On a sunny weekend not long ago -- Memorial Day to be precise -- we decided to get out of the house and do something. The summer-like air called us outdoors and off we skipped to The Oregon Garden in Silverton (which I think was a much better plan than going to a movie, which was the first thought).
The garden owns over 200 acres of land, once a horse ranch, and about 18 acres have been developed. Moonstone Hotels owns a luxurious lodge with conference facilities in the grounds and took over the garden finances not long ago when the garden was having serious financial problems. With their sponsorship and the presence of the hotel, the garden is on track to success once again.
From the highest point on the slope, one can look down at the garden, wild bits and landscaped bits alike, and off across the Willamette Valley to the Coast Range in the distance:
The series of ponds that connect to one another down the hillside are more than just pretty. They also provide wetland habitat, and, believe it or not, filter treated municipal water, which irrigates and provides nutrients for the garden.
We caught the electric tram for a quick tour around the garden to spot things we wanted to see on foot later. For a public garden of its size, it has a lot of variation, innovation, and charming little bits like this green roof on the pumphouse for the water garden:
The children's garden was one of my favorite spots, for all the imaginative features packed into one spot. The garden sports a dragon windvane:
As well as a couple of pot people:
And a Hobbit house for the kids to play in, running through the tunnel or rolling down its slopes:
And even a huge sandbox complete with dinosaur bones to unearth:
Kids can wonder at the vertical garden and peer at all the little succulents growing on its face:
For the smallest visitors, a miniature garden features tiny houses and riddles painted on rocks:
Beyond the edges of the developed gardens is a stretch of native prairie that is slowly being restored. In the midst stands the Heritage Oak, an Oregon White Oak over 400 years old:
Who says public gardens have to be only ornamental? Here the vegetable gardens demonstrate square foot gardening:
I plan to install an espaliered apple fence like this in my own garden:
And of course there were formal gardens, with some pretty amazing fountains and sculptures:
That's only a sampling. You'll have to visit the gardens yourself to see the rest!