I love this somewhat secret garden more than any other green spot in Portland. Most tourists and many locals don’t stumble upon Elk Rock Gardens of Bishops Close because it’s not located centrally, but it’s well worth a visit.
It’s arguably the oldest private garden in the Pacific Northwest, developed by Scottish businessman Peter Kerr back in the 1890s. It was opened to the public in 1959 after Peter Kerr’s death, when the property was given to the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon. Today, visitors can drop by for free and enjoy the greenery and blooms.
The thirteen-acre estate is full of blooming shrubs, rare tree species, trails, ponds and rock arrangements. Plants are in bloom year round, but for an explosion of colors drop by in the spring or summer. Folks with green thumbs will recognize unusual native and non-native plants, and everyone can enjoy the beautiful designs of this mature garden.
The property is located at 11800 SW Military Lane in Portland, and is open daily from 8 a.m. - 5.p.m. Parking is limited, but the secrecy of the location seems to keep visitation levels low. Leashed pets are allowed, but no sunbathing, games or professional photography is permitted on the grounds.