The Cecil & Molly Smith Garden

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The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's Open Gardens is now in full swing and is a wonderful opportunity to see some great gardens in the area. Every weekend through mid-October, private gardens and some nursery gardens are open. I saw a lot of the gardens two years ago after moving here but did not go to many last year. This year, I hope to catch up on some of those that I have missed as well as new ones on the list for the first time.

A garden that I have really wanted to see is the Cecil & Molly Smith Garden in St. Paul, Oregon. The Smiths are no longer with us and the garden is owned and maintained by the Portland chapter of the American Rhododendron Society


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Cecil Smith had a passion for rhododendrons and he was fortunate to live in an area where they flourish. The Smiths built their house in 1951 on a north-facing hillside. Their windows overlooked the slope which were developed into a spectacular woodland garden filled with rhododendrons.


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Today, many of the rhododendrons are massive specimens. Winding pathways meander through a lush valley of rhododendrons, wildflowers and ferns.


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Some of the rhododendrons were labeled but many were not. The white one above was particularly stunning.


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One of my favorites was this pink beauty. I could not find a name on it. 

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'Eddie's White Wonder' dogwood with Rhododendron augustinii in the background. I purchased one of these rhododendrons while I was there!

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Rhododendron 'Ken Janeck'



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'Seaview Sunset'

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A neighbor was burning brush which was a bit unpleasant but it did provide some dramatic lighting for photos.

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The Cecil & Molly Smith Garden is open to the general public on weekends in April and May. The admission price is $3. It is well worth the drive to St. Paul. There are also a great number of fantastic nurseries in the area. Plan a day for it!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Comments

  1. You certainly saw this garden at the perfect time. So lush and colorful. I can see why you would want many of these Rhodies.

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  2. Such a beautiful and natural-looking garden. What a pleasure to wander among these gorgeous specimens, a special legacy the Smiths have left.

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  3. It looks like a wonderful place to visit and it's definitely the right time of year for it, although it's quite wonderful at any season. That last photo was very appealing: I like the contrast of the delicate pink bloom with the dark, coarse-looking leaf.

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  4. Beautiful! Thanks for the tour.

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