Monday, December 9, 2013

Reminiscing of Summer: A Danger Garden

With our temperatures dropping into the teens this past weekend, I'm trying to accept the fact that some plants may have suffered a bit of damage or may be totally toast. At times, no matter how much you try protect or bring in, you'll always endure a bit of damage, but how much depends on just how far below freezing we get and how soon. Luckily, we didn't have a abrupt cold snap like a few years ago, but rather than whine and complain about how cold it is, I'd like to look back and be reminded of a most awesome summer and a wonderful trip down to Portland, OR (which, sadly, endured snow and much colder temperatures the past few days).  One garden was an exceptional treat and also one I'm a tad bit worried about after our freeze, but should it pull through this season, it is one fine collection by a woman who's getting quite a readership on her blog, "Danger Garden".

This is the garden of Loree Bohl:

Driving by, it's very apparent which is Loree's garden. Beautifully kept with interesting plants and big, bold textures dominate the space and, immediately, you know you're looking at a plant person's garden. Various cacti and succulents are dressed carefully with a layer of gravel  giving each specimen importance and aiding in much needed drainage. The ginormous 'Steroidal Giant' rice paper plant is a true "indicator" plant of a plant nut in the Pacific Northwest.

Growing it in somewhat of a dryer area may be smart for the plant as it has a tendency to really run. The pavement and gravel probably help it to wake up in spring much earlier as it often takes a full growing season to get this size of leaves!

 I came with plant friends Justin Galicic, Preston Pew and Matt Berberich to see Loree's remarkable garden and all three have heard of her blog and were so eager to meet her in person and see her amazing garden. She was so very welcoming and had a wonderful time dissecting the many elements of her fine garden. Not only were there cool plants, there were interesting combinations and a wonderful use of space (especially in the rear garden).

Loree is a gardener who likes to experiment; texture and dramatic form captivate her and her selections and it truly shows. There are rare plants and there are common plants as well aimed to complete a striking look. It isn't wild and over the top. There's room for plants to expand and grow and I sense a wonderful pacing of edits along the way.

A striking Agave in the foreground (left) and the beautifully placed Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffins' with its peeling bark backlit.

A young Yucca rostrata

A striking combination of Nolina nelsonii with Canna 'Australia' backlit in the background.
Hardy prickly-pear Opuntias are abundant

Make your way to the back and a treasure trove of wonderful plants await! I loved the sense of a welcome by one of my most favorite broadleaf evergreen shrubs of all time, the rare Fatsia polycarpa with its long petioles and deeply, palmately lobed leaves.  And then everywhere you eye looked was a great plant. The square pavers and even the lawn was a very important feature of this space as it allowed the visitor to enter the space, give it a sense of grandeur thus allowing the eye to rest while it transition through another room.

The use of containers in this garden was quite affective. There may be too many for most people's liking because of the tedious watering some may require, but the fact that more are succulents or air plants, they lend themselves to being forgotten while they look spectacular as accents all summer long.

A series of sitting areas makes this garden wonderful both as an intimate space where one can decide just how much exposure they'd like and as an entertainment space to spread a crowd out so the details of each element can be appreciated and admired. 

Our sincerest thanks to Loree for sharing her wonderful garden with us and may the rest of winter be kinder until next spring as we determine what's made it and what we'll have to purchase again. =(

I'm sure all the containers came inside, but the majority of her garden should be alright knowing the lengths we (including Loree) go through to protect our "marginals", we refer to them as. 

Oh, I must throw in that she's also a Tillandsia freak like myself. I adore her compositions and, yes, even an arrangemnt in the bathroom captivated me!

Well done, Loree!