but not quite.

We'll head down to the patio on Friday, during Chapter 2 of this tour and we'll look at the area around the shade pavilion as well.  

See you then!

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


  1. Clifford is magnificent! And everything is looking so mature, the palms and metapanax. It's all at that wonderful stage where you get to happily embellish with your broms and tillys and underplant with ferns. And thank you again for the invite to the plant swap! I feel like a heel bringing so little and taking so much, but so much fun!

    1. It was great that you were there to rescue the things that needed a home! So glad you could make it.

  2. Given how "cramscaped" your garden is, I am amazed at how much unplanted area you actually have. And I had to smile that Andrew doesn't like plants touching him. I am always loving plants that reach out and tower over me. Mark is always wanting me to pull things out to widen the paths.

    1. I hope that "negative" (unplanted) space hopes to control the chaos a little bit.

  3. As beautiful as your front garden is, I love your back garden even more. The orange elements you've peppered through the landscape pull all the different plants together well. The dish planters draw attention, while still fitting into the overall composition. (Is that an Astelia in front of the group in photo 20?) A neighbor showed me her back garden yesterday and I mentioned "cramscaping," attributing the term to you. She was delighted with that description, which also defines her approach to gardening.

    Kudos to Andrew for tackling that siding project. We've had the same experience in getting contractors to take on what they consider "small projects," especially since the pandemic. For a small project, yours looked pretty big!

    1. Yes, an astelia. I think maybe 'Red Devil', I've lost track! That siding project was a nightmare, but Andrew handled it so well. I wish I could have helped, at least with the painting, but I can't climb that high. It would have been disastrous.

  4. Your garden really is one of the best.

  5. So many amazing plants and arrangements, Loree. I really like the dish planters and your seating arrangements.

  6. Your garden seems to be getting very shady--how is that working for you? Looks more mature with the taller trees. Lovely jungle-y look but without being messy or out of control.

    The unknown metal thing--maybe a vent for a flat roof?

    1. Shade happens right? It's fine. Ah... yes, that could be what the metal thing was supposed to be.

  7. The photos make your back garden area seem huge. Knew the orange wall would grow on you. It's a gorgeous backdrop to all the green. Will you cut off the blooming agave stem to bring in or can the plant stay outdoors? Snow coming here Friday night so the great indoor migration pace has picked up considerably.

    1. Huge it is not! The agave will stay outdoors. The blooming is done now, I'm just watching and hoping that seeds develop. Snow!?! Ugh.

  8. Up, up, and away! I love how you've added so many vertical accents. That's the last frontier for most of us, and by far the most difficult. As always, you guide and inspire us :-)

    1. I love vertical, more garden space! I just wish they could stay there year round...

  9. Thanks for the back part 1 tour, and now onto part 2. What has always struck me is the way the regularly spaced pavers / tight lawn juxtaposes the spiky jungle in the other beds. It's all so legible yet private. Few people pull that off as well as you have, Danger.

    1. Ah, thank you! I appreciate your designer's critique very much.


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