Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

About the Garden

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HISTORY

Named for W.S. Ladd's "Crystal Springs Farm," Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden has more than 2000 species and hybrid rhododendrons and azaleas, as well as magnolias and related plants growing in garden arrangements. The Garden covers approximately five acres in the Eastmoreland neighborhood of southeast Portland.

The Garden was established in 1950 by special ordinance from the City of Portland, to be jointly maintained and administered by the Portland Parks and Recreation Department and the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society as a test area for rhododendrons, azaleas, and ericacious plants.

The first planting started in October of 1950 with the transplanting of three hybrid Cynthia rhododendrons which were donated and came from the home of Mr. C. P. Keyser, Superintendent of Parks. These rhododendrons were approximately 40 years old when they were moved. They can be seen today surrounding the dedication plaque.

The aims of the test garden were to test rhododendron and azaleas subject to the rules of the American Rhododendron Society, to grant awards to worthy varieties, and to acquaint the public with all kinds of rhododendron, thus serving as an educational as well as scientific project.

TODAY

While no longer used for testing, today the Garden offers extraordinary vistas of mature rhododendrons and companion plants. Surrounded almost completely by water, in a grove of towering trees and featuring three spectacular waterfalls and a high fountain, the site provides a beautiful backdrop for the many weddings held here. The Garden is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.

The Garden is also the site of two flower shows and plant sales conducted by the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. The Early Show usually occurs on the first weekend in April, although conflicts with Easter can shift the date by a week. The Mothers' Day Show occurs on the second weekend in May. All profits from the sales go to support the Garden.

The garden paths were redesigned in the first decade of this millenium to bring the park into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Routes through the park are now accessible by wheelchair.

The entrance through the gatehouse leads to a high arched bridge with views of several landscaped waterfalls. Other parts of the Garden contain other waterfalls. A second bridge crosses Crystal Springs Lake to the far portion of the Garden where the Exhibition Hall is located.

The rhododendrons are in bloom from early March through the middle of June. The period of peak bloom coincides roughly with Mothers' Day in May.