I love having out of town guests visit because it gives me an opportunity to explore my home town with new eyes.
I typically take visitors up to the International Rose test garden in spring to check out the rhododendrons.
But, they were pretty closed up the weekend before, so I didn't want to risk disappointment.
A friend suggested that we check out the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in SE Portland which I had driven by for years without knowing that it was there - what a pleasant surprise!
My Aunt Joanie and I packed a picnic lunch and headed over to check it out. We were amazed by the variety of rhododendrons and azaleas to be sure, but the way that the other plants created interplay and contrast with them was a sight to see.
Lighter and darker primroses planted at the base of a rhododendron mirrored the color combination of the shrub's blossoms.
Wild, native yellow violets danced in the dappled shade (sadly, not pictured).
I love how the bright colors of these azaleas contrasted with the maple behind them.
With almost 9.5 acres, there is sure to be something interesting to gaze at through out the year. And, I think that it may be my new, in-town hot weather escape for kicking back with a good book in the shade.