Book Review and Giveaway!!!: Fearless Gardening by Loree Bohl (aka Danger Garden)


(UPDATE: @thebeeskneesheart on Instagram is the winner. Congratulations!)

If you missed the other giveaways! There’s still one more!!!!!

When Loree announced to her friends that she was writing a book we were thrilled about it and for months we went through the process with her. Being part of a large online gardening community, many of us were already familiar with her garden and many creative talents. Loree has always written great posts and content. She is a big part of our local gardening community, she contributes her time to organizations, and all because she genuinely cares about gardening, design with plants, and supporting small businesses and nurseries.

Of course we asked her what her book would be about, but we were also left in a bit of suspense. I’m so glad it arrived in my hands around Christmas and what a fun surprise to open up the text and see how she handled such an exciting writing challenge! The book turns out to be an encapsulation of what Danger Garden is all about and it’s not just her, it’s about the community she grew in, the community she’s part of, the plants she’s both bought and seen in gardens along the way, as well as the people who’ve influenced her vision.

Fearless Gardening is about being inspired and it’s inspiring. It’s also a testament to a garden, a very popular garden in the city of Portland, Oregon one that I often hear about on social media or while I’m at work. Unlike many gardening texts, this one is very practical, personal, and dare I say it, fearless!

As a fellow garden blogger, one who met Loree years ago through that world, I very much enjoyed seeing the tenor of a book on gardening change. Tenor is the relationship between the voice of the author and the reader, and very often, too often, garden books have been written from a position of authority. This is fine if the writer is someone I already admire for their professional accomplishments, but it’s not something I get excited about reading. In the changing world we’re in, one where readers are more challenging to grab, the tone Loree takes is fantastic! I felt like I knew her, I mean I do, but I feel that even those who don’t will feel like they’re talking to, and receiving tips, from a really good friend who has them in mind. She’s genuine in her advice, and honest in how she got to the point where she’s at, and that to me is excellent garden writing.

During the pandemic it’s been a challenge to wait for the book’s release, but what a refreshing and great surprise when it finally arrived. To my mind, it’s the book that needed to be written after having seen so many visitors remark while visiting Loree’s garden, “How did you do this? I’d like to have a garden like yours.” As I read the book, I kept thinking, this is the answer to that question. If you want a garden like this, you really do have to be fearless… and reading this book will help to better understand her design process too. It’s loaded with great photos, fantastic quotes, rules to break, and it reads like a memoir. I really enjoyed reading it.

So for the next 3 days I’m going to be ripping up my garden—as we do—after we’ve been pumped up and inspired by a great gardening romp on the page.

Felix looking out the car window at Danger Garden. I’m one of only two or three people who’s ever “garden sat” and watered Danger Garden and Felix very much enjoyed driving over with me on those warm summer evenings.


It’s an honor to participate in a giveaway for Fearless Gardening generously sponsored by Timber Press. One lucky reader will receive a copy of Loree’s book along with The Art of Gardening by R. William Thomas. (It’s one of the many great texts mentioned in Fearless Gardening.) This giveaway is open to residents with a valid United States mailing address and a winner will be announced here in 7 days on January 22, 2021. To enter, please leave a comment below telling us all about a plant, small garden, or plant person who inspires you. Give us the details!

I’d love to hear some stories.

And good luck!

Be Bold! Break the Rules! Grow What You Love!

18 thoughts on “Book Review and Giveaway!!!: Fearless Gardening by Loree Bohl (aka Danger Garden)

  1. Cathi Lamoreux

    You like stories! I will tell you my Loree story. My daughter and family moved to Portland 9 years ago. They rented a house in NE Portland. When we visited we would take my grandson to a park nearby and there was a house across the street that had a row of opuntia in the hell strip. I remember commenting about them. Sometime later I was searching for something online and came across a picture of those same opuntias! Turns out I had landed at Danger Garden! I started following her, she started following me. Fast forward to 2015. I live in Spokane. Loree is from Spokane, but I didn’t know that then. We were having a bad fire season and were socked in with smoke. We were driving home from friends and I took a picture of the horrible yellow/gray/green sky hanging over the city and posted it. Loree immediately commented saying that she was from Spokane, knew Spokane, and where was this??? That started our friendship as we knew Spokane people in common and she and my daughter live near each other. My daughter’s family purchased a home in the neighborhood and she started making her own garden. One summer when I was visiting in Portland, she invited the three of us to visit her garden for inspiration. What a treat! My grandson was enthralled as he is a great plant, bird, insect lover. I have been back two or three times since then. I took my husband once as he loves all things spiky (he constantly wants me to plant more cactus!) and he loved it, too! Loree has helped me with plant ID, sent me an agave for my garden, has recommended speakers for programs that I run, and inspired me to purchase an HPSO membership for my daughter (truth is, I was hoping to get to Portland for an open garden weekend but haven’t yet). When she comes to Spokane there is an open invitation to visit me and my garden, but you know what it is like when you are visiting family – they come first. But, hopefully, when we are able to travel again, I will revisit Loree in her lovely garden and she will visit mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer Harkins

    I found your blog through Danger Garden. I have read Loree’s well written accounts of her garden interests for years. I have especially enjoyed your recent posts about personal descriptions of your house plants. So much so, that I have subscribed to your blog.( a rare occurrence for me). Please continue with your house plant stories. I want to learn about all 500!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kirsten

    Years ago, I was planting an agave in my front yard and some neighbors walked by and told me to check out The Danger Garden blog. Loree and DG have been such a huge influence on my garden since! Can’t wait to get my hands on Loree’s book!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sherri Wilson

    Loree’s garden is the mother ship, that’s for sure. Just so curated. I have a few acres to garden here on Bainbridge and am all over the succulents (millions of them in containers that I stuff into my greenhouse and shed for the winter. Why oh why I wasn’t into succulents when I lived in California 30 years ago…who knows? I guess that would have been too easy? I love plant people, love to tour gardens, love to re-do areas in my garden….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jocelyn McAuley

    Oh this is lovely- thanks for this opportunity to connect with more and more Portland gardeners. I’m super inspired by a friend who works with Backyard Habitat. She is a lovely person who is encouraging and shines a light on everyone she talks with. I love how with her yard she reveals that it’s a dance of editing and growing. Just when I think I don’t have space for a project I see her puzzle away in her small yard in a lovely way that reminds me it’s always worth it to TRY.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d love to shine a light on one of the most amazing plant people I have known, Mr Loren Radford. He was instrumental in shaping the PCC Landscape Tech program (of which I am a graduate), and taught there for many years– I believe he has recently retired. He had a wild liftetime of plant-related vocations, including both logger and forest preservation activist, landscape designer and urban forester. He taught me so much, all with a wry wit, and a voice like Captain Ahab, with his pipe clenched between his teeth. I’ll never forget him. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “I felt like I knew her, I mean I do, but I feel that even those who don’t will feel like they’re talking to, and receiving tips, from a really good friend who has them in mind.”

    Hahaha… I was like “But Ann, you DO know me!”…but then I read on and you wrote exactly what I hoped people would feel like. I am not an expert on anything but my garden, but I want people to feel empowered to have fun in their gardens, just like I/we do. Glad that came through. Thank you for taking the time to read and review the book! (and encouraging people to write stories…I love them too)


  8. Claudia

    I feel like I absorbed gardening by osmosis as a child watching my Grandfather garden in Baltimore, but then I was whisked out to the desert by my Father’s determination to move west.
    The last 3+ years after moving to the PNW have felt like being plunged back into water after a long dessication.
    I find myself doing things in my garden that feel instinctual, and I’m realizing they’re the things I watched my Grandfather do.
    I think a lot now about how I felt as a child in Maryland, picking up wooly bears, finding wild strawberries on a hillside, walking in the shade of a forest; I didn’t realize how much these things were an intrinsic part of me.
    Having begun metamorphosizing into a gardener rather late, I’m still finding my direction and personal garden “style”.
    Vacillating between natives, and edibles and cut flowers, I suppose I’m trying to do it ALL, with some success and some failure, but lots of satisfaction ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  9. DTaylor

    I found you through your plant sale on FB and now I’m stalking your plant blog for life. This is a wonderful review of this book. I just became a plague gardener myself and have moved mid-pandemic to a house with a yard (from a house with none at all, intentionally) to keep my kind, heart and hands busy during a really weird time. I look forward to learning a lot from you (and this book). Thanks for sharing the link 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shannon

    Thanks for the opportunity!! Will definitely be buying the book if I don’t win. 😀 Listing one particular garden, gardener, or plant that inspires me is tough because, as many gardeners know, SO MUCH of this stuff and so many gardeners are inspiring! Just one for now though: the simple–and some would say passé–bigleaf hydrangea. I live in a historic Victorian house in Northern Indiana. It’s an awesome enclave of intellectuals and creatives in a super red state. I planted these bulbous hydrangeas about six years ago when we were living on a shoestring and I was trying to start a business and pay off my horrendous student loans. They’ve grown up so beautifully. They almost look gauche when in full bloom: giant pink heads practically screaming at you as you walk by the house in the height of summer. I look forward to them every year.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Marc Wheeler Byrne

    Ann, Where would I find an R. Sinogrande? the bigger the better, no 3″ pots:-) I am guessing you would know. Just finishing with the ice storm doug fir bows in the backyard. One 10 yard dumpster, and 11 garbage cans later…

    On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 12:03 AM Amateur Bot-ann-ist wrote:

    > Amateur Bot-ann-ist posted: ” If you missed the other giveaways! There’s > still one more!!!!! When Loree announced to her friends that she was > writing a book we were thrilled about it and for months we went through the > process with her. Being part of a large online gardening c” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the best place to begin would be the Rhododendron Species Garden in WA state. This is not a plant that’s cultivated often due to its slow growth. I hear you on the pruning mess too. It’s just not ending after that storm. We had so much damage.


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