Friday, October 24, 2014

Spotted in Berkeley…

Walking down Bancroft Way across from the UC Berkeley Campus I was surprised to see a certain national retailer who’s been facing criticism for some of its questionable choices (and suffering for it) was featuring CMU planter walls in their current displays.

They’re supposed to be cutting edge, ahead of the pack. Don’t they know these things were all over the garden blogs back in 2011? Three years ago!

As I was snapping these photos I had a flashback to criticism I read about these DIY creations, it mentioned their lack of a grounding footing, rebar and mortar – basically indicating they’re an accident waiting to happen.

I wonder if students all across campus are building similar displays in their dorm rooms?

I wonder where they found those concrete cylinders?

I wonder if this is part of the official visual merchandising outline or improvisation with an extra?

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Selaginella kraussiana 'Aurea' is my favorite plant in the garden (this week)...

I cannot remember where it was that I bought Selaginella kraussiana 'Aurea' (golden spikemoss) this spring, but I do remember it was 2 qty, 4" containers that I planted. This spot requires plants that can be laid on. Lila loves to nap here and wake to watch the street/sidewalk/driveway and comment on passers-by (with the gate closed of course).

They spread out quite a bit over the summer and seemed to be happy even when I'd forget to throw any water their way.

Had I seen them available in a nursery I most certainly would have bought a couple more, but never did, that is until I was up in Seattle and spotted one (just one!) at City Peoples Garden Store. It was also on sale, I think 30% off.

Such a bright happy green...

The stats as per


Perennial, Groundcover






Well-Drained, Rich
Even Moisture, Regular
Part Sun, Part Shade, Shade


Evergreen, Gold / Yellow

If your curious for more I found an interesting article from the SF Gate that shares bits like: "Selaginellas are an interesting group of plants, hailing from both tropical and temperate regions, in places as far flung as China, South Africa and the Americas"

And this: "Moss or fern? Selaginella species are spore-producing plants that are frequently referred to as "fern allies." This prehistoric-era family (Selaginellaceae) separated itself early on from the ferns and is botanically closer to lycopods and quillworts. Genera in this family do not produce flowers but form inconspicuous strobili (cones) as lateral axes. Under dry conditions, certain selaginella species, such as S. lepidophylla, roll into brown balls, an occurrence known as poikilohydry. If then watered again, the brown balls become green, leading some to name these species "resurrection plants." (which reminds me I really should give my S. lepidophylla a good soaking one of these days)

So that's my "fav" this week, what's yours?

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Visiting the garden of Bob Hyland and Andrew Beckman

One sunny hot Sunday in August my plant lust partner Patricia and I spent the afternoon touring open gardens. This one, the garden of Bob Hyland and Andrew Beckman was the second we visited that day. The first, and the last, belonged to Paul and Greg the co-owners of Xera Plants (I posted about Paul's garden here and will post about Greg's next week).

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Bob or Andrew just know they are a very creative, and garden/plant centric duo. Bob has a past in public garden work (Longwood Gardens, Strybing Arboretum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden) and since moving to Portland has opened Contained Exuberance (which shares space with Xera) and Hyland Garden Design. Andrew was previously the Garden Editor for Martha Stewart Living and is now the Editorial Director at Timber Press.

Their garden is located in the hills northwest of downtown Portland. For those of you who've been out to Cistus Nursery on Sauvie island you've drive right by (under) their garden. I believe they've been gardening here for 3 years now (correction - Bob says 2 years)...

The above and below (4) photos are of the plantings along their driveway.

I was relieved to spot this agave right away, otherwise I would have been holding my breath wondering, if (when) I would see one.

This is the uppermost terrace of the garden, a smart person would have taken a photo of the view those chairs are positioned to appreciate. Not me, I was concentrating on the plants.

Pretty wonderful right?

The next level down is all about raised veggie plantings.

View back up taken from the veggie level.

When I took the photo above I was sitting in one of those chairs.

Now I'm about to descend to the final (house) level.

Turning back to look at the side of the garage (behind the raised veggie beds) I see this fabulous old stock tank. The photo turned out rather flat but it is quite a beautiful container.

At the bottom of the steps looking back up...

Greenovia aurea ‘Gran Canaria Form’ perhaps?

And now at the nothern most edge of their property looking back to where I started.

The home has a large wrap-around deck.

With plenty of space to relax.

And display your exuberant contained plant collection...

I spy a Hover Dish! Bob's shop is the only place in town (that I know of) where you can purchase them.

This is looking from the edge of the deck back out the driveway where we entered.

Off the deck is a stone patio/path that leads back around the house (and you can see the driveway again here) past a greenhouse (empty and very hot on the day of our visit) and back to the base of the stone stairs by the garage.

Thank you for opening your beautiful garden Bob and Andrew!

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

Monday, October 20, 2014


Not even 12 hours into the autumn rains and my rain gauge already reported a half inch.

Thank goodness our local weather forecasters were on the job and predicting this a week out, that gave me the time I needed to haul the plants that need to be dry into the basement...

And convince Andrew we needed to build the shade pavilion greenhouse with time for me to fill it up.

The smaller plants were all moved undercover.

But what about that big container with the huge Agave ovatifolia and multiple A.lophantha 'Splendida'? Nah, I promised Andrew when I planted it up that we wouldn't try to move it. However I do want to keep those plants on the dry side this winter, so a trip to the big box was in order...

In the interest of full disclosure it was a discussion with Linda Ernst (I'd asked about how she managed to keep a beautiful astelia alive over our cold winter) that got me scheming about a PVC frame.

It really couldn't have been easier, or cheaper! (I spent $5.88 total on PVC)

The only challenging part was the idea of fitting a 10 ft plastic tube into my VW Beetle, thankfully I discovered they had handy cutters available right there in the store so I was able to cut my needed lengths before I even left! (this is when it paid to have measured in advance)

Tada! Oh wait, that's not waterproof yet.

More cheap solutions, a $2.99 shower curtain liner.

I wanted to be able to easily take this contraption apart for storage, or to change out the cover if need be, so the curtain is held on with binder clips (cause I had them), however I've since found PVC "snap clamps" so I'll be looking into using those instead. Once I had the curtain secured in place I cut off the excess along the bottom...

One complication that I hadn't adequately thought through, what about the bits of shower curtain I cut and threw to the ground? The wind could have caused mayhem tossing these pieces all around the garden. Thankfully my faithful assistant was there to keep the order...

Attractive, no, but this is a part of the garden out of sight unless I'm on the patio, which (sadly) I won't be much for the next few months.

I went with a frosted curtain so on those days with both sun and rain the sun won't get too intense on the leaves. I also designed the whole framework to be easily lifted off on dry days for air circulation and light.

Once I looked at the extended weather forecast for the week and realized it was going to be on for days I did worry a little about air circulation, so I cut a ventilation slit, only one as I wanted to see how it handled the wind before cutting another.

Arty shot inside the cover...

Here's the view as you walk into the back garden, you can just barely see the cover at the lower edge of the Yucca rostrata (Sammy)...

But the view from the bedroom window is a little worse. Ah well, it will be good to be able to glance out on a stormy day and make sure it's in place.

Here's the after rainfall photo, with dry bits underneath! I hope the agaves appreciate their little PVC igloo...

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