While Portland’s nickname is the City of Roses, it’s also a fantastic place to see an incredible variety of rhododendrons. It’s quite possible that the general inability to spell “rhododendron” meant that it would never have worked out as a city nickname, but the fact remains that there are rhody plants all over the city. To see the best of the bunch, however, head to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in SE Portland.
What was begun as a rhododendron test garden (similar to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park) in 1950 is now a general botanical garden with more than just rhodies throughout its nearly 10 acres. The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden contains more than 2,500 species of rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants which thrive in this area, as well as pretty landscaping features typical of botanical gardens, like waterfalls, little bridges and meandering pathways. The garden is a popular setting for weddings, as well as wedding portraits.
To see the rhododendrons at the height of their blooming season, visit the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden anytime from early spring through the summer. The garden is home to several events throughout the year, including the “Early Show” to see the rhodies which bloom first. This takes place on the first Saturday in April. Mother’s Day weekend is also a popular time to visit the garden.
Hours: Apr 1 through Sep 30, 06:00-22:00; Oct 1 through Mar 31, 06:00-18:00
Admission: Labor Day through February, admission is free; during the rest of the year, admission is $3 between 10:00-18:00, Thursday-Monday (children under 12 are free)
How to Get There: From the Portland Parks website, “The garden is located on SE 28 Avenue, one block north of Woodstock, between Eastmoreland Golf Course and Reed College. Or take TriMet bus #19 Woodstock. This bus takes alternating routes as it goes through Eastmoreland; ask the driver for the stop nearest the Garden.”
More Information: Portland Parks website for Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is here