Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Elk Rock Garden at the Bishop's Close

The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon offers small classes or workshops to its members throughout the year, a couple weeks ago I finally attended one called “Winter Walk at Bishop's Close Garden." I’d never been to this garden and figured it would be a great opportunity to get out, explore and shake the winter blues. was sunny day!

A little history… “The Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close is the name that was given to the Peter Kerr estate when it was given to the Diocese of Oregon in 1959. Located in the Dunthorpe area about two miles north of Lake Oswego, the estate sits on a high bluff on the western bank of the Willamette River. The property includes approximately six acres of a cultivated English-style garden that was designed by the landscape architectural firm of Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts. It is widely known for its many varieties of magnolias as well as for outstanding examples of many other native and exotic plants. The term "close" as it is used in this instance derives from British usage where it describes an enclosed area around a church or other sacred space which provides a place for quietude and meditation.” (source)

We were a little early to appreciate the magnolia collection, but the timing was perfect for enjoying the hamamelis which I shared photos of here. It was also a great chance to see what other things popped with winter interest and provided a framework for future visits, of which there will be many I’m sure (I’ve got to see all those magnolias in bloom!). From the patio off the back of the house was a fine view of Mt Hood in the distance…

While everyone else was admiring the mountain I was enthralled with this beefy wisteria.

The chapel garden on the north side of the house…

And my new Magnolia obsession, M. delavayi.

Right about here is where everyone else started to coo about the epimedium…

While I was kind of taken by these dark little leaves.

And what a lovely specimen of Edgeworthia chrysantha next to the stream.

I’m hoping to make it back to see it in full bloom, maybe a week or so?

We were told the bamboo was coming out, it’s obstructing the view. What a project that will be!

Pinus bungeana, Lacebark Pine

Stewartia pseudocamellia

The Parterres, where the hamamelis is planted.

These little alpine troughs came from the (now closed) Berry Botanic Garden.

I guess they've had a hard time adjusting to their new home and some of the plants have died. Of course the fact that a couple of them have been ripped right out of the troughs by garden visitors doesn't help. Yes really! The gardener was with us on the tour and she told stories of finding them laying on the ground, some in our party refused to believe a visitor would do such a thing and preferred to blame the wildlife.

See the big graceful conifer in the background? It’s a Taiwania cryptomerioides or Coffin Tree.

It looks soft but wow…soft it is not, those are serious spikes!

That’s it for my visit, if you’re in the Portland area I urge you to see this garden in person, it really is a magical place and I know I’ll be back.

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