Photo courtesy of OregonGardenGal
Listing last updated on 03 Dec 2023.
Mill City, Oregon
USDA Zone: 8a (10 to 15 F / -12.2 to -9.5 C)
Almost 7 years ago we moved here and embarked upon changing unmanaged pasture into the garden of our dreams. This is an ongoing project and one that brings us much joy.
Our home is situated in the beautiful Pacific Northwest's Cascade Mountain foothills, alongside the Santiam River. The soil is a sandy alluvial loam. Drainage is very good, but additional humus is really needed and is a priority. We compost most everything from the yards coupled with manure from the cattle that graze our pastures. Once composted it is added to the planting beds and has been a major benefit for the soil.
There are several garden areas surrounding our home, each with its own 'style' of plantings.
* The front yard (about 2 acres facing the river) is semi-heavily wooded of native Fir and Vine Maple with lawn in the shaded areas below. We've inter-planted several deciduous trees (varieties of japanese maple, birch, redbud etc.). Under the shaded canopy we've added many rhododendron, azalea, hosta and shade-loving perennial plants, groundcover and spring blooming bulbs.
* Our western side is semi shaded from the trees mentioned above but does receive hot afternoon sun during the summer. A difficult area to plant as in winter-spring little sun reaches the area, yet in summer the baking sun freely reigns. We've put in a mixture of plants to see what thrives vs. survives (or worse). The only roses which seem to do well are an Iceberg 'patio' rose and one unnamed yellow shrub rose. Most Hosta fry as do the regular shade plants, yet there just isn't enough sun for the sun lovers. But it seems we have arrived at a happy medium using hydrangea, spirea, clematis, dianthus, phlox, hardy geranium and dead nettle.
* In the east is a 100' x 100' garden filled with herbs, veggies, thornless blackberry, raspberry, vintage strawberries etc. We built a 12x24' unheated greenhouse placed in the center and the front area is my cutting garden where roses, lilies and assorted flowers are raised both to enjoy strolling amongst as well as for bouquets for indoors.
* The back yard has required the most work. A large area (abt 150' x 250') divided into lawn and multiple gardens. Once the walkways and retainer walls were built it was time for the fun part – planting! Formerly grassland pasture, it was treeless. First order was to plant lots of trees and shrubs to anchor the garden areas, then smaller plants. The plantings are very diverse; vintage and newly patented varieties are happily co-existing side by side. We've constructed several 'garden art' features placed here and there. We’ve made a round (20' diameter) sitting area/room in the upper garden topped by a 'gazebo' of sorts made of rebar. This structure is a trellis for clematis which create the 'walls' for this garden room.
Some think our gardens are complete, but we know that will never happen as long as we can still muscle a wheelbarrow and shovel. Gardens and gardeners are always in a state of metamorphosis and we are just pleased to be a part of the process.