Friday, September 19, 2014

WWTT #16

Yes it’s been awhile since we’ve enjoyed a good WWTT post, here we go...

Zipping along one day I caught the sight of something out of the corner of my eye. Something that made me stop and turn around, just to make sure I’d seen it correctly.

Yes, yes I had. But the thing is it was a hot day and the homeowner (gardener?) was enjoying a cigarette on his front porch. You can't see him because the porch is hidden behind that big green thing, but trust me, he's there. So I manned up and asked “can I take a photo of your cactus?”… “Yes, you can” and so I give you opuntia row...

So straight.

So spiky.

So, odd.

But I love it. It’s his vision and he’s going for it, barberry and mini-rose included. I just wish I knew what he was thinking.

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Echeveria elegans is my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

If I lived in a slightly warmer climate scenes like the one below would be repeated throughout my garden...

But since I don’t, they aren’t. And so I enjoy the couple I have, this one especially since it’s along the path I walk from the patio to the house...

The agaves are always planted here for the summer, but this is the first year I've added the Echeveria elegans. I bought them at Cistus earlier in the year, if memory serves there were just two rosettes then. They've done exactly what I hoped they would, form a bit of a wrap around the base of the agave. Sadly the whole lot will be dug up in another couple of months, but be replanted in the spring.

The Cistus description: “Echeveria elegans (Mexican Snowball) Dense, blue-gray succulent species from Mexico that mounds or spreads slowly in tight colonies. Edges of leaves are slightly pink, producing equally pretty small pink flowers with a yellow tinge. Very handsome and uniform in the garden. More cold hardy than many other echieveria hybrids, this one makes an excellent rock garden or container plant that needs occasional winter protection below 25 degrees. Drought-tolerant. Plant in part to full sun.”

I love how their powder blue echoes the blue of the agaves. So...anything you're admiring in your garden this week?

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Early autumn harvest…

What, you expected apples or pumpkins? Silly. It’s time to harvest the agave pups!

I’ve never before separated my Agave americana pups, I think because I’ve suffered from the delusion that if left in place they’d magically grow into a fierce spiky patch, like seen in the Southwest. Instead they turn mushy and die over the winter. After almost losing my “big” (don’t laugh, they’re big for Portland!) A. americanas last winter I vowed to not repeat that mistake again. Why not take advantage of the insurance nature is providing me?

I cut away the two furthest from mom, I just couldn’t bring myself to mess with the one snugged up against her.

There was another on the other side…

Got that one too, but left the two guys on the upper right in the photo above. They are just too tiny.

Here’s the other big A. americana…

I am thrilled these guys are both looking so good after I thought I’d lost them.

This one's got a few pups too...

Here’s the harvest, 8 new plants…

This one came out sans the roots, hopefully it will make it.

I love that plants so small still have wicked teeth and their imprints on the leaves.

All potted up to be protected and grow on over winter.

Of course we’ve still got a week of summer left and nice long sunny warm autumn ahead too! (see, I’m slowing coming to terms with it…)

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloomday for September 2014

September 15th, we're down to the last full week of summer. It's been a good one, hot and sunny, but of course all too fast. It's time for a look at what's blooming as autumn is knocking at the door, to see the full report from blogs around the world visit May Dreams Gardens.

The canna's are going strong. It's a pity I'm unable to tell you what any of them are...

This is Callistemon citrinus, it's not especially hardy but went in the ground this spring. Time will tell...

This silly thing, Abutilon 'Red Tiger', has grown and grown and grown, but not bloomed much. Right now it's finally got 4 flowers and half a dozen buds. It must have realized I was eyeing it's spot and thinking about what I'd plant there when I got rid of it.

Cassia didymobotrya

Clematis tibetana var. vernayi

And the fully opened bloom of last week's "favorite" Colocasia fontanesii...

The Crocosmia 'Orangeade' just keeps on pushing out new flowers, I love this plant!

There were three blooms on the Hedychium 'Tara' this year, this the last one.

The spaced themselves out nicely, I've been enjoying them for 3 weeks.

Passiflora 'Sunburst' is a riot of blooms right now. My first go at rooting cuttings failed miserably. I'll try again.

Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'

Mahonia fortunei 'Curlyque'

Mahonia gracilipes

Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart'

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Schefflera brevipedunculata, on it's third round of blooms.

The very unattractive buds/blooms/seed heads of Senecio mandraliscae.

And finally Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'...enjoy your last week of summer!

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Colocasia fontanesii is my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

Who doesn't love a colocasia? Those big leaves are welcome in most every garden.

I'm usually pretty successful overwintering them in the basement. They lose most of their leaves by spring, but they're still alive and usually leaf out when the temperatures warm in the garden, late June to early July. This last winter I lost several, perhaps I was too caught up in caring for the plants outdoors (it was a tough winter) and didn't give the colocasia enough water to keep them alive. Whatever the reason earlier this summer I bought this dark stemmed beauty, Colocasia fontanesii, to fill the gap. This is the view when I'm sitting on the patio and glance up towards the shade pavilion...

I've been admiring it for weeks and finally decided it deserved the "fav" spotlight. Taking these photos I was surprised to see that bright chartreuse point behind the shortest leaf.

It's going to bloom! A very rare occurrence for me. It won't be a showy flower but it's still a nice development.

The stats on Colocasia fontanesii:
  • tropical in the Araceae family
  • 4-6 ft tall, and up to 5 ft wide in wet soils, or shallow water (and when planted in the ground where it can over-winter outdoors)
  • leaves can be up to 3 ft across
  • needs dappled shade to part sun
  • stems die back at freezing but should resprout from base if mulched well (down to USDA Zone 8, maybe 7)
Another thing I love about colocasia in general are the great photos you can take when the sun hits their big leaves and magically illuminates them. Pretty dreamy right? Anything you're admiring in your garden this week?

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Discovering new plants...

As I'm sure I've said a dozen times or more, I am very lucky to live in an area rich with amazing nurseries. Just last week I decided to visit Cistus Nursery, no real purpose in mind, just the luxury of a free afternoon. I wandered and enjoyed, knowing perhaps I'd fall in love with something I had to have. Naturally I did, Leucadendron 'Jubilee Crown'...

It has a similar airy soft feel to that of Adenanthos sericeus (Coastal Woollybush) and Phylica pubescens (from Annie's Annuals, loved and lost), but it's different. The description: "handsome medium-sized South African shrub with gray-green, red-tipped rainbow foliage and very cool pink to maroon cones. Height and width to 4-6'. Prunes easily into a low hedge or border planting. Feeding promotes faster growth, but avoid phosphorous at all costs. Water well to establish; after that, extremely drought tolerant. Full sun. Well-drained soil or container. Frost hardy to USDA Zone 9."

I also picked up a Caesalpinia gilliesii, my second this year (third plant "ever" if you count the one I lost last year). I wrote more about this one yesterday, on the plant lust blog.

If there was one plant I thought I'd be coming home with it's this, Delosperma sp. 'Leea Koppie'. I spied it in passing last time I was at Cistus, just for a moment. I don't know why but ice plants just don't grab me like they should. Even this one with the electric orange flower. I stood there looking at it, knowing I should just buy it, but I didn't.

This however, Ficus afghanistanica 'Silver Lyre', I've lusted after for awhile and finally came home with. Check out the photos on and you'll understand why: "A Cistus introduction...yet another hardy fig. We wonder where it's been all our lives. Native from Northern India to western Iran and Afghanistan and a delicacy there with its small, dark, very sweet fruit. We have selected this form from seed for its entrancing, filigreed, silver-green leaves of about 5-7". So far, ours have been for external use only as we have not tasted the fruit. Eventually might reach 15-20' in height; can easily be kept smaller with pruning. Sun to part shade. Very drought tolerant once established. Frost hardy to the upper edge of USDA Zone 7 so far."

So that title, "discovering new plants," is really about these next three treasures which Sean Hogan pulled out of the greenhouses and handed to me. First is Dendroseris macrophylla, which I thought looked a little like Euphorbia stygiana. Instead it's a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family, from Chile. Sean says it can form rosettes two-feet across, you know what talk like that does for me! There is not much to be found about this plant online, although it is offered on the Cistus Mail Order list for Fall 2014. I think I'll be planting it in the front garden where the departed Brachyglottis greyi was growing. Love those leaves...

Perhaps this Bommeria hispida will be tucked in nearby, maybe snugged up to the Agave ovatifolia.

Native to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas (according to the USDA) the Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences says "Bommeria hispida is a somewhat leafy appearing, hairy low, creeping fern. The younger fronds are dark green, but as they age they turn copper and red. The top surface of each frond is covered with short, straight hairs. The bottom surface of the fronds is very crowded with not only straight hairs, but also hairs that are curly, like wood shavings." It is a mat-forming evergreen fern which can grow to 5-ft across, collected at 6200 ft in the Peloncillo Mountains of Arizona by Sean, hardy to USDA Zone 7. So fury!

One more, Cheilanthes lindheimeri, it's a bad photo but a cool little desert fern which I am thrilled to plant and (hopefully) watch grow. From a collection made along the border between Arizona and Mexico (by Sean) it was found growing tucked up against pink boulders, and under various cactus and Agave palmeri. Also hardy to USDA Zone 7. And in case you were wondering, the ferns are also on the Fall Mail Order list. New plants, there's really nothing better...

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.