HAMAMELIDACEAE, The Witch hazel family
New Year’s Eve
Finally I had the chance to see Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop’s Close. Anne is here visiting so the two of us went over this clear, cold afternoon to see something new. The 13-acre site is often described as an English style garden. It was started in 1916 by Peter Kerr, a businessman who settled in Portland in 1888.
The first thing we saw as we stepped out of the car was a ancient, tree-like wisteria sheltering a long Provence-blue bench in a recess of a ferny dry-stacked stone wall. The sign on the vine stated ‘Alba’, and already we agree we need to visit again.
We pause by an information kiosk and charming fountain, then took a back path through a wooded hillside, skirting mixed shrub beds. This led us out to ‘The Point,’ overlooking the placid brown Willamette. A strange current blew warm air up the side of the cliff, and made the viewpoint quite cozy. This part of the garden held native plants, especially Oregon white oak, Quercus garryana and Madrone, Arbutus menziesii.