A Grand Finale for the Portland Fling

So this is the last post I’m going to do about the Garden Bloggers’ Fling held in Portland last summer. Fittingly, it is about the garden that hosted the event’s closing reception.

Entering Bella Madrona.
Entering Bella Madrona.

This was held at Bella Madrona, a five acre garden on the outskirts of Portland. The garden has been lovingly created over more than three decades by two retired physicians, Jim Sampson and Geoff Beasley.

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Lots of delicious reds in the border that starts at the entrance gate.
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Nice urn.
lk
Another border featuring swaths of Helenium and Yuccas in containers lifted high on columns.

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Bella Madrona is a garden of many faces. It has borders mixing annuals and perennials, all exhibiting bold colors.

This arch looks like a good fit for a CS Lewis story.
This arch looks like a good fit for a CS Lewis story.
Another arch, another path.
Another arch, another path.

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It’s also a garden of paths, mostly gravel, cunningly designed so as to almost always disappear around mysterious bends.

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This looks like a good bench for Rip Van Winkle to snooze on.
This looks like a good bench for Rip Van Winkle to snooze on.

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I like the window cut into the hedge.
I like the window cut into the hedge.

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And all those paths lead to many niches and nooks, areas to sit and chat or just contemplate the view.

Nice little pond with waterlilies and koi.
Nice little pond with waterlilies and koi.
A babbling brook.
A babbling brook. I like that grass.
Interesting fountain.
Interesting fountain.

There were water features, of course.

I really like this snake made from a bicycle chain.
I really like this snake made from a bicycle chain.
Some skulls for a touch of the macabre.
Some skulls for a touch of the macabre.
Not sure what this is supposed to be - cattails? But I do like stuff made from old metal.
Not sure what this is supposed to be – cattails? But I do like stuff made from old metal.
There was a whole little garden devoted to gnomes, but Judy didn't get a chance to take many pictures in there.
There was a whole little garden devoted to gnomes, but Judy didn’t get a chance to take many pictures in there.

And lots of garden art – some macabre, some playful.

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And I can’t forget the ducks. Why is it that urban chickens have become kind of fashionable, but not ducks? All in all, I’d say ducks are cuter. Much harder to cook, though.

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Bella Madrona is frequently made available for fundraising events and weddings. It certainly provided a marvelous setting for the Fling’s closing reception. In fact, people stayed far longer than the allotted time.

It’s a bit sad to write this last post about the Portland Fling. On the other hand, I’m glad to have finished before my memory of these gardens fades any further. And now I can look forward to the 2015 Fling in Toronto.

42 Comments on “A Grand Finale for the Portland Fling

  1. Oh….I just loved this one, probably my favourite. Sighs….imagine having five acres!
    I am besotted by those arches and paths and simply loved the garden decor….what a clever idea for a bike chain, hubs may not have one on his bike tomorrow!xxx

    • I know … five acres … what joy that would be! Don’t let your spouse ride that bike if you’ve removed the chain – could be dangerous!

  2. That’s what a garden looks like after a generation of love and care. Wow. So many moods, so much going on. How big is the area I wonder.

  3. Beautiful garden. I like the arches and the columnar trees very much.They give the garden an extra dimension.

  4. Could you imagine having 5 acres!!?!?! This is so amazing! They really did a fantastic job creating all of those spaces throughout their garden and yet it feels completely unified! Thanks for sharing this series Jason! I have gotten so much inspiration through these gardens! Wish I could go to Toronto…maybe when the beans are bigger! Have a great weekend! Nicole

    • No doubt you will travel more when your kids are older. And yes, I can imagine having five acres – it would be a dream come true. Of course, I’d have to quit my job…

  5. Lovely garden. I especially like the pathways meandering to so many seating areas. The columns the arches and the columnar trees are a nice touch that give a strong element of verticality, rather than just being used as a traditional punctuation mark at the end of a path or to frame a vista….it’s an interesting twist.

    • I do like the arches, I’d like to have a few more in my garden. The seating areas are also nice, makes me think of investing in some benches for home.

  6. This looks like a garden you could get lost in, physically and lost in thought too. I bet it’s a full-time job keeping it looking so lovely. Somehow it’s formal and informal at the same time. I like it. 🙂

  7. It has been delightful to stroll through these warm looking, beautiful spaces this winter. Thank you and your talented wife for transporting this nearly frozen garden admirer to warmer climes. I have seen many flashes of inspiration in these gardens.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this, Jason. I left early on Sunday to spend some time with my daughter on our last full day in Portland and had to miss this garden. From your photos and others I’ve seen, I certainly wish I had stuck around to see Bella Madrona!

    • You certainly would have enjoyed it – but family is more important. Maybe next time you are visiting in Portland you will get to go ther.e

  9. That looks like a real well tended garden that’s also got a bunch of fun spots to it. I guess now that you’re through your Portland pictures it’s time for spring to come!

  10. Lovely Bella Madrona garden and it’s enough large Jason. I liked the chairs, benches and water features like water lilies and fishes.

  11. It looks like a great place for entertaining. And what an awesome arch! The fling sounds like it was so much fun!

  12. Hey, that’s me! This was one of my favorite gardens. :o) I just loved how ungardened it seemed, as if everything had just sprouted on its own, including all the art. It was the perfect way to end the Fling.

  13. I love a garden that can provide a variety of cozy and interesting spots to sit, admire, rest, read… supplying the perfect setting for every mood. This garden does that nicely.

  14. Hello Jason, Bella Madrona looks like a truly stunning garden, from the pictures, it has such an established feel, as though it and its mysteries are timeless. The scattered art is amusing and eclectic and the planting is incredible. Overall, this garden has “atmosphere” deeply engrained within it.

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