Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome back to my Mediterranean Villa…


I suppose I must confess it’s not really “mine,” since I’ve now met the actual owners, or at least one of them. After my last post about this most amazing Portland garden, my plant lust co-conspirator Patricia stocked the garden until she was able to cross paths with the owners. She mentioned my blog, eventually emails were exchanged and last week an actual in-person visit was made. Luckily I was given the ok to take more pictures!

We started our tour in the dramatic pool courtyard. Naturally since it is only mid March the pool was still covered for the season, but we heard stories of their dog taking an impromptu dip in the summer time. Lucky dog!
Moving around to the side of the house we saw raised beds for growing herbs, fruits and vegetables. I neglected to take a photo! But once we came upon this “must be amazing in the summer” Gunnera bed I snapped to and started taking pictures.
Here’s the back (or front, depending on your perspective) entrance to the house. Yes the Sago's have spent the entire winter outside.
This is the second Loquat, the first was in the pool courtyard…

And the view!
Do you ever see a great house on a piece of under-utilized land that would make a breathtaking garden and think “too bad the owner don’t realize what they’ve got?” Well that’s what I love most about this garden, John and Dennis know what they’ve got and they are making the most of it. Plus they did it all themselves. From the slow re-claiming of what was a less than inspiring garden (think arborvitae and azaleas) to the selection, planting and care of this now incredible garden. And of course every time we pointed at a plant and admired it we heard “oh that came from Cistus”…like this Magnolia laevifolia.
There were many palms…

This one died back in an Arctic blast a few years ago (think snow and below freezing temperatures for a week). But look at it now!

Finally from above I glimpse the star of the show, what must be the biggest Agave in Portland…
Amazing!
But there is more to see on the way down to the Agave, like this Nolina…

Poncirus trifoliata, I believe 'Flying Dragon'…

I stopped to admire the Sedum, Opuntia and Black Mondo but as my eyes focused I saw the spiky guy just beyond.

Look!

Sorry I can’t share a name, but this is pretty spectacular no?

Finally we reach the big guy! He recently had a little arm removal surgery. Something about not wanting to poke out the eyes of visitors…
Here’s a little less invasive precaution.

As we stood there drooling over this behemoth trying to figure out which Agave it is (any guesses?) our attention was drawn to the pups growing all around the base as John said when he gets in there and removes the pups he’ll be happy to give us each one. I don’t know about Patricia but I had to concentrate on remaining calm. I wanted to jump up and down and scream “YES!”, I think I managed to simply say “Thank you, that would be great”… while trying not to look too eager.
Yucca linearifolia, I believe.

And another gorgeous Agave.

I couldn’t help myself, I just kept snapping pictures. They were SO striking!
Tearing myself away from the Agaves I found these Euphorbia myrsinites to rest my eyes on.

The rocks were covered with interesting Lichen, Sedum, and Sempervivum, so beautiful.

As we climbed back up to the top of the garden I kept reminding myself this is only March, so many things would be changing over the next few months. What is gorgeous now must take on an entirely different feeling in May, and then July and August. What a wonderful and personal garden has been created here. Once again I am so fortunate to be invited in, thank you so much John for your hospitality, you and Dennis have created a treasure!

33 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous garden! Thanks for another wonderful tour. I took my boyfriend to Cistus this weekend and I think he has agave fever now. :)

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    1. Yay...having a significant other who is also addicted is a handy thing. So...what did you buy!? Is there an upcoming blog post?

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  2. Great tour of an awesome garden! The garden and the house match beautifully. The courtyard is as well done as the rest of the garden. The views are awesome.

    That's so nice of them to allow us to see in. Perhaps they will share more photos with us later in the spring and summer as the garden grows in.

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    1. I don't know if you could make them out in the photos but in the pool courtyard the lanterns and a couple of the glass orbs were filled with white Christmas lights...it must be magic in the dark!

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    1. Isn't it!? Thank you for tipping me off and tracking them down.

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  4. They definitely got the planting right, the garden looks and feels so mediterranean, even the view! And lots of gorgeous specimens too! The xerophytes does benefit from the free drainage of the slopy garden and the extra exposure for being quite high up from everywhere else. Glad to see that finally had the chance to see this garden more up close and personal :)

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    1. I've always said I had no desire to live on a cliff, we get so much rain that I'd lay awake at night in a rainstorm and think every noise was an indicator that the ground was giving away (seems that it happens every winter around town) but this garden has changed my mind!

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  5. What a great tour! The ferns and those moss and lichen covered rocks are such an interesting juxtaposition with the enormous agaves. That porcupine-like cactus thingy is pretty cool too. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

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    1. I'm glad you noticed the rocks Alison. Every single one of them was a little garden on it's own. They looked planted and manicured, even though it was all natural.

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  6. sandy lawrenceMarch 19, 2012

    What do I love the most? Well, I live in Texas. The plants, I know. But MOSS? I'm lucky to grow a small pot of Irish moss just for gazing on lovingly. That gorgeous architectural head covered in moss and those rocks!!!
    .
    Thanks so much, John and Dennis for the tour. And thanks, Danger, for taking us with you by way of your (always) spectacular photos!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Sandy...and yes, the moss is definitely a star this time of the year!

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  7. Wow, I could live there in a heartbeat!

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    1. You and me both! Well, that sounds bad. I mean I would love to live there too, with my husband...not you. No offense intended.

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  8. This is an amazing garden, design-wise, but even more so considering the plant palette on what looks like an exposed lot in NE Portland. How have they managed to get those agaves to grow so big, and all the other plants to survive over our last three winters? Could it be the drainage on that steep slope??? Thanks for the tour - I hope you get (and share with us) a return visit when everything is even more lush!

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    1. We were SO LUCKY the day we visited started out a little on the sunny side, considering the downpours we endured last week we felt blessed indeed. However as we rounded the house and stood at the edge of the garden the rain and wind kicked up and yes, it was cold and windy! The wind just seemed to sweep right up the cliff. I think the Agaves are successful because of the drainage and they are a little lower on the cliff, maybe not so exposed. Plus the variety must be cold hardy. We did hear several tales of things bouncing back from near death...in the end I'm going with the drainage as magic.

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  9. Molly LittlejohnMarch 19, 2012

    I run by this garden at least once a week. It is easily one of my favorites in NE Ptown. Thanks for showing close ups!

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    1. Well heck Molly that begs the question of what your other favs are! Email me...I need to know! (spikyplants at gmail dot com)

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  10. Looks like Agave americana to me. Cool that you got a private tour! And I totally agree with you about seeing perfect plots of land that are underutilized.

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    1. I can see why you would think that it's an A. americana but I don't think it is. They aren't so cold hardy as to have lived through what a plant that size must have lived through...at least that's my opinion. And if I lived in your part of the country I would get so upset when I'd see a perfectly good garden spaced wasted. The things you can grow!!!! Only gardeners should be allowed to live there.

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  11. Amazing. SO many things to love here!

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    1. Yes indeedy! Glad you liked it.

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  12. So cool that they gave you the full tour...and I'm still catching up on last week's posts...belated congrats on your 3-year anniversary!

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    1. Thanks Scott...good to get to chat with you at the HPSO meeting.

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  13. The intrepid reporter (Lois Lane of the plant kingdom) that you are, we are lucky to have you out there blazing a trail and reporting back to us. This was a good one!

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    1. I take my job seriously...no worthwhile garden in greater Portland will go undocumented!

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    1. You can say that again! (but you don't need to, unless of course you really want to)

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  15. hi loree.....thanks again for the kind words....it really does make us feel great. we're just two amateur gardener's doing our thing. it so nice when someone appreciates our work. come by and visite anytime!!! i'll get those agave's to you soon! john

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    1. John I think there are a lot of people who appreciate your work! And I will definitely take you up on the offer to visit again!

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  16. Wonderfully intimate tour of a garden I've stalked from my truck commuting to work for years. I think the Alameda ridge is a prime spot for growing monster Agave. There is another 5 x 6 footer of unknown (to me anyway) type at 60th and NE Sacramento!

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    1. Oooh, I know that Agave. It's a good one.

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    2. I was tipped off to this one by another reader...can't wait to check it out!

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