This is the first of my informal illustrated reports on the Society visit and meeting to Portland, Oregon, USA in 2019. As usual, a full set of articles by members of the group will be published in the next journal, Clematis International 2020. To those of you who came along, I hope it will bring back happy memories. To others, perhaps it will encourage you to join us on a future year. The last time the Society visited Portland was in 2010. Fiona and I flew to Seattle and then travelled down to Portland by train, a very relaxing and comfortable journey. The meeting was based at the same location as in 2010, University Place Hotel, which is easily reached by the very efficient and remarkably inexpensive public transport system, the MAX Light Rail. University Place itself had changed alot since our previous visit, with more comfortable rooms, a bar and other facilities.
University Place Hotel, Portland
University Place Hotel Entrance, Portland
We arrived one day early so took the opportunity on Sunday morning, before most other people arrived, to visit the Portland Japanese Garden and the Portland International Rose Test Garden, located to the west of Portland and easily reached by public transport. The weather was sunny and hot, not so bad in the Japanese Garden with a reasonable amount of shade, but quite fierce in the Rose Garden.
MAX Light Rail - Orange line stop, opposite University Place Hotel
Portland Japanese Garden
The Flat Garden
Zig-Zag Bridge in Strolling Pond Garden, Lower Pond
Zig-Zag Bridge in Strolling Pond Garden, Lower Pond
Sand and Stone Garden
Portland International Rose Test GardenVery popular, even on a hot afternoon. They grow around 10,000 roses, mainly in rows but then it is a Trial Ground. The roses (with the proviso that it had been exceptionally hot the previous week) were pretty spectacular and I'm sure any rose enthusiast would be delighted. Personally I would have preferred a few more roses used in typical garden settings, growing with and through other plants. But as I have already said, it is a Rose Trial Ground.
Welcome Evening at University Place HotelAs people arrived during the afternoon, it was great to catch up with them all. This continued in the bar prior to the welcome dinner in an adjoining room at University Place. We used University Place Hotel when the Society visited in 2010. As well as the improvements carried out, making it much more comfortable and providing more facilities, the neighbourhood had changed. Previously it had seems quite a barren area, empty lots and few facilities within easy walking distance. Now it was built up, with other university building, apartments, a couple of supermarkets within walking distance, a number of food stops and cafes. A group of us tried one, I think we were at least double the age of their normal clientel, but they were very friendly and the food was excellent.
A convivial first evening
Ainsworth House and GardenNext day and our first visit of the event was to Ainsworth House and Garden, an old farnhouse in the Greek Revival style, now owned by Bud Bowen and Kevin Yell. It has become one, if not the, wedding venue in the area and even as we walked into the grounds, it's not hard to see why. The gardens are beautifully kept, with lots of colour and more than 90 clematis. It also has many areas just crying out to be used as backgrounds for romantic photographs. The weather was sunny and warm (in fact quite hot by midday), good for a visit, a bit too bright and contrasty for the best of photos, but one has to try. We were welcomed to Ainsworth by Bud Bowen, the clematis enthusiast. He's also keen on ornate and elaborate bird boxes, of which there were many. Jeff Jabco gave a presentation on the latest status of the Clematis Trials before conducted across a number of different locations in the USA. We had visited some of them during our meeting and conference in Georgia and Pennsylvania in 2014 and you can read more in the reports of that meeting. After that we were free to wander where we wished, with the proviso that we should not go underneath a very limb of a tree which had split a day or so ago and was to be taken down later this day. There were a number of places set out for us to enjoy a lovely buffet lunch. After lunch we returned to Portland, a free afternoon to enjoy the city.
One of many ornate bird boxes
Bud Bowen with Jeff Jabco and Linda Beutler
House in Greek Revival style
Clematis florida var florida 'Sieboldiana' in a secluded corner
Romantic and photogenic arch with Clematis
'Rouge Cardinal' leading to a formal garden
The tree limb bent down to the ground
Metal and glass sculpture in flower bed
Combo of pink roses and blue clematis
C. 'Fond Memories'
Lan Su Chinese GardenAn early start took us to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, an oasis of calm in the middle of the busy city of Portland. We were quite privileged to have a orivate opening - no one else around - and very knowledgeble staff and guide to hand to explain the symbolism and significance of both the design and the execution of the garden. Fiona and I have visited before but it's a pleasure ever time, always finding something new that we had not noticed previously.
Entrance to the garden
Hall of Brocade Clouds
Doorway with view
View across lake to pavilion
Moon Locking Pavilion
Listening to our guide
Interior of the
One of many large and graceful Koi
Argyle Garden and WineryAfter our visit to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, we returned to University Place Hotel for the Constitutional General Meeting of the Society, followed by lunch. Then it was time to board our coach again and head for the Argyle Garden and Winery. It was a very hot afternoon and were pleased to be ushered in to the Tasting House, much cooler than outside, for a short introduction followed by a very welcome tasting accompanied by tasty nibbles. We were then introduced to Sean Hogan, Argyle garden designer. He talked a little about the principles behind the garden before leading us outside for a tour of the garden.
Argyle Garden and Winery
Setting up for our tasting
Introduction to the garden from designer, Sean Hogan
Time for a tour of the garden
Tasting House in the centre of the garden
Grasses and shrubs in the garden
Argyle also have a restaurant
Grasses waving in the breeze
Interesting triangular flowerbed
View back to the Tasting House
Group photo at Aygyle
Red Ridge Farms/Durant Olive Mill & VineyardsAn Olive Oil Tasting - quite a new and unique experience for many of our group. We were given an introduction to the farm and mill, then taken to a room already set up for our tasting. Each of the four oils we tasted had a unique taste, quite different to the others. In the end there was no outright "winner", different oils were preferred by different people.
My next report will cover two nurseries, three gardens and a farm shop/garden centre where we had a piece of their home-baked fruit pie and some of us sampled their ciders.
Durant Olive Oils
Our Olive Oil Tasting
View from Red Ridge, with Mount Hood just visible in centre frame
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