The Oregonian recently had an article about the Berry Botanical Garden. The Garden, located in Dunthorpe, a few miles out of Portland, harbors rare plants collected for almost a hundred years. It is a botanical treasure of the region. Because of financial exigencies, it will be closing down soon, giving its rare seed collection to Portland State. The land, 6 acres of high value property in a high-end suburb, will probably be sold. So before it closed, we took a trip out to see it. It’s not easy to find, and it’s open by appointment only, but the staffers are friendly and, I suspect, very protective of their treasures. The garden was the work of Rae Selling Berry (1881- 1976.) She was a plant collector, scouring the Oregon mountains for rare rhododendrons, primula, and alpine plants that were in danger of going extinct. When she died, a non-profit foundation bought the estate, but now must close it down.
Wikipedia has a fine article on the Garden and Rae Selling Berry’s collections, as well as a couple of good photos, so I won’t rehearse that here. But I’m always astonished to find that in the midst of urban traffic and clutter, there exist havens of douglas furs, spring fed ravines, and lovingly maintained, wild and definitely exciting gardens. The Berry is one of those.
First it was a sunny day. In January. This in itself is noteworthy.
Second, there were flowers in bloom: anemones, Viburnum, and witch hazel:
As a kid from hill country in Pennsylvania, seeing flowers bloom in January is more amazing to me than seeing than aliens. And much pleasanter. More on the Berry Botanical Garden in the next post. –June