Return to the Danger Garden: back garden in September 2018 (part 1)

Danger Garden front

Now that you've seen what the Danger Garden's public face looks like—the front garden—let's go down the rabbit hole walk through the magic gate into the back garden.

The agave gate was a birthday gift to Loree by her husband Andrew, a mixed-media artist who creates intricate pieces out of paper, wire and other materials. He designed the gate himself and had it manufactured locally in Portland. You can read all about it in this Danger Garden post from October 2015.

But before we enter the back garden, I want to draw your attention to the hanging pots on the garage wall, one planted with Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' and the other with a small Agave 'Felipe Otero'. The two pots are very different, yet perfectly balanced.

This is what you see as you walk though the gate:

Looking towards the driveway from just inside the back garden:

I was going to take some big-picture photos before doing anything else, but I was immediately sidetracked by the planter in the next photo. I must have been a magpie in a former life because I'm attracted to shiny objects.

Passiflora 'Snow Queen' wasn't in flower when I was there, but the foliage is always attractive

Plus, the brownish-red dyckia is pretty sweet!

The next photo shows a view of much of the back garden. The gate is on the lower left, just outside the frame. The garage is on the left as well, and you can see the shade pavilion peeking through the leaves just a little off center. The sunken patio is behind the Yucca rostrata in the middle.

It pays to look up, too:

The dark lacy foliage is from Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate'

Red banana (Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii') adds immediate impact to any garden. The combination with lion's tail (Leonotis leonurus) is particularly striking.

I don't need to say much about these containers. Nobody does containers better than Loree.

I've been drooling over these repurposed metal pieces for a while now. Loree talks about where she found them in this post. My mission now is to find a well-stocked metal salvage yard in the Sacramento area so I can copy Loree's idea. In my case, imitation truly is a sincere form of flattery!

Another big-picture view:

Let's zoom in on the dish planters under the dwarf Chusan palm (Trachycarpus fortunei 'Wagnerianus') to the right of the Yucca rostrata. Read this post to find out how Loree made them. They've traditionally been home to agaves, but last year Loree also added some mangaves.

This dish planter also contains echeverias, aeoniums and a prickly pear

A wide-angle shot of the central bed. The dish planters described above are to the right of the trachycarpus, behind the yucca.

Moving left another 25 ft., facing away from house, we reach bromeliad land (the building is the garage). A few larger specimens are in pots on the ground, but most of the bromeliads are in or on vertical structures: more dish planters, a wire trellis, and the bare branches of a Schefflera taiwaniana that might or might not be dead.

There is so much to see, I kept coming back, taking essentially the same photos over and over.

You can't accuse Loree of doing things half-heartedly. Once she commits, she jumps in with both feet.

If I hadn't know better, I would have thought these plants have been here for years.

A perfect specimen of Tillandsia xerographica

Unfortunately, since they're not hardy, the entire display is temporary. All the plants will come down in the fall—very soon now—and spend the winter in the basement under lights.

Curly form of Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) from Bird Rock Tropicals

I have the utmost respect for gardeners like Loree who overwinter so many plants inside. I'm not sure I would be able to make that kind of commitment. (OK, I'll be honest and admit that I would be too lazy.)

The hanging creation you see in the next photo is what Loree calls the "bulletin board planter." The plants change every year, maybe even multiple times a year. The incarnation I saw featured Begonia 'Curly Fireflush', Dichondra argentea, and what looks like orchids.

A few more wide-angle shots for orientation. The next photo is the view towards the house from underneath Clifford, the 13-year-old Magnolia macrophylla.

And finally a teaser of what's still to come:

Check back in a few days for part 2 of this post: the shade pavilion, the patio and everything else in the far corner of the back garden.

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  1. I'm not surprised you got distracted by all the well-conceived and executed details in Loree's garden. Her designer's eye is without parallel and her love and appreciation of each plant's unique attributes is apparent. I look forward to part 2.

  2. There is so much to admire but the thing that impresses me most is how Loree balances her plant obsession with amazing design skills.

  3. So much I want to comment on! Thank you for another fantastic post. That combo of Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' and Leonotis leonurus was a happy accident (like so much in the garden), absolutely no planning of what they might of eventually look like occurred before planting. The possible orchids in the bulletin board planter are a plant I'd never heard of until the Austin Fling, Callisia fragrans. Both Kelly K and Lori D saw me admiring it and offered to share pieces of their plants...cause plant people are the best!

  4. So much to see in such a compact space. You can look for hours and still miss some beauties.

  5. There is so much going on in Lorees garden but she manages to make it seamless and cohesive.And so well maintained !

  6. It is fun to see a new perspective. Each visitor shares the garden from a unique point of view. The "bulletin board planter" is a favorite of mine; it is just too adorable. I could never imaging having to haul so many plants inside each year. One tuber begonia is all I'm willing to commit to :-)


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