Oregon’s “Secret” Garden

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Every once in a while those “spur of the moment” ideas pan out pretty well. Like The Oregon Garden. We visited there recently. On a fluke.

Located about 20 miles east of Salem in the little town of Silverton, The Oregon Garden is easy to miss. Don’t. Because I’ve been to downtown Salem. Ditto the Capitol Building. If you haven’t visited either, you haven’t missed a blessed thing. The Oregon Garden, however, is another story. We just happened to see the sign on the highway on the way back from a hiking excursion.

Opened in 1999, the garden’s 80 acres include a variety of plant species and habitats and the only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oregon. The grounds are bursting with color, fountains, fragrance, trails, and over a dozen themed botanical gardens. These include fuchsia, conifer, rose, water, sensory,  Northwest, “Lewis & Clark” and “Best of the West” gardens. Also garden art, wetlands, a rediscovery forest, and a kids’ garden.

The spacious grounds also feature a “secret garden.” It’s not on the map. But if you’re familiar with Frances Hodgson Burnett – I read the book twice – you can find it.

We only had a couple hours. And it was ninety degrees out. But you can easily spend a day roaming the garden’s gently rolling hills, carefully manicured lawns, oak grove, Rediscovery Forest (15 acres), and walking trails. There’s also a Tropical House and an amphitheater. If you’re not up for walking, take the tram. It’s free.

Other stand-outs include the Silverton Market Garden and the Pet-Friendly Gardens. Almost 150 different agricultural products are grown in the former, including berries, grapes, grass seed and hops. A beautiful, serene place to spend an hour or two. Or a couple months.

The Pet-Friendly Garden showcases plants that are friendly and those that are toxic to animals. Also two statues of beloved pets: Max the yellow Lab and a collie, “Bobbie the Wonder Dog.” Sweet!

No time to visit The Oregon Garden? Don’t worry. You can wander through here. I won’t even charge admission:

879 W. Main Street, Silverton, Oregon. Open seven days a week, 365 days a year. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (60+). Directions.

Tell a friend.