Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

What a delightful treasure this was, hidden in a residential neighborhood! I had never heard of Elk Rock garden and stumbled across it on Trip Advisor. This was once a private garden owned by Scotland native Peter Kerr, who moved to Portland in the 1888. It is located in the Dunthorpe neighborhood and overlooks the Wilamette River. 

Kerr, along with his brother, owned and operated a grain business. They both lived in a cottage on this property until his brother married and moved. Kerr lived in the cottage until 1916 when he and his wife built a larger home. The garden was designed by John Olmsted, who also created Central Park in New York. The property was donated to the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon in 1957 under the condition that it be open to the public.

The 13-acre garden features an array of shrubs and trees and a large collection of magnolias. Gravel pathways surround a central grassy area. An elevated pathway takes you around the perimeter of the property and up a hillside with spectacular views of the river. It is a very peaceful garden, a great place for meditation. There wasn't anyone there the entire time we were there, not even an attendant.


The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon


Two tired travelers!


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

8 comments:

  1. Looks very lush, and lovely fall colors!

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  2. So glad you got to visit--and that you found & enjoyed this free! gem.

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  3. Wow, what a place. It has great views and I love that bench with the wisteria (?) hanging over it. Great picture of the weary travelers.

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  4. Beautiful! Isn't it sad folks had rather go to a noisy amuzement park than a beautiful garden with history!

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  5. This is one of those places in Portland that I keep meaning to visit but haven't yet. Your gorgeous pictures are giving me even more reasons to see it!

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  6. There are some eye popping fall colors there. I love the views over the water.

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  7. So many great photos.

    I think my favorite is the one half-way down of the bench in deep shade. Do you know what plants are providing that shade?

    Nice finale photo of the two tired travelers. Hope you are both well-rested now and recovered from your adventures!

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  8. These, and all of your Portland photos, make me want to book a flight now!

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