by: COURTESY OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY  -  n Lane County, Mount Pisgah Arboretum offers vistas of Oregon white oak, riverside trails and a water garden where you can often spot Western Pond turtles.With summer upon us, our thoughts naturally turn to the out-of-doors and places to enjoy the beauty of nature with friends and family. Many Oregon communities are graced with local arboretums that offer paths, trails, exercise and fresh air amidst a variety of botanical delights.

Whether enjoying a quiet walk or a lively game of “name-that-tree!” with friends or family, you're sure to come away with a renewed appreciation for plants, trees, flowers, shrubs and perennials and some great summer memories.

There are many such special places to choose from, and there's probably one located somewhere near you. Here's a brief rundown of just a few.

• Dunthorpe, Bishop’s Close/Garden at Elk Rock

The garden is 13 acres on a high bluff on the western bank of the Willamette River, with approximately six acres of cultivated English-style gardens designed by the firm Olmstead and Son, which also designed Central Park in New York City, and Lithia Park in Ashland. Contains many varieties of magnolias as well as outstanding examples of native and exotic plants.

Located about two miles north of Lake Oswego, at 11800 S.W. Military Lane.

• Portland, Columbia Children's Arboretum

Now managed by Portland Parks & Recreation, this area along the Columbia River northeast of Portland was originally developed by teachers, local children, volunteers and community support. A lovely pastoral landscape, it includes a garden, arboretum, orchard and a natural area. Located at 10040 N.E. 6th Drive.

by: COURTESY OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY - Enjoy a diverse collection of trees and plants - and 12 miles of hiking trails - at Portland's Hoyt Arboretum.•Portland, Hoyt Arboretum

Offers a diverse collection of more than 8,000 trees and plants in a park-like setting with 12 miles of hiking trails. The visitor center features palms, yuccas and evergreen oaks. Located just two miles from downtown Portland. 4000 S.W. Fairview Blvd., 503-865-8733.

• Salem, Capitol Arboretum

If you're in the Salem area, drop by the Capital grounds to visit dozens of varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers. Throughout the grounds are native trees and shrubs including blue spruce, Oregon-grape, giant sequoia, coast redwood, Japanese maple, dogwood species and more. 900 Court Street, Salem. 503-559-3391.

• Silverton, The Oregon Garden

The city of Silverton boasts the lovely Oregon Garden, with thousands of plants in more than 20 specialty gardens. Includes water features, wetlands, a conifer garden, the 400-year-old Signature Oak, a garden just for kids, and the Gordon House — the only house in Oregon designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Located at 879 W. Main St. Lots to see and do. For info: 503-874-8100.

• Eugene area, Mount Pisgah Arboretum

A 209-acre site; enjoy riverside trails, quiet paths through coniferous forests, wildflower meadows, a water garden and open views across savannas of Oregon white oak. Located inside the Howard Buford Recreation Area, Mt Pisgah Arboretum is a Lane County Park situated between the coast fork of the Willamette River and the slopes of Mount Pisgah. General information: 541-747-3817

• Lincoln City, Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy

If you're in the Lincoln City area, you likely already know about the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy, but if you're going to be visiting, you'll want to include a stop.

Just over an acre, the site has more than a hundred rhododendrons (species and hybrids), several species of dogwoods, magnolias, numerous spring flowering trees and a wide variety of blooming shrubs and perennials. At 1931 NW 33rd Street, Lincoln City.

Ashland, Lithia Park

The city of Ashland boasts Lithia Park, a 93-acre vista of colorful landscaping. The park follows Ashland Creek through undeveloped woodlands and also includes a Japanese garden, two duck ponds, a formal rose garden, groves of sycamore trees and a number of secluded spots. There's also a picnic area and a playground. Fun fact: In the 1800s there was a water-powered sawmill and a flour mill standing on the banks of Ashland Creek. In downtown Ashland. For more info: 541-488-5340.

• Coos Bay, Shore Acres State Park

Perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the ocean, this park was once the grand estate of pioneer timber baron Louis Simpson. It features lushly planted gardens with plants and flowers from all over the world, a pond and two outstanding rose gardens. Oregon's largest Monterey Pine — designated a Heritage Tree — is located in the east garden. Colored lights and decorations are up from Thanksgiving through New Years; wheel chairs available.

About 13 miles southwest of Coos Bay, off US Highway 101. For info: 541-888-2472.

• Corvallis, Cloverland Park Small Tree Arboretum

Trees selected for their relatively small mature size and aesthetic attributes; designed to help select trees for sites with limited space, like patios, side yards and under power lines. At the corner of Arthur Ave and 29th Street.

• Echo

The small town of Echo in northeast Oregon is a Tree City USA and Oregon's smallest Tree City. If you're in the area stop and visit the Oregon Trail Arboretum. It features more than 100 ornamental trees and shrubs. Located at 801 E. Gerone St. For info: 541-376-8411.

Cynthia Orlando has a degree in forest management and is a certified arborist with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

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