Portland: Danger!

It's been a month already since our trip to Portland for the Garden Bloggers Fling, and I'm only about halfway finished showing you the gardens we saw. Today I continue with Saturday, a day when I wasn't with the rest of the Fling group but still ended up seeing a few of the sights that were on the itinerary: rose test garden, Japanese garden, and today's topic: Danger Garden.

When I started blogging over four years ago there were a handful of garden blogs that I found and started following: Loree's Danger Garden was one of them. Over the years I had seen hundreds of photos of her garden, and I felt like I knew "everything" about it -- and now I was finally getting a chance to see it in person! 


The name "Danger Garden" applies for several reasons. First, the place is packed with spiky and thorny plants, things that can easily poke you somewhere sensitive or leave a scar. Second, Loree likes to push zonal limits, planting something in the ground that may not survive the mild-but-still-colder-than-many-plants-can-endure Portland winters. I have to add a third reason now: if you're a plant person and visit, you're in danger of losing hours of time and developing vigorous plant envy!

The Tetrapanax papyrifer in the photo above was the first plant I encountered in Loree's garden, as it was in the front yard next to the sidewalk. A big, beautiful, and impressive plant, I expect to have this growing in my garden at some time in the near future. Nice start to the visit!

Wide-angle photos were difficult due to the harsh sunlight and deep shade, but hopefully you can see that the front yard is a plant-lover's spot. I was first attracted to the small trees though...

(I told you I had a thing for bark!)

(and lichen)

One plant that I was looking forward to seeing but had almost forgotten about was the wingthorn rose:

The sun wasn't positioned appropriately to backlight the thorns in the best way, but you can still see that this is a striking plant!

There are several different low-growing plants in the front, filing in the spaces between the larger plants. Most of them were difficult to photograph on this hot and sunny day.

As nice as the front of the house is, the back yard is where the real magic happens (is there a garden whose front, public face outshines the private back one?), where I finally got an appreciation for how cozy typical Portland yards really are.

I didn't take any overall photos of the space (you can get those at Loree's blog), instead focusing on the details. Some obviously pointy...

Some fuzzy...

Some looking fuzzy but are actually pointy on a smaller scale and do not want to be touched:

The place is just packed with plants, interesting things filling every corner...

...and when you run out of corners to wedge another plant into...

...you make more! Loree's tiny patch of lawn is outlined by a border containing both concave and convex corners, not only increasing the viable planting space, but creating so much more visual interest!

Also adding to the interest are containers, some required because of their non-hardy inhabitants that must be moved into a protected area in the winter...

...but many are here because containers make gardens so much more interesting!

Sometimes you wonder which is the focus, the plant...

... or the container. (That's the way it should be!)

So what sorts of things will you see in Loree's garden, besides the orange shade pavilion and another wonderful Tetrapanax?

Let's just look, shall we?

Accidental macro shot of my shorts

To see more of Danger Garden -- including lots of shots that actually show you the layout of the garden, check out this post from Diana.

Glad I got to visit your garden Loree -- hope to come back to see how it's evolved some day!


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Mark and Gaz  – (August 11, 2014 at 10:03 AM)  

Great macro and other shots as always Alan! Visiting Loree's garden was one of the main highlights of the fling. And like you've said despite seeing so many photos of her garden before there were still loads of new things to discover when seeing it in the flesh. It was dangerously fantastic!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (August 11, 2014 at 10:27 AM)  

Fond memories! Like you, I had thought I knew what the Danger Garden would look like, but its layout was totally different from what I had imagined.

Heather  – (August 11, 2014 at 11:13 PM)  

I love all the macro shots (your shorts are amazing!). It's a nice way to see a new aspect of Loree's amazing garden.

danger garden  – (August 12, 2014 at 12:15 AM)  

Ah you made my night! Catching up on a few blogs before bedtime I was thrilled when I saw the subject of today's post. I just knew you were going to surprise me with your observations of a space I know so well, and delight with fabulous photos. I'm so glad you guys were able to make it by on Saturday (although I still feel bad for not telling your non-gardening wife to feel free to enjoy the a/c inside the house). I hope you will let me know if you ever plan a trip back out this way! (And I hope to see your garden sometime!)

Alan  – (August 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM)  

Mark and Gaz: nice choice of the word "flesh", as I think most of us came away with at least one minor injury. :)

Gerhard: I suppose I have the same wrong ideas of your garden's layout too, and you do of mine. Video tour!

Heather: I'm glad somebody commented on the shorts photo, and quite sure that yours was the first comment of over 6000 here that used the phrase "your shorts are amazing" :)

Loree: I just wish I had taken more wide shots -- changing lenses just was getting to be such a drag (it's amazing what becomes a chore when the temp exceeds 95F). Still can't believe there was a privet hedge back there recently...

Hoover Boo  – (August 12, 2014 at 8:05 PM)  

Beautiful photos of a beautiful garden, Alan. My favorites are the lichen and bark trio.

Chickadee Gardens  – (August 12, 2014 at 10:44 PM)  

What a lovely look into a fabulous garden...from a very special perspective. Thanks for keeping it interesting and artsy, even! Love this post.

Alan  – (August 13, 2014 at 1:52 PM)  

Hoover: Thanks! Another bark lover? I need to take another look at the bark in my garden... it's been a few years.

Chickadee: Glad you liked it. I don't think I could keep myself from taking macro shots even if I wanted to. Plants are crazy pretty up close.

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