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Saturday, August 14, 2010

More About Public Gardens

Kalmiopsis leachiana

I recently wrote about the closing of the Berry Botanic Garden but there are many other public gardens in our area that you can visit.  The Leach Botanical Garden has partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation and is supported by Leach Garden Friends who put on the annual spring plant sale where we participate as vendors.  Plantswoman Lila Leach created this garden and left another lasting legacy, a plant she discovered in the Siskiyou Mountains and that was named after her, Kalmiopsis leachiana.

Rock Garden At Pittock Mansion
Photo courtesy of S. Frankwick
The Pittock Mansion is another public garden run by Portland Parks & Recreation and supported by an intrepid group of Multnomah Master Gardeners.  Situated on a hilltop above Portland, visitors can tour the century old home and enjoy breathtaking views.  Like many older gardens, it includes a rock garden that is being painstakingly replanted and rejuvenated.

Elk Rock Garden is a privately owned garden that is open to the public.  It, too, has a lovely rock garden as well as native plant trails in a mature setting near the Willamette River.  The Clackamas County Gardeners recently planted a native garden at another privately owned location, Hopkins Demonstration Forest, located in rural Clackamas County near our nursery.  In Salem, The Friends of Deepwood are enhancing the native plant area at Deepwood Estate with a large collection of NW Penstemons. 
Penstemon cardwellii
 In addition to these more intimate gardens, Portland boasts world-class public gardens including the International Rose Test Garden, The Portland Japanese Garden and Chinese Garden. The Oregon Zoo has also recently renovated some of its native plant areas.

There are many more public gardens in our region and throughout the country that are worth the visit.  I invite you to take a moment and share a comment about your favorites!


  1. Thanks for the nice recognition of our gardens and gardeners at Pittock Mansion. One year ago this week we began clearing the overgrowth of Erica and Hypericum from our neglected, eighty-six foot rock garden; we have been uncovering and adding treasures ever since. The bank is south-facing and has the full range of exposure from sun to shade, so it will accommodate a wide variety of plants. We invite you all to visit often and enjoy the development along with us.

  2. One of the things I like about the gardens at the Pittock Mansion is that every plant is clearly identified. Visitors aren't left to guess what that special plant might be. Great job!