Adventure #4 – Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden & Lessons in Avian Health

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Although I enjoy my natural “wild” areas, I also really love city parks. Stumbling upon Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden was such a treat for me in a day that was packed with appointments and informational interviews. I had two hours between items on my calendar, when I typed “city park” into my trusty smart phone, and noticed I was only two miles from this lush sanctuary. So, I decided to check it out!

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To make the occasion extra awesome, I happened to be there on a Wednesday- Free admittance on Tuesdays and Wednesdays!                                                                                                                    

The Price Scoop:

Between March 1st and Labor Day, there is an admission charge of $4.00         Free Admission for children 12 and under and members of the American Rhododendron Society

The Hours Scoop:

Open from Dawn to Dusk daily

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I will let the photos tell the story – this place is absolutely gorgeous. Located in the Eastmoreland neighborhood (SE Portland), the garden is home to 2000+ species of Rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and related plants, covering approximately five acres.

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The rhododendrons are in bloom fr0m earlyMarch through the middle of June. The peak bloom period coincides with Mother’s Day in May.  – Source

In addition to the plant life, the park has so many birds! My heart was singing as I kept spotting new species-and you don’t need binoculars to get a great view. Several species of waterfowl make their home here, including Wood Ducks, American Wigeons, Buffleheads, American Coots, Pied-Billed Grebes, and of course Mallards and Canada Goose (among others).

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The garden does a fairly good job reminding visitors:

DON’T FEED THE BIRDS!

I have so many childhood memories of feeding birds in the park (albeit great memories), but I come from a generation where that was normal practice. It doesn’t take too much thought to realize that bread (especially white bread most people purchase for the park feedings), is not food for wildlife. In fact, it can make animals very sick. A sign in the park reads as follows:

“Nature has provided wildlife with both the physical means and the instinctive behavior needed for survival. Naturally occurring food sources provide a healthy diet for wildlife…Bread and food scraps are poor sources of protein for wildlife. Feeding leftover foods also discourages natural foraging habits, degrades water quality, and favors a relatively limited number of species.”

Want to learn more about artificially feeding birds? This is a great article written by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

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Crystal Springs Lake (shown above), at nearly 8-acres, was created by a small dam installed as part of the Eastmoreland Golf Course (bordering the garden) in 1917. Crystal Springs creek and lake are fed by the largest system of springs in the Portland-Vancouver region – 13 springs supply approximately 6,000 gallons of water per minute throughout the year.

Rodie Lake

If one is looking for a beautiful wedding spot, this place delivers. It won’t be a unique idea however, a lot of weddings take place here June-September. There is a beautiful open field in the far end of the garden (the geese like it as well).

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The original owner of the property, William S. Ladd, served two terms as the mayor of Portland in the 1800s – he called it Crystal Springs Farm. The oldest rhododendron in the current garden was planted prior to 1917.  Source

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LOCATION                                    SE 28th and Woodstock                                                                                            Located between Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course

If you are interested in making a day-long adventure in the SE Portland neighborhoods, you can also incorporate Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, only a mile or so from Crystal Springs. Visit my last post for more info on the refuge.

For an online brochure of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, click HERE.

For a map of the Garden, click HERE.

For additional info, click HERE.

A Few More Photos For Your Enjoyment!

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2 responses to “Adventure #4 – Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden & Lessons in Avian Health

  1. Pingback: Adventure #3- Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge & Historic Sellwood | Environmental Communications

  2. Pingback: Adventure #5 – Exploring Powell Butte (Waaaaay East Portland) | Environmental Communications

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