Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Visit to The Oregon Garden

TheOregonGardenHeader copy
Hmmm...well, my camera is still in the shop...and I've been pondering on what to post about. Luckily, during the year, I usually stock up on a few ideas that I can use during the winter months, when not much else is going on in the garden.

Earlier this year, in early September, we decided to visit The Oregon Garden, down in Silverton, which is about an hour south of Portland. We've gone down before, but it's fun to go every year, just to see what has changed. I usually prefer going in late summer or early fall, as that's when my favorite plants are going strong.

stipa gigantea  2922
As you pull into the parking lot, you are already greeted by some amazing plants, like these stunning Stipa gigantea...I wish mine were so rigidly upright!

verbena bonariensis  2925
The entrance garden beds are actually some of my favorites, with their huge, rust-colored boulders and mix of grasses & flowering plants.

verbena bonariensis  2924
I really love the pairing of purple & here with Verbena bonariensis & Helianthus.

coleus & pennisetum  2927
I was surprised at the entrance to the visitors' center to see this large Pennisetum 'Vertigo'...gorgeous, especially paired with this lovely Coleus with serrated leaves.

garden path
This is the garden just outside the visitors' those Japanese Maples. For some reason, this area of the garden, which is usually bursting at the seams with plants, had quite a few bare spots. I wondered if our extremely long, dry summer this year claimed some victims.

helanthus  2930
On this day, the patch of Helenium was looking splendid...and was smothered in happy pollinators.

artichoke  2932
While a little past their prime, I still found the seed heads of this artichoke (or perhaps Cardoon) quite striking.

Here's a close-up of the seed how a few of the cottony seeds had been plucked free from the seed heads...possibly by a hungry bird?

sedum & miscanthus  2933
This is a great early-autumn grouping, with Sedum, Artemisia & Miscanthus.

eryngium  2935
Don't you love the wonderful, papery seedheads of Eryngiums!

pond  2938
One of my favorite areas of the Garden is this pond/wetland area, which has not only fish, but HUGE frogs! There were some loud kids on the day we visited, sadly, which kept the frogs hiding in the middle of the pond :-(

Can you imagine having a pond...let alone waterlilies...a boy can dream, can't he?

metal bridge  2942
I actually really love the "bridge" that crosses the wetland portion of the garden...such great details.

lobelia  2945
I'm not sure which Lobelia this is (perhaps 'Monet Moment'). I've always loved the red foliage of 'Queen Victoria', but I'm not crazy about the vivid red flowers...maybe these would work better in my garden. Then again...those flowers are a very HOT pink!

lake & Molinia
No matter what garden I'm in, my eyes go right for the grasses...look at that stand of Molinia 'Skyracer'!

molinia skyracer  2937
Of course, I made my way over to them...their stems were coloring up far earlier than mine (which just started getting fall color in the past week or so). These were the most delicious mix of orange/gold/plum.

cat tails
I'm a little obsessed with Cattails. I really would love to have some one day...of course, they come with Red-Wing Blackbirds, right?

Daucus carota
You can hardly beat Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carrota) for simple elegance, can you?

There were a few gravel paths in the wetland lined with various grasses, including these lovely little Pennisetum (probably 'Hameln').

pennisetum 2
Love their purplish plumes and that foliage that's just starting to morph from emerald green to a luminous gold.

mystery  2944nodding reed
I have no idea what these plants are...I just thought they were cool!

I'm thinking this was some form of Hibiscus.

seedhead kiss 1
A little ways beyond this more manicured and "garden-y" area was a part of the garden that felt almost like a real, wild wetland, full of blooming and post-blooming plants, including these fluffy seedheads.

Spherical Seedhead
I was transfixed by the wonderful, spherical quality of these.

spindly seedheads
Aren't these great...I love the hint at kinetic energy in the post-explosion look!

Spiral seed heads 1
My favorite of the seedheads in this area, however, were these, which seemed to have burst open along spiraling seams along their length.

Spiral Seedheads 2
This one even has a fuzzy outer them!

squash vine
Am I the only one who thinks that the variegated veination of squash vines is striking?

You can't have a fall garden without some Pumpkins.

verbena h
More gorgeous Verbena bonariensis, this time paired with Rudbeckia & some form of Amaranth.

echinacea vignette
You know I love me some Echinacea & Rudbeckia!

echinacea h
I was charmed by their small collection of varied cultivars of Echinacea, paired with other composites like Gaillardia.

gaillardia stages
Speaking of Gaillardia...I can never decide which stage of their blooms is the most striking.

white echinacea 2
I love the mix of new and faded blooms here...especially with the forthy backing of Stipa tenuissima.

waterfall 1
Yes another water garden...this one complete with rocky waterfall, flanked with gorgeous, late-summer perennials.

waterlily v
Sigh...more waterlilies.

Just past the waterfall, was a planting of 'Purple Majesty' Millet.

I'm sort of clueless about shrubs...I'm guessing Viburnum?

This one I know...Cotinus!

Ahhh...don't you love this little patch of Colchicum!

clematis tangutica v
In the Children's Garden area, there is a wall of Clematis tangutica.

clematis tangutica wide
Luckily, at this time of year, it's a fluffy wall of seedheads...delightful!!!

orange flower
And for you orange-lovers out you go (Zauschneria, I think)?

A great late-summer stalwart, Solidago 'Fireworks'...I really need to find a spot for these in my own garden.

pennisetum spatheolatum
Every time I visit here, I'm reminded of what Pennisetum spatheolatum SHOULD look like...and reminded that I need to move mine somewhere sunnier.

pennisetum massaicum
Another great Pennisetum, Pennisetum massaicum ('Red Bunny Tails')...I love how it has red-tinged foliage during summer.

molinia variegata
Who wouldn't be enchanted by this scrim of Molinia variegata stems?

molinia skyracer
As I turned a corner, heading back up to the Visitors' Center, I was confronted by this amazing stand of Molinia 'Skyracer'.

molinia skyracer 2
It took my breath THIS is how to plant grasses!

white echinacea
There are quite a few areas of the garden I didn't explore (the old-growth Oak Grove, the Conifer Collection), but Norm & his mom were pretty tired of me taking thousands of pictures by this we called it a day. I hope you enjoyed this little virtual trip to The Oregon Garden. If you're ever in the area, stop by, I think there's something there for everyone :-)


  1. What a garden! That verbena -- wow!

    I never understand how people have Echinacea flowering so late in the season. It must be a climate thing, right?

  2. Yowza...sometimes this land of sun is over-rated! Thanks for sharing a place that stimulates me, though I might have to grill up some more salmon, to have tonight with a good microbrew...

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I've been there before--but seeing it through someone else's eyes gives a totally different view. Very nicely done!

  4. I wish I could get my verbena to spread like that! I've never seen such a large planting of sedum either. Beautiful photos...

  5. Hi Scott, it's a lovely garden but your photography steals the show, superb shots and the composition of each photo is fantastic. Wish we had your skill with the camera...

  6. This is beautiful. I love the clematis shot but my favorite is the rocky waterfall. What a lovely composition.

  7. Scott, This is a fantastic garden and I love, love, love your photos...The plant combinations are inspiring and I totally agree~they know how to plant grasses! gail

  8. What a great garden! Oh, to have the room to plant great huge swaths of flowers and grasses like this. You smartie, saving up pictures for a winter post.

  9. I ADORE that bridge! I need some rusty metal in my next garden. Maybe I can find someone who wants to play with Cor-ten steel for me. :-D

    The coleus and pennisetum combo was awesome. I always seem to try to put colors and plants like that together in a big planter... but I'm thinking that in the future, I just need to group separate planters together. It just gives so much more impact!

  10. (Oh, and that zauschneria picture broke my heart. I managed to keep a couple of them alive one summer here... only to lose them over the wet winter. I kept planning to try them again in the not-amended, well-draining front garden, but I never did. Love the orange flower and silvery foliage combination.)

  11. Oh man, so much inspiration in this post! Your photography is gorgeous, as always. This post made me simultaneously happy that I made it to Wind Dancer with you and sad that they are closed. Masses of grasses are for winners!

  12. How lucky for us that you were saving up photos for a rainy day. I need to get myself back to the Oregon Garden in 2013, it's been to long. Of course I won't know what half the plants are...(I'm always impressed by your plant knowledge).

  13. Another inspiringly beautiful post! Do you ever take a bad picture oh lightmaster? Sorry that your camera is still at the hospital but hopefully it's out of surgery and in recovery by now!

  14. Fantastic garden, so many great combinations. The long view of grasses and leaves in the fall are stunning.

    Even if you get your camera back I hope you continue to search the archives for more of these posts.

  15. We always seem to get the itch to visit this garden in the spring. Now that I can see what we've been missing, it's going on the list of autumn activities.

  16. I got deliciously lost wandering in these pictures. What a great photo tour on this brown November day here in the cold northeast. The rich summery colors captivated me, but even the skeletons of seedheads gone by are fascinating. And you made simple pumpkins hiding in browning foliage look cute!

    What a beautifully designed garden this is.

  17. Tak for de mange smukke billeder.
    Jeg venter allerede efter forår.
    Ha´ en god aften.

  18. You will have to let me know if find a source for cattails that include the red-wing blackbirds, they have one of my favorite calls.

  19. OMG Scott, i miss your post, so the last autumn garden shots i let to linger in my brain. And here you are again! If you take the photos the garden becomes more appealing, i guess it is the composition, you give them the best beauty. Oh how i wish i can take photos like yours!

  20. The masonry work on the pond is outstanding.

  21. Great photos Scott;I think this garden is a real gem - when I visited this past summer my friends and I stayed at the resort there..the gardens around the hotel building are also fabulous !

  22. I keep seeing the Verbena bonariensis in posts (might all be YOUR posts Scott). I grew it from seed one year but then heard terrible rumors of its invasiveness and took it out. I'm going to try it again, it's really pretty, and almost nothing goes invasive in my clay. Great to see the Oregon Garden maturing so nicely!

  23. Fireworks is a great plant Scott. Mine gets bigger and bigger to the point I need to divide it. :) Get a division from a friend!

    So many lovely plants that I can't grow here: Zauschneria, artichokes...

  24. Ah, I've always thought the Autumn Crocuses would be a fun plant to add to the garden! What a wonderful tour of the gardens. Thanks! That shot of the colorful annuals on top of the stone wall and reflected in the pond belongs in a magazine somewhere--but wait...that's true of all your photos!

  25. Just gorgeous! The verbena bonariensis and heliopsis are a great combo, especially with that one canna standing there. The grasses and water gardens are just wonderful.

  26. I've not been to your part of the country but your photos certainly give reason for a visit.

  27. So glad you've got an archive to dip into! Molinia is fabulous. I've never grown it and suspect it would hate zone 10, but your photos make me want to give it a try. My Pennisetum spathiolatum didn't look like that this year, very little bloom, and I think they've got plenty of sun. Grasses would seem to be a no-brainer, but not the case at all. Trial and error, like everything else.

  28. Great photos in your posting today. Beautiful sense of space and texture. Loved all of them. Gives me more ideas to use here at the lake! Jack

  29. Hubby and I went for our anniversary in August a few years ago. We stayed over at the new resort. It was very nice. The gardens were amazing but to see all those grasses, methinks I'll need to plan a trip in September next year. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Great place! We stayed two night at the hotel in the garden when I was out there in July. As a resort guest you get access to the garden from dawn to dusk. Wish I'd taken more pictures. Now I'll just enjoy yours :).

  31. Oh my...the color...the texture...perfection. I agree, that bridge rocks! The grasses with the levels of tall flowers to lower flowers reminds me of your garden. So pretty!!!!!

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