The Pacific Northwest is a sprawling landscape of stunning mountains, picturesque beaches and spacious parks. With so much natural beauty to behold, it makes sense that Oregon also has many fantastic botanical gardens. We created a list, in no particular order, of the top 10, so you can plan your next visit.
The criteria for this list of the best botanical gardens in Oregon includes having a high volume of reviews on Yelp and Google, with a majority of those reviews being overwhelmingly positive. The locations must also provide educational programs, unique plant collections and have a reputation for providing excellent customer care to visitors. All 10 featured here certainly qualify. We hope you enjoy perusing our list, and don’t forget to vote for the one you think is best!
Lan Su Chinese Garden
With a name that translates so poetically to “Garden of Awakening Orchids,” it’s no wonder Lan Su Chinese Garden is such a popular stop for horticulture enthusiasts. The city of Portland collaborated with its sister city, Suzhou, to create a garden that seamlessly blends art, design and nature. Its unique collection of plants, shrubs and perennials is also a great way for visitors to preview plant life native to a foreign land.
“Always a treat, Lan Su is a peaceful place in the city. Love the garden and walk through to the tea house. I’ve been at least a half dozen times and really enjoy it.”—Debbie L. on Yelp.
The Oregon Garden
Oregon’s eponymous garden is filled with attractions for visitors to experience, including two dozen distinct areas that feature a variety of flowers and serene landscapes. Dogs are allowed on a leash, plus there are gardens specifically for children. Educational programs teach children about the importance of preservation and how habitats grow.
“This place is a must! The walk around the gardens is very easy going and they are pretty wheelchair accessible as well.”—Mikhail H. on Yelp.
Shore Acres State Park
Located near the beaches of the Pacific Ocean, Shore Acres State Park adds excellent views as the backdrop for the botanical landscapes. There are more than 8,000 tulips alone, along with thousands of other plants that thrive in the area’s mild climate. The plethora of hiking trails, picnic tables and even tidepools make this garden a feast for all the senses.
“The gardens alone are stunning. The real gem is to stroll through the collection of roses in the back behind the Japanese Garden.”—M. S. on Yelp.
Leach Botanical Garden
With a keen focus on flowers local to Oregon, Leach Botanical Garden is a compact yet stunning place, perfect for those who appreciate bright blooms. There is a lot more to do than enjoy the local plant life too. The extensive library has resources to educate anyone with an interest in gardening, botany or horticulture, and those who visit leave with a greater appreciation for the environment.
“As a frequent visitor of Leach Botanical Gardens and the Manor house I can say that this is a hidden gem in our city! The garden is peaceful and quiet.”—Sarah R. on Yelp.
Bush’s Pasture Park
While Bush’s Pasture Park may have a lot of activities for visitors, the main attraction is certainly the rose garden, with approximately 2,000 roses! It is considered a historic site, and also has a fascinating museum, where visitors can learn about the site’s owner and tour his former house. Built in the 1880s, the home includes a conservatory that is said to be the first greenhouse west of the Mississippi River.
“Indescribably perfect and serene. My singular, most favorite area of Salem. Heaven on Earth.”—Jana C. on Yelp.
Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy
Free to the public every day of the year, the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy is all about appreciating the simple beauty of flowers. It’s also a rhododendron lover’s dream, as the woman for whom the garden is named had quite the affinity for them. Though the site has literally hundreds of them, there is also a diverse collection of other flowers too. Many of the plant varieties featured are also sold in the gift shop, so guests can take a piece of the garden home with them.
“We were in town on vacation and came across this gem. It is a beautiful space. This is a must see.”—Katie S. on Yelp.
A museum of living collections, Hoyt Arboretum is host to a well-rounded garden that features over 2,000 species of plants, 63 of which are on the endangered or globally vulnerable list. This devotion to conservation, as well as education and research is what sets this garden apart from the rest. Hoyt Arboretum doesn’t just care about having the most aesthetically pleasing space, but also the preservation of precious plants and flowers.
“I come here all the time, for work (I’m a photographer), and for pleasure. One of my favorite spots in the state, hands down. Beautiful and has something new to offer every season.”—Leahana B. on Yelp.
International Rose Test Garden
Dedicated to the introduction of exceptional roses, the International Rose Test Garden is one of only 24 official testing sites for the All-America Rose Selections. It overlooks downtown Portland and the Willamette River, so there is certainly more to view than just the roses. Popular for its unique varieties, storied history and the other gardens contained within, travelers to the City of Roses should put this attraction at the top of their list.
“A must see for anyone visiting the Portland area during blooming season. It’s a beautiful place to spend some time and see/smell all the different varieties.”—Leighanna K. on Yelp.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Named for the creek that flows alongside it, the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a 10-acre sprawl featuring some of the brightest and most beautiful plants and flowers in the state. There are more than 2,500 species of plants, not to mention fountains, unpaved paths and wildlife. This garden is truly a treat that all visitors will enjoy.
“Gorgeous sprawling rhododendron gardens, complete with a duck pond, a lake with a bridge and you can even take your dog.”—Dawn P. on Yelp.
Schreiner’s Iris Gardens
If you love iris flowers, there is certainly no better place to be. For 90 years, Schreiner’s Iris Gardens has been the main reason Oregon is the largest grower of irises in the U.S. Guests will encounter a surprising number of iris colors and varieties here, among other flower types. Planning to visit the 10-acre display garden? Schreiner’s is a working flower farm, so it’s only open to visitors during the bloom season, which typically begins in May.
“The garden was well organized and really lovely to walk through. I can’t recommend them enough and I’ve ordered iris bulbs from them for this summer!”—Tiffany T. on Yelp.
Think we missed a garden? Let us know your thoughts on on Facebook. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite botanical garden in the poll below.
Header image courtesy Sharon Mollerus.