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Some plants just require that you pull over for a closer look. These oddballs stopped me dead in my tracks.

1. In-ground Portland agaves

st johns pub agaves

Happy looking Portland Agaves are always worthy of closer inspection so we can try this at home. McMennamins joints have the coolest horticulturalists. Best parking lot gardens ever, hands down.

2. Naturalized in ground Portland agaves at a home without gardening staff

naturalized agaves in portland

Double points for this surprise crop of agaves that have clearly been here for a while and are happy enough to spread. They probably got lucky with a micro-climate protected from rain under the eaves of the house, with heat radiating from the stone foundation.

3. Black mondo grass vertical wall

black mondo grass in rock wall
black mondo grass in rock wall

Never seen it grown like this before. It takes on a whole new exotic jungle personality when vertical.

4. Hesperaloe blooming… in Portland… in October

hesperaloe blooming

In Las Vegas or Palm Springs, sure, no big deal. But in Portland, it’s a rare site.

5. Porch ferns

porch ferns

The ferns are calling from inside the house.

6. Something beautiful this way comes

mystery beauty

I don’t know what it is, but I must have it. Anything that looks this beautiful in a misty rain belongs in a Portland garden, even though our rainy days seemed they would never arrive this year.

7. Who needs christmas tree ornaments when you have persimmons dripping from the branches?


Seriously good for fall and winter. You want to look out your window on a chilly day and see these clinging to the bare branches.

8. The creature blooms


artemisia sea foam

Artemisia versicolor ‘Sea Foam.’ Who knew this coral wannabe bloomed?

artemisia sea foam

artemisia sea foam

The leaves are still the coolest part.

9. Dried carnivorous plants

DIY project courtesy of one naughty dog. If you remove your Sarracenia from it’s container, hide it in the garden, and deposit it on your doorstep a month later, you get a quite beautiful and quite dead pitcher plant.

10. It’s a noodle, right?

lady and the tramp shot


Stems of an Akebia quinata make quite good props when you want to reenact Lady and the Tramp scenes. It’s a fact.