Tulips, peonies and irises galore
In the Salem and Mid-Willamette Valley area, you’ll find an abundance of gardens to visit. From rich roses to hardy hostas, many local growers not only showcase their plants for sale but have also created awe-inspiring display gardens that draw visitors from far and wide.
Bush’s Pasture Park
Bush’s Pasture Park is a 90-acre oasis of fruiting and flowering trees, native plants, a formal rose garden and majestic oaks near downtown Salem. The gardens, part of a Victorian farmstead established by pioneer businessman Asahel Bush II, include an 1878 Italianate mansion and a conservatory built in 1882 – the second oldest in the West!
Adelman Peony Gardens
Looking for peonies? Between late April and mid-June, you’ll encounter 500 different peony varieties at Adelman Peony Gardens in Salem. Stroll through 25 acres of fields while experiencing a kaleidoscope of colors and the varying smells of peonies.
Martha Springer Botanical Garden at Willamette University
Sometimes referred to as Salem’s secret garden, the Martha Springer Botanical Garden is located on the campus of Willamette University and offers a quiet place for contemplation and reflection. Opened in 1988 in honor of Professor Martha Springer, the one-acre garden contains 12 smaller gardens, including a butterfly garden, herb garden and alpine rock garden, nestled along a creek. The campus also offers a Japanese Zen garden.
Schreiner’s Iris Gardens
From deep black to pure white, Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, located just north of Salem, features more than 500 varieties of irises and countless companion plants. Take a walk through 10 acres of display gardens, where thousands of irises will be in bloom this May.
Brooks Gardens, in Brooks, Oregon, also offers the chance to see flowers in bloom. Explore three acres of iris gardens or wander into the peony fields, where more than 100 varieties of peonies bloom. Pick out fresh-cut flowers or a potted plant to take home. The gardens open in May for bloom season.
Located in Salem, Sebright Gardens offers more than 900 varieties of hostas and 150 varieties of ferns and other shade-loving plants. Wander through the four-acre display garden and then select the perfect additions for your yard or patio. The garden is open April through October.
Right next to Sebright Gardens, you’ll find the Mid-America Garden – a beautiful iris nursery. Open from April to October, the garden features hundreds of iris variations.
Cecil & Molly Smith Garden
Started by the garden’s namesake in the 1940s in St. Paul, Oregon, the Cecil & Molly Smith Garden has blossomed into an internationally-known garden with more than 600 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas. The pathways of the garden lead visitors through the varieties, which are complemented by wildflowers, bulbs and trees. The garden welcomes visitors on select Saturdays and Sundays in April and May.
The Lord-Schryver Firm, founded in 1929 by Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver, was the first female-owned landscape design firm in the Northwest. Gaiety Hollow served as Lord and Schryver’s office, garden and home and is considered the masterpiece of their work. The gardens, which boast seasonal floral displays, are maintained by the Lord and Schryver Conservancy and are open to the public on select days throughout the year.
Historic Deepwood Gardens
Roses and other fair flowers can be found at Historic Deepwood Gardens, a five-acre English-style garden surrounding Historic Deepwood Estate in Salem. Created by the Lord-Schryver Firm in 1930, the garden has covered arches and gazebos, ornamental gates and fences and a nature trail that weaves its way through the western border of the property.
Delbert Hunter Arboretum and Botanical Garden
The Mid-Willamette Valley is home to several breathtaking botanical gardens. One you’ll definitely want to visit is the Delbert Hunter Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Dallas. You’ll find perennials, conifers, oaks, wetland species and even dryland desert plants, thanks to the varied terrain contained within the arboretum.
No garden tour is complete without a trip to the area’s shining showpiece, the Oregon Garden. The 80-acre botanical wonderland, located in Silverton, Oregon, features 20 specialty gardens, a hobbit house, water features and more. Well-behaved pets on leashes are welcome at the garden and a trolley takes visitors on guided tours daily from April to October.
Tucked away in Independence, Oregon, the Inspiration Garden at Mt. Fir Park boasts nearly two dozen different gardens. The seven-acre park has a children’s garden, bamboo garden and medicinal plant garden. Originally part of the Mt. Fir Lumber Mill, the park is now a tranquil location to immerse yourself in the outdoors and learn about different plants.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, located in Woodburn, Oregon, is home to one of two major tulip festivals in the Pacific Northwest. From late March to early May, farm visitors are greeted by a sea of brightly-colored tulips arranged on 40 acres of land. Enjoy expansive views of vineyards and nearby mountains while participating in a range of activities for all ages, including wine tasting, duck races and wagon rides. The festival is even open to well-behaved dogs on leashes!
Dancing Oaks Nursery and Gardens
Although Dancing Oaks is a nursery, it is embedded in a gorgeous display garden in Dallas, Oregon. Open March through October, the garden is home to hundreds of plant specimens. After touring the garden and nursery, enjoy a picnic on the large covered patio.
Cherry Blossoms at the Oregon State Capitol
Technically, this is not a garden, it’s an Oregon State Park. But the cherry blossom trees at the Oregon State Capitol State Park are a must-visit in the spring. Lining the edges of the park, the blooming trees flaunt brilliant shades of pink, with rows of daffodils and other flowering plants complementing them. Usually blooming in late March or early April, the blooms only last a few weeks.
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