The Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The manor house at Bishop's Close 

This February and again in April, I visited the Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close, which was once a private residence but is now owned by the Episcopal church who keeps the garden open to the public year-round. Originally created in 1906 by Scottish businessman Peter Kerr (with the house being sited by John Olmsted) the estate sits on the Willamette River and has a beautiful view of Mt Hood. The garden is a mix of natural woodland trails, manicured lawns, and gardens within gardens such as the  Asian-inspired pond and monastic knot garden.

The Parterre
As per tradition the enclosed knot garden is sited close to the house for quiet reflection.

The pond at Elk Rock Garden 
The pond area has a graceful wedding cake tree which was just leafing out and there were quite a few magnificent rhododendrons.
Elk Rock Garden in February

It was a different garden in February and one I think I may have enjoyed even more. I loved seeing the structure of the trees and shrubs--the grounds had the quiet meditative quality of Winter. 

Noticing how much my own garden changes from week to week makes me want to visit my favorite public gardens at different times throughout the year. There is always something new to see.


  1. Isn't it though? I can't wait to go back to see it once it's in its full-blown Summer glory.

  2. on your recommendation, we visited the gardens yesterday. the views were astonishing! and we even came home with a few plants we saw on the grounds.

  3. That's terrific--I'm so glad you liked it! Pretty great setting, isn't it? And I'm jealous of your new plants--I noticed they had a sale coming up when I was there but I missed it. Next year!


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