the gates of hell

the gates of hell
The Gates of Hell

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

three years in hell

The devil garden was built and initially planted just over 3 years ago. Its amazing how plants fill in over time. And I never could have predicted which plants would struggle and which would thrive. I'm learning patience and joy, so good for me (amazing what hell has wrought).

For comparison, here is a photo of part of the original planting in April 2013, same view as the second photo. Today, the red "firecracker" monarda and crocosmia (fittingly, I have both 'Lucifer' and 'Hellfire') are lush and thriving, and are already (in May!) nearly as tall as I am, filling all the space I can give them. They have bloomed profusely and reliably each July; somewhat surprisingly, since they get very little sun. If anything, the shade seems to encourage them to grow taller in search of the sun. (The blog header photo is from July of that first year, 2013, with just a handful of red monarda in bloom, visible through the gate.)

The two cornerstone plants that in large part inspired the devil garden (planted at opposite ends of the devil garden area--I imagine them calling to each other), have not done as well. The devils club (Oplopanax horridus) is surviving, but never has grown more than a few leaves and only gets about 2 feet tall. I'm hoping that with root growth it will do better, but in its third year it looks about the same as it did initially. Iris foetidissima has always looked good, but hasn't bloomed until this year. The flower is yellow and brown, not very striking, but very much anticipated. I'm really hoping it will produce scarlet seeds this year!

On a more colorful note, the orange Begonia boliviensis flowers echo the orange circle pot exactly! (The circle pot was a welcome prize from DangerGarden's blog contest.) Not sure this pairing will work long-term, seems like very little dirt for such a vigorous plant, fingers crossed. (And, yes, if you zoom in enough, you can see the wicked witch's red shoes, lower right corner.)


  1. Excellent use of the circle pot!

  2. It's amazing how fast plants fill in here in the PNW! Your garden has grown so beautiful over the last 3 years, I love that you share your devilish delights!