Happy Birthday Holiday: A Northwestern Celebration
Bill and Kerry O'Neill
Bainbridge Island, Washington
You're not going to miss the biggest birthday party the ARS ever had? Great! Then we'll see you in Portland. But if you are like us, you would like to take advantage of the trip to see as much as you can while you are in the area. The convention planners have done an extraordinary job of arranging tours to numerous attractions in the Portland area. However, there are so many of interest to gardeners like us, that there won't be enough time to visit them all on the bus tours during the four-day convention. With this in mind, additional bus tours are being arranged to enable some folks to get to outlying sites such as Mount St. Helens, the Northern Oregon Coast, or the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood. Furthermore, information will be available upon registration with respect to local gardens that may be visited by driving around on your own before or after the convention.
Many of the gardens which can be seen on the tours during the convention usually are not open to the public, while other places you could visit on your own. The Platt and Berry gardens, created by two of this country's greatest plants women, and Cecil and Molly Smith's garden are outstanding examples of the former. Jane Platt's sense of design and her knowledge of all sorts of vegetation gave rise to ideal surroundings for her unique Northwest home, and the Berry Botanic Garden preserves the extraordinary collection of Rae Selling Berry, the founder of the American Primrose Society, in six acres that provide several micro environments for her complex plant communities, including many endangered species.
Among the places you could elect to see on your own are the Portland Chapter's own Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Washington Park arboretum and rose garden (in addition to the Japanese Garden which can be visited via one of the bus tours), or Bishop's Close. The latter, a 13-acre garden surrounding the Episcopal Diocesan offices near Lake Oswego (south), is privately maintained but open to the public. Crystal Springs (on the East Side, near Reed College's lovely campus) and Washington Park (in the hills on the West Side) are parts of Portland's beautiful park system. Farther east than Crystal Springs (6700 SE 122nd Ave.) is a garden not included in any bus tours, the "Sleepy Hollow" home of John and Lilla Leach, now cooperatively maintained by Portland's P&R Dept. and Leach Garden Friends.
If you cross the Columbia River to visit such fabulous private gardens as those of the Mossmans and Goheens, or for other attractions in Washington, you might enjoy a stop at Pendleton Mills, near Washougal, east of Camas. There is an hour-long tour (at 9, 10, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., M-F) that will lead you from spinning through weaving of fine wool. Both states have numerous nurseries offering rhodies and companion plants. South of Portland, there are colorful fields of iris grown by Schreiners and Cooleys near Salem, the 89-acre Deepwood Estate a few blocks south of Oregon's capitol, and the spectacular rhododendrons at Hendricks Park in Eugene. For more garden visiting ideas, we highly recommend Myrna Oakley's paperback Public & Private Gardens of the Northwest (Beautiful America Pub. Co., 1990). It's full of ideas. Wherever you go, enjoy the area's gardens and native vegetation. It's a great gift.
Bill and Kerry O'Neill have also written articles on horticultural sights to see in the ARS convention areas of Tacoma (1993) and Asheville (1994).