Portland: Old Germantown Gardens

After visiting Cistus and Joy Creek Nurseries, we on the recent Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland were off to a private garden on Old Germantown Road (hey bus driver, the "Old" part of that name is actually quite important!)

A hillside garden of about two acres contains just about everything you could want in a garden, and the hosts supplemented that with fresh-baked cookies and ice-cold refreshments. I believe we were only here for an hour, but I could have stayed for several more and still be discovering things! (And not only because of the cookies!)


I broke my "walk around first, photograph later" rule in this garden, knowing that our time was relatively short and the terrain would make it difficult to backtrack. So the photos started right at the edge of the driveway. 

I must find out what plant produces blooms that unwind like this as they open:

Somebody told me while in the garden, but I don't remember now. Help!   Edit: Inula hookeri

I didn't take many wide shots of the garden at this time, as I was captivated by the details...

...I took several more after I got into the house and out on the deck toward the end of this post, but you can see what wonderful views have been created. The placement of just the right tree (like the red-leaved one above) can take a view from really nice to AMAZING.

A few of the details I saw as I worked my way down the hill to the pond that I was told was at the bottom:

Like most of the other creatures that inhabit a garden, I'm drawn to water, especially if it's moving. The long fabricated-but-so-natural stream in this place led me right down to the pond, where I was treated to...

Newts! I would so love to have newts in my pond, as I don't think I've ever seen wild ones before. So special!

Speaking of special:

A red dragonfly! I knew that they had this species out here in the Portland area as I've seen blog posts about them before, but seeing one in person was exciting!

After the pond I moved into the shady woodland garden where it was cooler, more quiet. 

You know that I can't resist ferns!

It really was a forest back here, offering solitude and escape from the dazzle of the upper garden:

Even here though there were details placed by the gardeners, both manmade...

...and natural. Something that says "this is not wild, it is a garden":

The woodland path looped around and made its way up to the back of the house, past the fairly young bamboo planting...

...and giving you a view of the back. Wow.

Click or open in new window for full-sized version

At the top of the steps was a patio with a fountain and of course, a great view back down the hill:

Oh, and a really nice greenhouse too:

The views from up at the house were incredible:

Such a variety of trees, providing so much color and texture! I bet it looks fantastic even in the middle of winter.

Moving a bit to the left in the previous photo gives another fabulous view:

But then going out onto the south-facing deck (I believe) you see the part of the garden where we entered, from such a vantage point!

And then back on the ground, out the front of the house:

I didn't mention the one drawback to a hillside garden: the long, uphill climb to the buses waiting at the street. You'd certainly get a workout tending to this garden every day!

A really amazing , vibrant, diverse, and alive garden. I'm so thankful to the owners for letting us visit!

Believe it or not, there was one more stop on this day's tour...


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scottweberpdx  – (July 22, 2014 at 9:30 AM)  

So glad you liked it, Alan! I think the first flower you show is Inula.

Mark and Gaz  – (July 22, 2014 at 10:05 AM)  

I did look at the pond but somehow I missed out spotting the newts!

Rock rose  – (July 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM)  

I like your rule. However, as you say, unless you have all the time in the world it is hard to follow. What a lovely garden and so much of interest. Great shot of the newt showing off his best swimming technique. I love the greenhouse. I would say the perfect climate for one. I had to wait until I got to Texas where it is worse than useless. I was hoping your would name the red dragon fly. I saw one in our garden the other day.

Alan  – (July 22, 2014 at 12:52 PM)  

Jenny: Red dragonfly maybe Crocothemis servilia, or Dythemis maya, or Orthemis discolor.

Steve Lau  – (July 22, 2014 at 9:20 PM)  

It looks like phyllostachys dulcis there

Alan  – (July 22, 2014 at 9:58 PM)  

Steve: it may have been Vivax. That's a popular species in Portland it seems, and they had another planting of Ph. vivax 'Huangwenzhu Inversa' in this area. Plus dulcis leaves are a bit bigger, aren't they?

danger garden  – (July 23, 2014 at 12:35 AM)  

Great photos Alan! I missed this garden when we were pretouring and qualifying the gardens last summer so I was super excited to see it. Sadly I had to zoom thru this time so Scott and I could get back to the hotel and set up for the dinner event, no newt spotting for me. Your photos had me feeling like I was visiting again at a slower pace, thank you!

http://whatsitgarden.blogspot.com  – (July 23, 2014 at 8:46 AM)  

I think that yellow flower is one of the Inulas , My I. Orientalis from Joy Creek is blooming away. I'm enjoying all these Flings post , thank you...

Alan  – (July 23, 2014 at 1:17 PM)  

Scott and Linda: Yes, it appears that Inula hookeri is the species. Thanks!

Heather  – (July 24, 2014 at 12:45 AM)  

Wonderful post--Bruce and Jerry are going to love reading it. Did you hear that they do all the work themselves? Every bucket of gravel was hauled down by them. They are amazing.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 27, 2014 at 1:22 PM)  

What amazed me more than anything is that Bruce and Jerry, the homeowners, not only created the garden themselves, they continue to maintain it without help. That is a major undertaking when gardening on such a large scale!

Pam/Digging  – (August 2, 2014 at 11:04 PM)  

Cool shot of the newts swimming. I didn't see those myself. Yes, this was a truly incredible garden, especially as it was created and is maintained by just two individuals -- who are apparently always busy making cookies.

Hoover Boo  – (August 3, 2014 at 2:03 AM)  

Excellent photos, both close up and panoramic. Wasn't that Inula photogenic? I was looking far more than clicking.

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