Thursday, September 28, 2017

I visited the Danger Garden (again) and didn't get poked

Loree Bohl is one special woman. Her blog, Danger Garden, was one of the first gardening blogs I started to follow, and it has had a lasting impact on my own garden and my personal plant preferences. But Loree is not just a talented writer and photographer, she's also a truly gifted gardener. If there was a Gardening Hall of Fame, I'd start a campaign to get her inducted.

A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out in Portland with Loree, Mark and Gaz of Alternative Eden, Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery, and a bunch of other plant nerds. Needless to say it was a blast, and I came home with a nice assortment of plants.

Since I was staying with Loree, her husband Andrew, and their adorable chug Lila, I had ample opportunity to poke around in the Danger Garden. In this post I'll show you the front garden. In a future post, I'll take you around into the back garden. The two areas are quite different, but they're united by Loree's sharp eye for design. She appears to know instinctively which plants look good next to each other and how to combine seemingly disparate plants in ways that continue to surprise and delight me. Fortunately for all of us, she's a prolific blogger and shares tales from the Danger Garden five times a week.

Loree grows a huge variety of plants from all over the world. Many have sculptural leaves, others produce gorgeous flowers, and yet others have unusual bark or some other characteristic that makes them special. Growing among them all are the spiky rebels that gave the Danger Garden its name. It's no coincidence that the blog's byline is "Careful, you could poke an eye out." While I'm fairly certain that that has never happened, I do know that more than one unsuspecting visitor has lost some blood.


An agave growing under a manzanita? Why not! Loree may have done it first, but I've copied the idea in my own garden.

Arctostaphylos × 'Austin Griffiths' and Agave parryi 'JC Raulston'

Same manzanita with agaves and yuccas

Love this pair of Yucca rostrata!

Large-leafed tetrapanax at the foot of the driveay contrasting with agaves and yuccas in front of the living room window:

Rice-paper tree (Tetrapanax papyrifer)

Tetrapanax leaves


Agave ovatifolia


Another Yucca rostrata near the front door flanked by two Agave ovatifolia

Another fantastic combo: Amsonia hubrichtii, Daphne × houtteana, Euphorbia rigida and Agave ovatifolia. This is fusion gardening at its best.

A Tetrapanax papyrifer volunteer right next to the front door. This is an offset from the large tetrapanax at the foot of the driveway (actually the neighbor's driveway). Loree said it will be removed soon.

Just one of many eye-catching planter combos in the Danger Garden

Who wouldn't want to have such a range of textures right next to their front door!


Shape, color, texture all working together to create a whole that's bigger than the sum of its parts


Yucca 'Blue Boy' and black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'). The silvery plant above the yucca is Artemisia versicolor 'Sea Foam'.

 Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' and Eryngium maritimum

One last look at the front garden

Check back next week for a look at the back garden.


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21 comments:

  1. I love seeing Loree's garden through other bloggers' eyes (or lens). Although I follow her blog, I always see something new in such posts. I'd no idea Loree had so many Yucca rostrata, for example.

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    1. Yes, Loree does have half a dozen Yucca rostrata. None are as big as Sammy in the backyard, but even the smaller specimens have impact.

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  2. That sounds like a fun weekend! And of course any chance to hang out with Loree and Andrew and Lila in the garden is too good to pass up. Thanks for sharing my post too.

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  3. Like Kris, I didn't realize Loree had so many Yucca rostrata either, and I've actually seen her garden in person. The one she showcases the most on her blog is Sammy in the back garden, but there are some nice specimens in the front too.

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    1. The wonderful thing about the Danger Garden (well, one of MANY wonderful things) is that there are so many plants, you always discover something new. It really is like a miniature botanical garden.

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  4. I like the rock top dressing that she uses -- do you know what it is? Also, in your garden, I think you use wood chip dressing. Would you talk about your choice of dressings?

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    1. I don't know what kind of rocks they are. @Loree?

      I use 1/8" rocks as trop dressing for my new succulent mounds. I think rocks go better with desert plants than wood chips. I do use wood chips for regular perennial beds because they improve the soil as they break down.

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    2. Oh I wish I could remember the specific size of the gravel, all I know is that it’s readily available at Oregon Decorative Rock which is just a couple of miles from us. I didn’t want pea gravel, because of it’s tendancy to become kitty litter (and we have a lot of neighborhood cats) and wanted river rock with its feet-friendly rounded edges, not crushed gravel.

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  5. What a fun time you must have had! It has been over 4 years since I saw Loree's garden and I love keeping up with it via her blog. You are so right, she is a very talented gardener. I also love that she shares the process with us, the ups and downs. Her ability to put containers and plants together is amazing. I wish she could come consult in my own garden! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I'll admit I've thought of bribing Loree with a plane ticket to Sacramento in exchange for a design consultation :-).

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    2. Pulease! Like either of you need design help...

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  6. Sounds like a great time was had by all! Who wouldn't have fun in such an awesome garden with delightful company? Loree's got my vote for induction into the Gardeners Hall of Fame! She and her blog have influenced both my plant preferences and my decision to start blogging. Her sense of style, love of plants, and genuinely kind personality are a combination for which I'm at a lack for superlatives. LOVE!

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    1. We missed you, Peter!

      As for the Gardening Hall of Fame, you'd be on the short list for induction, too!

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  7. Well, that is just the best bookend to summer 2017. Looking forward to part 2!

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  8. Gerhard you are very generous with the praise, I soaked it all up with a smile on my face...not sure it’s all deserved though. It was so wonderful having you guys here, a very fun weekend indeed! Now we just need to get you up here for the HPSO spring plant sale...

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  9. Great photos of the fantastic Danger Garden Gerhard.It really is a special place full of marvelous plants.

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  10. Your photos are amazing Gerhard, and they show the garden is not just the details, but the amazing spaces that draw one in. It's a gorgeous garden Loree, fascinating combinations.

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  11. Beautiful photos and blog of a beautiful place. Thank you for these! I agree with your praise of the multi-talented Ms Loree Bohl as well.

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