The Garden Conservancy and Hardy Plant Society of Oregon host area tour

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Mike and Linda Darcys garden on Prestwick Road in Lake Oswego is one stop on the upcoming Garden Conservancy and Hardy Plant Society of Oregon tour.Gardening enthusiasts have a rare opportunity to see the effects hard work and green thumbs can have on a garden during an upcoming tour.

Sponsored by the national Garden Conservancy and the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, the event offers a self-guided tour of five local gardens, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 29.

The gardens on the tour offer water features, views, extensive perennial beds, vegetable gardens, a Chilean garden, multilevel gardens and espaliered plants, and the gardeners have been working hard to prepare them for the event.

Visitors may begin the tour at any of these garden locations:

n The garden of Mike and Linda Darcy, 2311 Prestwick Road, Lake Oswego, which features many container plantings, a children’s garden and four water features.

n The garden of Robert G. and Mignon Ervin, located at 2240 Prestwick Road, Lake Oswego. This garden has an emphasis on urban food sourcing including aquaponics, chickens, beekeeping, a vineyard and views across Oswego Lake to Mount Hood.

n The garden of Bill and Charlene Tuttle, 5710 SW Childs Road, Lake Oswego, which features extensive perennial borders, a vegetable garden and a collection of fruit trees along the Tualatin River.

n The Bates garden, located at 11626 SW Military Lane in Portland. This park-like property with paths throughout has a hillside of native plants, a wisteria standard and a Chilean garden. This is a collector’s garden that has been developed for more than 70 years. It has many unusual and rarely seen plants and a hardy fuchsia collection.

n The Sherry Sheng garden, located at 5725 River St., West Linn, is a multilevel garden on the banks of the Willamette River, with water features and garden art.

n The Rogerson Clematis Collection Botanical Garden at Luscher Farm is also included on the tour. This 1.5-acre display garden showcases North America’s most complete collection of the genus clematis. It is located at 125 Rosemont Road in Lake Oswego.

Admission to each garden is $5, which supports the expansion of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program around the country and helps build awareness of the organization’s work of preserving exceptional American gardens such as the Chase Garden in Orting, Wash., and Salem’s Lord and Schryver Garden. Children age 12 and younger are admitted for free.

“The Garden Conservancy is a national organization that helps preserve notable gardens,” said Sue Bates, whose garden was first on the tour about 10 years ago.

She said each year the conservancy selects different areas to tour throughout the state and region.

Sheng’s garden is often on tours and was last on the Garden Conservancy tour in 2007.

“But it was totally a different garden then — same location, different garden,” she said. “In garden making people talk of what’s called borrowed views. In English gardens the borrowed view is pastoral.”

She explained that her borrowed view isn’t that pleasant so she is always redoing her garden, particularly the border. “Obviously a garden is a human-made package made to look natural. ... In creating something that appears natural, we are really painting a picture that is really largely imaginary.”

Overlooking the Willamette River, the garden is multileveled and includes water features and art. It is frequently visited by butterflies and hummingbirds.

Mike Darcy, who hosts the KXL radio show “In the Garden with Mike Darcy,” said he hopes people will take advantage of the tour.

“I would encourage people to visit the gardens,” he said, “because even if it is grandiose, you’ll pick up some tips that you can use. Gardeners are open and into sharing ideas and want to encourage others to garden. It’s one of our missions.”

To learn more about the tour or to purchase the 2013 Open Days Directory, a soft-cover book that includes detailed driving directions and vivid descriptions written by garden owners in the 18 states hosting Open Days tours, visit or call the Garden Conservancy at 1-888-842-2442. The cost is $21.95 including shipping.

A complete list of Open Days tours can be found on

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