Tuesday was our sunny day this week, so Grandpa Nelson and I drove south to this lovely garden. It is settled in a low spot between Reed College, which is up on a hill southeast of Portland, and Eastmoreland Golf Course, which is closer to the Willamette River.
The Rhododendron Garden is on property that is so close to Reed College that the students there used to perform Shakespeare plays by the creek that runs through it. They called it Shakespeare Island.
Mr. William S. Ladd (former mayor and land developer) was the original owner of the property in the 1800s calling it Crystal Springs Farm. In 1950, the city began to develop it as a rhododendron test garden. What is interesting is that even before that, “rhodies” were being planted there. The oldest one still living was planted in 1917!
Waterfalls, lakes and ponds were improved on, paths and facilities built, and over 2,500 rhododendron and azalea, and companion bushes were planted on the nine and a half acre Piece of land.
We enjoyed the sounds of small waterfalls and small children, overly- excited geese and ducks, and the peace that washed over us when everything was still, soft, and sunny.
As we sat in the sun with a long view across the pond, past pink trees to evergreens, Grandpa said, “This may be the prettiest place in Portland.” And, in a city as nice as this one, that’s saying something.
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