Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Himalayan Cloud Forest Garden in Washington Park: A Collection of Species Rhododendron & Asian Companions

R. thayerianum has wonderful glossy narrow leaves with a prominent mid-rib. The leaves stand out in whorls to great effect!

R. thayerianum has wonderful glossy narrow leaves with a prominent mid-rib. The leaves stand out in whorls to great effect!

A few years ago the Washington Park crew started to joke about their new ‘Himalayan Cloud Forest Garden’ on the north slope of the Park above west Burnside. I was still working in the Downtown Parks and though not part of the project, was greatly excited by its creation. What began as an Ivy removal/ restoration project had quickly morphed into an idea for a species Rhododendron display garden (Or, perhaps, the idea came first!). Washington Park, minus the Zoo/ Arboretum acreage is about 160 acres. Much of the terrain is rough and undeveloped. For years, due to budget constraints, maintenance has been focused on the high use impact areas.   Neglected areas included the ‘Cloud Forest’ portion above the ‘Canyon Walk’ which follows the draw down to the old Stearn’s entrance on Burnside where it begins to carve its way through the trees. Over the years English Ivy built up to a smothering blanket. Other plants, like English Holly had reached mature size and were seeding in alarmingly. While on the crew myself, some years earlier, I spent many hours cutting, treating stumps and dragging the Holly trees off. That effort accelerated in recent years when the two staff ‘Rhody-philes’ began feeding off each other’s energy.

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Trip to Lan Su

And Now for Something Completely Different....(M.P.)

Lan Su Portland's Classical Chinese Garden - photo by Stephen Morgan

Lan Su – Portland’s Classical Chinese Garden – photo by Stephen Morgan

Rain spotting glasses

Wheels carving narrow arcs

Down wet pavement, hissing…

Between emptied houses

Over-arching trees, waking

Storefronts, hulking warehouses…

Drawn to the river, hot breakfast

With a friend. I warm

And dry quickly.

Rain drops spotting a quiet

Pattern across the pond

The cool wet February air

Stills the droplets hanging

From twig & petal capturing

Blossom’s scent in their

Tentative grasp drawing our

Attention…, holding it

Beneath a quiet leaden sky

Perfectly. The day pulls us ahead.