Friday, July 3, 2009

The Oregon Garden

About a month ago we took a trip over to the valley visit some friends in Portland and to experience a little botanical lushness. I have been meaning to get to the Oregon Garden for years now but we're horrible travelers just trying to get to our destination as quick as we can without enjoying the journey there. I thought it was time to change that.

The Oregon Garden is about 80 acres of botanical loveliness located in Silverton, Oregon, pretty close to Salem. Check them out at They have so many different sections of landscape it was difficult to plan what to see first.
Since we had Liliana with us who is about 16 months old, we figured we should hit the Children's Garden first. But it took us a while to get there because I couldn't help but get distracted from everything along the way.

Let's hear it for green roofs! I can't wait to work on a project involving a green roof or living wall. I almost convinced a client to do a living wall, but darn it, they went with something else. I'm scheming to convince my mother to let me put one up in her patio...

I love the continuity of this stone pathway. Lovely transition.

It's hard to see in this photo, but above the wall is a trough from which the water spills. So simple, natural and stunning.

Ah yes, the Dr. Seuss trees.

This was possibly my favorite section, the conifers. So many times when I am looking up images for clients I end up with images from this garden. So many fantastic varieties I was in heaven!

This one is a perfect example. It must be years old and I know I would have to be patient to achieve the same look, but I just love the way it drapes over itself . It is a Sargent's Canadian Hemlock.

Finally we have arrived a the Children's Garden. I love this Hobbit Hole. I am looking for a landscape to put one of these in. So simple, just a very large piece of culvert pipe under a pile of dirt, and then of course planted very well. My daughter was so intriqued by going through it again and again (and again). And then she got to run up and over it. So much fun!

This is an example of integrating edibles into your landscape. Behind this lovely arched walkway are beds of berries and to the right were veggie beds. I found this section of the garden very romantic and relaxing even though it was the most formally designed with box hedging and shaped beds.
There are two fountains connected by this waterway. The texture of the river rock was very effective.

This is my kind of landscape. This was in the Lewis and Clark section where a path takes you through the different ecosystems that the explorers encountered on their way over here. This meadow is mainly Bluebunch Wheatgrass and Idaho Fescue. This is what I want in my front yard. Can you just imagine looking out your windows and seeing this?

There were many demonstration gardens and I liked the use of different plant materials here. I wish we could grow those huge leaves but in the meantime I'm settling for Ligularia and Ornamental Rhubarb.

The finale, a sweeping planting rounding up to a view over their wetlands, which actually functions as a natural treatment for waste water.

This is the kind of place I could go back to many times and never have the same experience. It was almost overwhelming and I just can't wait to go back!


  1. I lived in Silverton for 17 years. We got to watch the Gardens grow! Every time I go, I see something new. I've never seen the Hobbit Hole cool!

  2. I love the Oregon garden! Thank you for your photos.

  3. Thanks for your photos. I too have not been back for a long time. This inspires another trip.

  4. Hi - on July 3rd, 2009 you posted a photo of the huge leaf plant - do you know the name of that plant?