Spring in the Pacific Northwest, Part I

Friday, May 21, 2010

Portland, OR -- The City of Roses
I promised to post about my vacation to the Pacific Northwest, so here goes. I took a lot of photos, so I'll try to pick only the best ones to share with all of you plant lovers. Let's start with the highlights from around Portland, OR -- The City of Roses.

Our first stop was the Nike Worldwide Headquarters campus in Beaverton, OR. We were treated to a presentation by the landscape architect and then had a walking tour of the campus. The landscape was designed with a berm around the entire property, which effectively created a beautiful environment that feels totally separate from the surrounding city of Beaverton.

Allee and fountain at Nike World Headquarters
I developed my newest plant crush while we were at Nike: hellebores. I just loved the form of them, and their texture was unique in that it was papery. (Note: a little digging on the internet revealed this because what looks like petals are actually sepals.) We ended up seeing a lot of these throughout the trip in a number of  different shapes and colors.

Hellebore at Nike World Headquarters
Hellebore at Portland Rose Garden
More hellebores at Portland Rose Garden

We Floridians had a hard time resisting a few of the perks of spring in Northern climates -- fragrant lilacs and soft, feathery lawns.

Scratch and sniff

Real grass!

Our next stop was Berry Botanic Garden, which was a truly amazing place for a plant nerd like me. The gardens were originally the private estate of Rae Selling Berry, a plantswoman who collected rare plants from across the globe. After her death in 1976, a dedicated group of people banded together to form "The Friends of The Berry Botanic Garden" to purchase the estate and preserve the gardens. Sadly, financial woes are forcing the garden to close, so it's rather fortunate that we had the chance to see it. Such a shame, really. It's an amazing garden. (For some reason I can't find my pictures of their trough gardens, which were pretty cool.)

Dawn redwood at Berry Botanic Garden
These beautiful blue flowers are on striking three-foot tall stalks. We had seen them at Nike, as well. Our docent at Berry Botanic Garden told us that they're native bulb called Camassia, and that the Native Americans used to eat them.

Camassia at Berry Botanic Garden
And of course, there were tons of beautiful ferns including this lovely maidenhair fern.

Maidenhair fern on nurse log

Then we headed to Washington Park, International Rose Test Garden, and the Japanese Garden where we were set loose to pursue free-for-all, self-guided tours. I'd been to the Japanese Garden before on a previous trip, so Jason and I decided to poke around the rose garden and the park. Plus, it had been a full day and it seemed like it would be nice to just wander and relax.

Amphitheater in Washington Park
This is where I discovered another one of my other plant crushes -- these large shrubs that put off a wonderfully soft, sweet smell. At first I thought they might be a hydrangea of sorts, but it turns out they're a viburnum.

Viburnum in Washington Park
And here are some of the yet-to-be-blooming roses in the rose garden. I'm imagining what this would look and smell like come mid-summer. Amazing, I'm sure!

Rose garden

Well, that's about all the time I have for now. Here's one last shot from the Portland Rose garden. They actually had what looked like bananas and brugmansias in this garden, but they were pretty puny at this point in the spring and not at all worth taking a picture of. I promise that the next posts will feature more of the bold plant combinations that you've come to expect from Cannas and Bananas.

Sun dial in Shakespeare Garden in the Portland Rose Garden

1 comment:

Wicked Gardener said...

Beautiful! And yes, I love lilacs and real grass when I go up north!!