Monday, July 28, 2014

The Garden Conservancy Tour 2014, garden #2

This was officially the third garden on the tour, but the second I visited. Called the Manzanita Garden it was instantly my favorite.

Looking back now my favorite would actually consist of parts of this garden along with pieces from 2 others I visited later in the day. Still this garden was way up there on the amazo-meter...

These photos (above and below) were all taken on the public sidewalk...

The owners (Marina Wynton & Mike Pajunas) proudly display their collection of Portland PC garden signage. Do I sound a little snarky? Maybe just a bit. I'm all for each one of the practices shared here and do appreciate the idea the signs might cause a passer by to stop and read, and consider what they're all about. Still it's a little much for me...

This is the driveway, how about that sedum (and?) center strip...love it!

Here's what the tour program has to say: "Our gardens are a reflection of our deep appreciation for nature, art and home. We started designing and building the gardens together seven years ago, early in our relationship and they are a true collaboration. We have native hedge rows as well as mixed planting beds of native and non-natives, an eco-roof on the tool/garden shed, a rain garden, pollinator pathway plantings in the parking strip, permeable pathways, sculpture, vertical gardens, curvy steel-edged vegetable beds, a guest house and outdoor rooms all on a smaller than average city lot. The gardens are designed to please us and our neighbors, create habitat to attract insects and birds and have living spaces that are enjoyed all year round. We’re constantly tinkering with the planting beds, seeking ways to get more winter structure and color, how to fit in a few more perennials and edibles and always with an eye out for that just-right piece of art work for a certain spot. The mason bee box is in the wrong place...compost is on the way...We’re finding that just when we think we’re done, we each get new ideas that keep us refining and creating."

Just how small is this "smaller than average city lot?" Well it took a little hunting but it looks like the lot measures 55 ft wide x 87.6 ft deep, standard for Portland is 50 x 100 so indeed they're missing a few precious feet.

You'd never know it by walking the garden. Sure it's small but they've packed in so much!

Love the curvy veggie beds.

And baby heads.

See those twisty dark bars? Looks like a metal sculpture right?

Nope, that would be one of the namesake manzanita of this garden. I need to get serious about pruning mine to show off those legs and arms!

This bench was hidden from the rest of the garden. On a pathway...

That leads...

To...

This!

More than a few of us contemplated moving in.

The view out the window.

Do you see the tiny Buddha?

The chunky table and benches look so perfect in the spot. I suspect they were built by the owners.

I heard others marveling at placing a chair on such a tiny patio. Why not?

You know, say it with me..."if you look hard enough there's always an agave..."

The driveway and insect hotel were on the west side of the house, this is the east side.

At first I thought the bent boards were just warped. However upon further investigation I do believe it's an artistic flourish.

Love the planted roof on the storage extension, and REALLY love the gutter and downspout.

The front garden...

Yep, this one was pretty amazing...

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ricinus communis, it’s highly toxic and my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

I adore the Castor Bean plant, and not because of it's toxicity. Although it’s certainly fun to mention that fact to the timid and watch them recoil in horror as though merely touching the leaves will cause instant death. As often seems to be the case with that which I adore, success with this plant has proven to be elusive. Hoping for a mammoth sized plant (like Heather’s) I’ve bought starter plants, started seeds myself and begged seedlings off a friend who is much more seed savvy than I.

Another blogger (I’m looking at you Mulchmaid) has already posted photos on Facebook of her begged gifted seedlings from that same friend blooming and looking huge. Here are mine…

Yes there are 3, and yes they average about 10” tall. I am a failure.

Knowing my history with this plant I hedged my bets and bought a pair of "last year's plants" (meaning he didn't sell them in 2013 and they were a bit larger and still available in 2014) at the Rare Plant Research open house last May. They were bigger than any seedling I've purchased in the past. Sure success right? Well this is the one in the front garden, it's nice but only a little over 2ft tall...

The one in the back garden though, it's my favorite and best ever Castor Bean...

Going strong and may eventually reach that monster size I've been hoping for...

So to refresh your memory that's 1 out of 5 that I'm feeling good about, not exactly winning odds in Vegas right?

The stats:
  • bought simply as Ricinus communis, fancy varieties with great leaf color are available, look for them when buying seeds
  • should eventually reach 5-15ft tall and 3-8ft wide (of course I'm hoping for the larger end of that spectrum)
  • winter hardy in USDA Zones 9-11 where plants will thrive in rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil with full sun exposure - grown as annuals elsewhere (below Zone 9) and typically self seeding for future poison plant happiness (please please please let this happen in my garden!)
  • plants can become somewhat weedy and spread aggressively in frost-free areas, as seen by anyone traveling on the highways near Fillmore, California.
  • in the Euphorbiaceae family and native in Northeastern Africa to Middle East 

So that's what's got me smiling this week, what's doing it for you?

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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Solabee, downtown

Last January I trekked on over to North Portland in search of Solabee. Once there I discovered they were no longer at that location, but I still had a great time poking around Salvage Works and vowed to visit the downtown Portland Solabee. Only 6 months later I finally made it!

As you can see from the sign above Solabee shares space with a business called Boy's Fort. Like Salvage Works they've got a wealth of used items for sale, which definitely adds to the overall shopping experience.

As I stood just inside the entrance and scanned the space (getting my bearings) I heard the sound of splashing water, yet looking around I couldn't find the source.

The tall rusty centaur got my eye though.

That's when I put two and two together...

Yes for the low price of $4,000 you can own a peeing centaur...

I'd much rather own these chairs. That fabric is fabulous!

The Solabee selection was concentrated in a corner of the space.

Oh yes, these look interesting!

Care cards for the succulents, nice!

I always vow to keep my dried up blooms, but usually end up tossing them.

Next time?

Couldn't manage a non-blurry picture but I really liked this...

And those wood block images...

Back on the Boy's Fort side to check out some inventive lighting...

A metal tire ramp, plumbing parts and a hanging metal shade, I like it!

Back out on the street I had to ask myself if these planters were new. I know it's been awhile since I strolled around downtown, surely I would have remembered them? I do remember the fun graphics on the side of the Nordstrom building.

And I did buy one of the old Cactus and Succulent Journals, I selected this one for the cover shot of William Hertrich surrounded by books. I hoped there would be an article on the Huntington Gardens inside and I was not disappointed.

Look at this early shot of the Huntington cactus garden, amazing. If you're interested in Hertrich and the Huntington I recommend the book The Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1905-1949: Personal Recollections of William Hertrich, it's only $2.58 on amazon!

I'm particularly taken with the illustration across the bottom of the journal. Excellent find...

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