Thursday, November 13, 2014

Danger! Danger! It's Danger Garden: Part II

Last week we visited the one and only Danger Garden and saw Loree Bohl's incredible front garden. I would describe it as a little on the wild side - loose, xeric landscaping with repeat plantings, all tied together with gravel mulch. It is very attractive and appealing to my sensibilities. This week we will visit the more private back garden, also a spiky paradise but with a few differences.

The back garden is private by comparison. The other major differences are that in the back there are a variety of container plantings, well-planned hardscaping, comfortable seating areas, and several great design elements used. Not that the front isn't designed, it is - she very thoughtfully placed every plant with a plan, but the back garden is a place for friends and family to gather and serves as an extension of their home in the drier months.


Here you can see her love of all things spiky. Her agave, opuntia and yucca collections are vast and healthy. The color themes of this garden are orange, turquoise, green, charcoal/black and galvanized silver; the pots are mostly arranged by color. This design element makes it feel resolved where if she had different colored pots all mixed about it might feel out of balance. Perhaps not, it's really up to each individual but here Loree's choice for pot placement feels right.


She, like her talented husband, is an artist when it comes to design and gardening. Little touches such as this wire cage add interest and are just plain fun.


In the foreground, Agave 'Blue Glow.'


Here, turquoise and black containers are complimented by primarily glaucous and variegated plants.


The orange thorns of the Solanum pyracanthos play off the orange pots.


This patio area while serving as an outdoor dining room is also a visual pause, a neutral area that lets you take in such an impressive plant collection. The transitions from hardscaping to steps and lawn are subtle and important, you can see the dark river rocks just visible on the lower right; she also uses gray pavers to edge the grassy areas. In Loree's garden all of this gray serves as a unifying element and ties together the neutral areas which lets the plants do what they are meant to do, which is to shine. The outdoor furnishings are gorgeous and fit well with Loree's design aesthetic. Lila the pug is the official squirrel patrol.


Here's what I mean by transitions. Details like the river rock give visual interest without the use of different color schemes. All gray for these materials I think is great design.



Same seating area as viewed from the other side, looking back at the shade pavilion where I was standing to take the previous photo.


Not everything at Danger Garden is spiky. Loree appreciates great foliage such as this combination of palm, Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', silver Sedum spathulifolium (maybe Cape Blanco?), Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' or chocolate mimosa tree, among many others. I think I spy callistemon somewhere back there.


A small section of grass, like the concrete patio, adds a visual pause to the many varieties of plants. In addition, Loree has broken up what could easily be a large rectangle of grass into a more interesting shape, creating individual areas ideal for appreciating the plants in front of you.


Here you can see a closeup of the above photo and how the broken up straight lines add interest and pockets in which to better view plants, plus it creates little hidden areas that add a touch of layering and surprise.


Here, silver elements in the galvanized stock tanks and chair play off of one another.


Her eye for color is quite good.


Here is the lower half of the shade pavilion that also serves as another seating area, very useful on hot summer days. In winter, it becomes an enclosed greenhouse kind of space to house some of her many potted treasures. Also, Loree has used the same large square pavers throughout the garden. If pavers were all different materials and sizes, it would feel jumbled. Again, with so many different plants it's good to have repeat elements in the hardscaping department.



In this wider shot you can see the corrugated metal roof of the shade pavilion.


Spikes!


Notice what you don't see? Garden art in the traditional sense. The plants and pots (such as the circle hanging planter pictured here) serve that purpose.


Eryngium venustum.


This newly planted area was up until recently the privet lands. It was removed and a new fence installed, you can read about it here. It's quite a transformation.


Sepmervivum arachnoideum (and other semps maybe?) and Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg.'


Hullo Miss Lila. Loree's faithful companion was never far away. Also here you can see the use of dark foliage plants which add tropical flair and provide contrast against the greens.


Nice view of Clifford, the Magnolia macrophylla. Clifford has gotten big since she planted him in 2005.









I think that's Agave 'Joe Hoak' in the black pot. Wow, what a stunner.


Lupinus albifrons, very lovely and reminds me of twinkling stars.


Great textures and colors. Foliage rules at Danger Garden.


Rodgersia I believe 'Bronze Peackock' in the foreground, those repeating square pavers taking us for a stroll.




This garden is heavy on foliage, I'm sure intentionally. Loree has a great eye for texture and color which makes the garden interesting for a much longer period of time than if it relied on blooms alone.


The differing levels of the garden are crisply delineated while the transitional materials take you elegantly from one area to another. This area where the table resides feels a little more protected and private than the upper area because it's sunken. All of this hardscaping requires planning, patience and if it were me, some professional help. It pays off however, as this is a place that I'm sure sees some heavy use for at least six months of the year and is, in my mind, a little paradise.



Agave land!

Don't you love how the back lighting catches those little spikes in the sun?


The green pot collection in the sunshine. Towards the end of my visit the sun finally made an appearance. I find it interesting the way the colors change in the sun vs. under a cooler cloudy sky.





Stock tanks provide great environments for water plants and keep with the silver metal theme throughout the garden.


On the tabletop, a sweet selection of colorful succulents.


Thus concludes our tour of the incredible Danger Garden. I could have lingered for hours and taken hundreds of photos, as it was I took a couple of hundred and had to heavily edit this post.

Loree's garden is special. It is, to be sure, an incredible plant collection but it goes beyond that. When she profiles specific plants on her blog Danger Garden, I get so wrapped up in each leaf. Having a wider shot of the whole thing in person was wonderful for me in that even though there is so much going on, it feels intimate, relaxed and well-designed. It feels like a garden, not just a collection is what I'm getting at. Loree wears many hats: a horticulturist, a collector, a propagator, a blogger, a major contributor to the Plant Lust website, a designer and and last but not least, a gardener. Loree and Andrew's personalities shine through in both home and garden at Danger Garden, and it works. Even though Loree's self-described style of gardening is the ''crammit" style (ok, sounds familiar, me too), with a little Danger Garden magic she makes it all work beautifully.

Thank you Loree and Lila and Andrew for opening your garden and home to me.

Thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening!

27 comments :

  1. Wow, just--Wow. I'm going to have to see this garden next year. Do you know what the vine is growing on the little metal trellis? Or maybe Loree can jump in?

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    1. Amy that's Passiflora 'Sunburst' (http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2014/08/passiflora-sunburst-is-my-favorite.html). Sadly not hardy but oh so worth growing. My attempts getting cuttings to root all failed, so one of the last things I did before the weather changed was to cut and dig the plant, we'll see if I can get it to live through the winter indoors. And yes, please do come by for a garden visit next year!

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    2. Yes, yes you do need to see it, Amy. Thanks for the i.d. on the vine, Danger.

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  2. Thanks for the detailed look at Loree's garden! I knew she had a lot of pots but, until now, I don't think I appreciated exactly how many pots she actually has. I like the practice of congregating pots of the same or similar colors.

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    1. You're welcome, Kris. I was a little surprised at how much container gardening she has but it makes sense if you have to overwinter them indoors. Yes, the congregating of pots in the same colors makes me happy too!

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  3. Oh Tamara thank you! This was a wonderful post for an ugly day - you've got me dreaming about summer. Your fabulous design critique makes it sound like I actually knew what I was doing, when in reality it's all just evolved. Thank you for kind words and great photos, a couple of angles which were new to even me!

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    1. Loree, you are so welcome! Thank YOU for the open door and visit, and yes, revisiting these photos makes me long for summer which seems like it was here last week. Uggg. Your garden evolved with a keen eye, for sure. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. I've been looking forward to you casting your artist's eye on Loree's back garden. No disappointment there. Contrary to her claims (above), she had to have used great restraint and discipline in planning the bones so she could go crazy-wild with the plants.
    Which came first? Lila or the gray/black/silver background color scheme? Whichever, she rules the roost quite fashionably.

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    1. Oh, you are so kind, Rickii! She did have to use great restraints, however I think Lila came first and everything was designed around her fur colors...hahha...and everything is just the right size for Lila, too. At any rate they are both talented people and it shows in house and home.

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  5. Really nice look at Loree's garden. The next time I'm in Portland I'm going to make sure to lounge around here for an afternoon, invited or not. Last time it was too crowded for lounging. :)

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    1. You're officially invited Alan.

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    2. Yes, you are invited to Loree's garden. Oh, wait. I can't do that, can I ? :)
      DEFINITELY do so next time you are in town.

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  6. We have nothing but praise and lovely words for Loree's garden :) she has fine taste, in both spiky and lush plants!

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    1. Yay! Thank you! I know, hers is an amazing space for the naughty and nice plants....a little bit of both to keep a gardener happy :)

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  7. I loved your tour of Loree's garden. It brought back memories! It also gives me much to think about re: Loree's disciplined use of color as I mull over my own wall color choices.

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    1. Oh, I'm glad it brought back memories...it's nice to revisit these places now that the Arctic Blast has taken hold of the American conscience...hahah...Anyhow, yes - her color choices are disciplined and that's something I can learn from too, indeed.

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  8. The garden of an artist through the eyes of an artist - fabulous commentary of a wonderful garden, Tamara! Despite all those marvelous plants and the masterful juxtaposition of their forms and textures, my favorite part of Loree's garden is still that subtle, elegant level change, the little "nooks" off the lawn, and the dual duty shade pavilion which create correlating rooms within the whole. And her use of color is worthy of its own post - inspiration at every turn! Great post!

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    1. You are very kind, Anna....thanks for the comments! I too love the level change, it is something to really think about when designing a new (or changing an existing) garden, it's so very very effective. The nooks rock, I agree - it adds depth and mystery. Hey Loree...how about a post on color in your garden? :) Or maybe Anna and I can invite ourselves over next year for a photo shoot !

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    2. I think you and Anna would do a much better post on color than I, come over!

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  9. Great tour of a fantastic garden. I love her container color scheme and her eye for color in general. I'm generally not a fan of modern design, but Loree implements it so tastefully and her plethora of plants balances the clean, straight lines and stark materials. I love her style!

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    1. Thank you Evan! Thanks for reading and for commenting. She does design well, incorporating both contemporary and classic elements so that's why I think her modern aesthetic works...it's not over the top. Clean straight lines, indeed...love those!

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    1. Her garden is definitely awe-worthy, Jim! Just stunning...thanks for commenting and reading!!

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  11. Wonderful tour of such a special garden. Thank you!

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  12. I love seeing all the different photos taken from the tour by different people. All those pots are picture perfect. Not a brown leaf in sight. The whole garden is incredible. Coming across that first shot of Lila slumped on the concrete made me laugh. WHAT A CUTIE!!

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