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The Oregon Garden

by Rebecca Sweet

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at The Oregon Garden, located in the stunning Willamette Valley town of Silverton. I am so fortunate that I had booked an extra day for this trip as I was completely unaware of the sheer magnitude of this impressive garden.

More than just a beautiful space, this garden consists of 80 acres of teaching and demonstration gardens, all seamlessly flowing from one to the next. Conservation is a theme that runs throughout the gardens, from teaching about the importance of local water eco-systems and forestry to helping gardeners create their own water-wise gardens.

While one day wasn’t nearly enough to capture the essence of this impressive garden, I’ll do my best to give it a try.
I’ll start with the Conifer Garden, where this graceful beauty (resembling a woman looking over her shoulder at the shawl draped over her arm) rises to greet you.

The soft gold needles of the Himalayan Cedar and the weeping, steely blue Engleman Spruce were two of my favorites.
As you enter The Childrens Garden, you’re greeted by this family of pot-people, welcoming kids to explore a Dinosaur Dig, Tree House, Hobbit House, and a ‘true’ outdoor room.

Native plants are given high priority and are woven throughout the various gardens.

In their full glory, these native plants not only show just how beautiful they can be in your home garden, but also how important they are in attracting much-needed pollinators.In addition to emphasizing native plants, those that are drought tolerant are planted everywhere.

Like these fiery Oriental poppies that are thriving in the parking lot!Planted throughout the ornamental beds were some of the most beautiful artichoke plants I’ve ever seen.

Artichoke plants not only provide stunning contrast with their highly structural leaves, when the artichokes are left to bloom they turn into giant purple thistles adding yet another level of interest to the garden.

And what garden would be complete without homes for birds and bats? 

While this is just a small taste of what you’ll experience if you visit The Oregon Garden, I hope you get the chance to experience it for yourself.  And if you do, make sure to allow at least a few days!

I’m curious – what are some of your favorite public gardens?


John Pinto June 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Love the pot people and door to the pipe! That’s great what a beautiful little secret to this garden!

Karen June 19, 2012 at 6:37 am

I’m heading to Eugene(from Idaho) the middle of July. I’ll absolutely be taking the Silverton exit to this beautiful place on my way…thanks so much!

Rebecca Sweet June 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Have fun when visiting, Karen! Hope you enjoy the garden as much as I did!

Dirty Girl Gardening June 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

This is impressive, I will add it to my Bucket List…thanks for the insight.

Laura June 9, 2012 at 6:47 am

I was looking for the name of a scented rhododendron and I found this site, that is a garden I would love to see, IF I ever manage to go to New Zealand.

Laura June 9, 2012 at 6:25 am

What an amazing place! I love the toilet turned into a plant vessel. I am sold on the artichokes plants, so stunning!

I love the San Francisco botanical garden, that is the one I know the best.

Rebecca Sweet June 13, 2012 at 7:23 am

I love the SF botanical garden, too, Laura. But then again, maybe we’re a little biased! ;)

Lorita June 6, 2012 at 8:26 am

Very nice. I have yet to visit the garden but hope to soon. I’ve highlighted your website on my Oregon travel page

Rebecca Sweet June 13, 2012 at 7:23 am

Thanks, Lorita!

Debra Lee Baldwin June 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Great photos, Rebecca! I hadn’t heard of the Oregon Garden. This reminds me, I’ve been meaning to add an artichoke to my garden. I think it would do well where I have a dwarf citrus that isn’t performing. Anyway, as far as public gardens go, I was really impressed by the Montreal Botanical Garden. Imagine, in the winter, being able to walk through a series of greenhouses that are all connected. You can do a big loop—go down one side and back the other. Takes about an hour if you don’t linger. Gorgeous tropical plants from all over the world, arranged in garden vignettes, with plenty of benches and water features. Everything labeled and well tended. Really well done.

Rebecca Sweet June 5, 2012 at 8:19 am

Debra, your brief but perfect description has me sold! Walking through connected greenhouses in the middle of winter sounds delightful, as does the ‘plenty of benches’ comment (you know all about my poor feet!!) Thanks for letting me know about yet another garden to add to my ‘must see’ list!

Kaveh June 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Beautiful garden. Those are actually oriental poppies in the parking lot. I have a few favorite public gardens. The little known NJ Botanical Garden at Skylands, The NY Botanical Garden where I went to school, The Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew where I did internships.

Rebecca Sweet June 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Thanks for the correction, Kaveh! I’m dying to visit the Royal Botanic Garden and can’t believe you actually interned there – lucky you!! The NJ Botanical Garden at Skylands is another I’d love to visit – thanks for the suggestions.

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