A visit to the Danger Garden

I have been following Lorees blog, the Danger Garden, for over a year now.  It is amazing for lots of reasons, but one of my favorite things about it is Loree’s ‘it’s possible’ attitude. Not only in regards to working with prickly plants, which are one of her many areas of expertise but in regards to design decisions (why not have a summer gazebo that turns into a greenhouse every winter?) and freedom in choosing plants (zone 9, let’s test that!).  It was a pleasure to be able to tour her garden and growing spaces this past month, however, I didn’t remember my camera so these awful phone pictures will have to do.  Her blog has hundreds of much better images of her garden on it, which I highly recommend taking a look at.  One of the cool things I learned this year is that there is a pretty big network of garden bloggers in the PNW, and elsewhere.  It makes me wish there were more bloggers in the terrarium/plant hobby but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to have caught on yet.

It’s difficult to tell from these photos, but the backyard is entirely secluded from the neighbors on all sides.  Quite a feat! This is partly made possible by the very deep perimeter garden, which is maybe 8 ft or so wide.  Why aren’t all perimeter gardens this deep?

The space is divided up in a way which makes it feel like separate rooms of a house, connected by open hallways.  Off to the left is a winter greenhouse, whose sides come off in the warmer months and open up to a pavilion space, and towards the back, there is a large open area for planters and furniture (to be taken in during the winter).  Under the summer shade of the giant Magnolia macrophylla is a fernery, with Adiantum and Pyrrosia galore.  The garage and house are painted charcoal, and the plants seem to pop with the structures as a backdrop.  Unfortunately, my knowledge of hardy plants is next to nil, so with a few exceptions I had no idea what I was looking at.  Even still, it did not take much to realize that these plants are expertly grown.

The bamboo in the metal trough creates a perfect balance of privacy while not sacrificing the ground to vigorous and potentially destructive growth.

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In the summer this area is full of potted Agaves, succulents, and species not winter hardy in Portland.  I’m sure it is magnificent, but, it does have it’s own appeal left open like this.

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What better way to protect Xeric plants than with a planty shower curtain?

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Loree uses a lot of rebar in the garden, which I didn’t manage to get a picture of, but the twists of rust compliment the color and texture of the garden so well.  The arrangement of the concrete pavers and pea gravel too, make this space feel as creative as it is practical.

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It was such an inspiring garden to visit, and I hope one day to have a garden half as nice as this one.  Thanks very much Loree for letting me visit your lovely plant haven.

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