Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Oregon Gardens in Silverton

If you enjoy gardens you are sure to love Oregon.  One of the most famous gardens in Oregon is called simply the Oregon Gardens, located in Silverton, a small town near Salem and less than an hour south of Portland. It's a popular weekend getaway. We traveled up that way recently and stayed at a lovely resort Bed and Breakfast in the Gardens, where we were free to walk and enjoy or take a shuttle with a guide to hear about the projects and various themes of plantings in the hundreds of acres  there.  We had a great dinner at the charming Creekside Cafe, in a former railway station in town, but there is a lovely view restaurant in the resort as well.  August may not be the best time of year for flowering in most places but it doesn't seem to have much impact here. It is gorgeous and many plan weddings and special events on the grounds. There is a children's garden, a fountain garden, an herbal garden, rose garden, area highlighting trees of Oregon, a model for fire-safe planting, and other demonstration areas.  You can easily find the Oregon Gardens and the Oregon Gardens Resort on the web.

The Gifts of July in Ashland

So much to do in southern Oregon there is little time to write.  Since pictures are worth a thousand words here are a few events we passed through in July. The big event every year here is the 4th of July, with a parade, band concerts, lots of park events, artists, food and fireworks.  It is an old-fashioned small town  4th, more accessible and personable than the big city events because you know lots of folks performing, and even work at something yourself -- in our case, the Lions Club bar-be-que chicken dinner. Everyone in town seems to be here, children wading in the creek after the long march, the mayor in the bandstand, booths for various clubs and causes.  Here are a few scenes from the 2 1/2 hour parade. The first is just one of three full truckloads of American Band College participants, instructors from around the country and the world, who gather this time of year at Oregon State University and play in the parade and at a concert at the high school before the fireworks.  They are fantastic!

Pictures from the band concert and fireworks, with flags from all the countries and states who send band teachers to this annual college program.

Harry Walters, trombone virtuso from Washington DC

Alpalcas seemed to be big this month and we attended an accordian and farm day event in Eagle Point where we learned more about alpalcas than we ever expected to know.  The little ones are adorable and the adults very curious about we strange human creatures staring at them. They are sheared once a year for their beautiful soft fur that makes beautiful shawls and blankets. They come from the Cameled family, same as Llamas, but are smaller and I've heard can be wonderful pets! 

A fund-raiser for the Medford Sight and Hearing Center was held at one of the many wineries that flourish in the Applegate, this one located just between Jacksonville and Central Point, and an active farm with its own beautiful alpalcas (I understand there are over 30 alpaca farmers in the region).
The event included great music, a silent auction and generous appetizers along with the opportunity to wine taste -- a typical fun evening in the country.