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The first weekend in April is our Early Show with several hundred trusses of early blooming rhododendrons. There is an even larger display on Mother's Day weekend. For more info, call 503-771-8386.
Volunteers from the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, the Friends of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, and the Master Gardeners program care for the grounds and are responsible for all education programs and special events. Regular volunteer work parties take place every Wednesday, February through November. There are also volunteer days on selected Saturdays. New volunteers are always welcome. To learn more about volunteering or Garden Tours, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-823-5121.
Groups of 15 or more visitors
Please contact our garden manager one week in advance so we can prepare the garden for your visit. Email email@example.com.
Friends of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
The Friends, an auxiliary of the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, is dedicated to maintaining Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden as a year-round place of great beauty. Friends enjoy free admission for themselves and one guest. Membership applications are available at the gate, or call 503-771-8386.
This internationally recognized garden is a beautiful place to host your wedding May through September. A spring-fed lake surrounds much of the garden, attracting countless waterfowl which nest and feed in this natural habitat. In summer, trees, shrubs, and perennials add an abundance color.
Size in acres
William S. Ladd, who served two terms as the mayor of Portland in the 1800s, was the original owner of the property. He called it Crystal Springs Farm. The oldest rhododendron in the current garden was planted prior to 1917.
The development of a display and test garden was initiated in 1950 by the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. Sam Jackson, owner of the Oregon Journal, had donated 27 acres on Terwilliger Blvd for the garden, but the site was deemed unsuitable because of its steep terrain. Claude I. Sersanous, one of the group assigned to select a new site, suggested the garden's present location near Reed College. Referred to as Shakespeare Island by Reed College students because of the Shakespearean plays that had been performed there, it was abandoned and overgrown with brush and blackberries. Through the efforts of Portland Chapter members and other volunteers, and with the support of Park Superintendent C.P. Keyser, the garden flourished. The first rhododendron show was held in 1956, and the garden was officially named Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in 1964.
Originally, the garden was developed as a test garden, which meant that new rhododendrons could be evaluated over a period of several years. Lack of security and adequate protection made this impractical and the concept was dropped. The original garden, on what is now called the Island, was designed by Ruth Hansen, a landscape architect and Portland Chapter member. The portion of the garden known as the Peninsula was designed by Wallace K. Huntington, a well-known Portland landscape architect, and was dedicated in 1977. The rocks used to build the waterfalls and other features were gathered from Mt Hood and Mt Adams.
The more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants in the garden have all been donated by volunteers and interested individuals, or purchased with specially donated funds. Beginning in early spring and continuing into summer, they provide a magnificent display of color, giving visitors the opportunity to view many varieties rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest. During the fall, many companion trees add dramatic coloring. Spring-fed Crystal Springs Lake surrounds much of the garden, attracting many species of birds and waterfowl.