Portland Gardens

August 3, 2008

Portland, Oregon is lovely.  We had a short stay there this week and loved every minute of it.  My friends’ house is built into a hill at about a 80 degree angle.  The garden seems to fall right into their familyroom.  Their terraced beds had roses, hydrangeas matched with Acanthus and moss everywhere.  I remarked to them that we Baltimoreans would kill for that much moss.  We have to buy ours packaged at Micheals.

Moss covered long slopes at the Portland Japanese Gardens.  There was no sprinkler system in sight.  Below the Japanese Gardens is the International Rose Test Garden.  I have several pictures to share with you but first need some identification.  It is awe-inspiring to see such lovely beds of roses, not a black-spot or beetle in sight.  The ground is rich dark chocolate as if no additive were needed.  Built on a hill, the slope falls down to a terrace where the walk of the Ambassadors shine.  Literally stars of the Rose Festival past have their names raised on footsteps to commemorate the girls whose civic duty and personal beauty won them the year’s distinction in this Rose City.

We walked everywhere and there were gardens everywhere.  It struck me that the Portlanders don’t follow the same garden rules as we do.  You know, plant in odd numbers, grouping 3, 5, 7, of the same species.  Their gardens have sophisticated material in a cottage type planting, many times one specimen at a time.  Some of the plants that were used frequently – smoke tree, a reddish yucca (perhaps phormium), and hebe.  What blew me away was primroses were in bloom yet their peonies were spent.  My friend said that they have camelias in bloom almost throughout the year.  A trip to Portland could be in the books for the summers to come at least a 23 degree difference and no humidity. 



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