Nestled between Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course is an urban oasis called Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. On the 9-acre property grows a collection of rare species and hybrid rhododendrons, azaleas, shrubs, companion plants and unusual trees. The garden blends water and land as winding paths take you along the banks of Crystal Springs Lake to see the incredible blooms and foliage.
If you’re looking for a picturesque outing within the city limits, plan a visit to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
The property was once owned by William S. Ladd, a Portland mayor in the 1850s and also the developer of Ladd’s Addition where you can still spot the many diamond-shaped rose gardens. He originally called the property Crystal Springs Farm.
By the mid-1900s, the property was overgrown and in need of a transformation. It was officially established as a garden in 1950 when the cultivation that made Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden the internationally-recognized garden it is today.
More than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas and companion plants are found in the garden. The oldest rhododendron in the current garden was planted before 1917. The plants harmoniously thrive beneath the understory of large, old growth trees.
The variety of plants and trees make this garden a great place to visit year-round. From April through May, the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom bringing incredible beauty and color to the garden.
The garden features three waterfalls, two picturesque bridges, a large fountain in Crystal Springs Lake, and many winding paths through the plants and trees. There are also many benches were you can sit and take in the view.
The 9 acres is also a habitat for wildlife. More than 90 species of birds are spotted at the garden. When I visited, I saw bald eagles, a red-tailed hawk, and lots of ducks and geese. In the spring, you’ll see ducklings and goslings swimming with their parents in the water. Along with birds, mammals also find refuge at the garden, including coyote, beaver, muskrat, and river otters.
This attraction is open to everyone. You’ll see people of all ages and abilities enjoying the outdoor spaces. Routes through the park are accessible by wheelchair. Dogs are also welcome.
Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the gate. Children 10 and under get in for free. The best day to visit is Monday when admission fees are waived for visitors.
Admission proceeds pay for garden maintenance and enhancements.
If you end up falling in love with this botanical oasis, you can buy an annual pass. Prices start at $40.
Hours and Location
The garden is open every day. Hours are 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. all days except Wednesdays when the garden is open 1-3 p.m.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is at 5801 SE 28th Ave. in Portland. Parking is limited. For more information, visit the garden website.
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