Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple' is my favorite plant in the garden (this week)…

I’ve never been one to garden with an eye to fall color. Most of the plants I’m drawn to don’t really put on a big fall display and besides, there’s plenty all around me (in the neighborhood) so why worry about including it in my garden? So I am surprised every year when my Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' starts to put on its fall show.

I planted it for the dark leaves it holds through summer, not having a clue it would color up in the fall, eventually putting on a show that rivals the neighbors sumac (Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes', which it is closely related to) seen here on the left...

It’s also my short color-echo for another neighbor’s maple...

The stats on this “smoke bush”:
  • deciduous shrub which grows in USDA Zones 5a-9b
  • eventual height and width of 15' x 15' - can be kept smaller with pruning
  • likes sun to part sun exposure with average soil and moderate water
  • flowers in the summer with small yellow blooms which give way to pink to bronze colored puffy smoke-like plumes

While I was thinking about it I took a look around for anything else in my garden that’s colored up red/orange. I almost included the blood grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron') but since it’s always red that would be cheating. The big winner is the Parthenocissus quinquefolia, a hitchhiker that came along with some plants from my mom’s garden in Spokane. I tear out huge pieces of it all the time, lest it take over. Here it is picturesquely climbing across my neighbor’s garage (yes it originates in my garden) mixed in with the foliage of a clematis and her hops vine...

The only other bright color I found belongs to the fallen seed cones of the Magnolia macrophylla, which are starting to hit the ground with an audible thump.

They look like this when they fall, but then the seeds start to disappear.

Or like in this case the whole thing disappears! I placed a fallen cone here just yesterday, all that remains is the stem.

Anyway, back to that cotinus and a question…got a fall fav in your garden?

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stock-tank mulch, two ways...

My morning began with a chiropractor appointment, their parking lot was full so I parked on the street. Returning to my car I noticed this...

Not your average mulch. I looked up and realized I was in front of a sushi restaurant. I see.

Later that day I had an appointment to get my hair cut. Parking on the corner and hurrying to the salon I stopped when I noticed this, snow. Or so my brain told me, then I realized it was ice - probably tossed out from the bar next door.

Someone thought he was doing the plants a favor. I doubt they felt that way.

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Greg's dry garden...

This is not what most people picture when you mention a "Portland garden"...heck there isn't a single rose, rhododendron or doug fir in sight!

These plants don't belong in "rainy Portland!"

Oh but they'd be surprised how many people think Portland is a rainy, grey place 365 days a year. It's just not true. Our summers are dry, very dry. The joke is that the sprinkler gets turned off on July 5th and it's not far from the truth.

This garden belongs to Greg Shepard, co-owner of Xera Plants. Xera is a local wholesale (and retail) nursery that grows "climate adapted plants for gardeners in the PNW"...

As you might imagine the garden is planted up with Xera plants, although don't head over there to pick up one of these, as Greg tells me they sadly have no Agave bracteosa at this time.

Since planting and getting things established Greg has provided no summer irrigation.

Perfect location for that Caesalpinia gilliesii, don't ya think?

That's Greg's dog Polly, it was a long, hot day.

The backyard garden...

I've ever seen a dudleya look this good in the summer, mine always go semi-dormant.

And there was a pair!

Did you spot that silver patch of goodness just beyond the dudleya? It's Lupinus albifrons, I was thrilled to see it here, and it was in the ground through last winter.

Oh what's that!? Pachystegia insignis, and I just happened to score one recently at Xera, after ogling a huge one at their shop for years, and then this little guy.

This one (Cynara baetica var. moroccana) I've loved and lost - and really should plant again.

Rounding the corner of the path I was (I'll admit) a little startled by the stick. I thought it was a snake.

We all agreed the subtle screening along the back fence with Azara microphylla was genius.

But I've saved the best for last and we're heading back out front. The parking strip was probably my favorite part of this garden. It's just so perfect. Colorful, spiky, and crammed full of plants.

I actually fell pretty hard for this grass, if I remember right it's Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues'...

Yucca linearifolia, I believe...

It's just all so wonderful, thanks Greg for sharing your garden!

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

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.