Oregon Art Beat

The Oregon Garden, A Labyrinth Of Botanical Wonders And Creative Expression

By Jacob Pander (OPB)
Oct. 20, 2017 7:30 p.m.

The Oregon Garden is located just outside the small town of Silverton, Oregon.


The ambitious 80-acre garden is home to more than twenty individual gardens, cultivated and created in a variety of styles. From classic English and formal French gardens, as seen in the Silverton Market Garden and the Axis Garden, to the Conifer Garden, planted in a more natural aesthetic, with Asian influences. Those influences have resulted in a flowing design with curved trails and careful rock placement under expressive conifer trees.

“One wonderful thing about the Oregon Garden is that we, as horticulturists, and our volunteers, we get to have quite a bit of sway as far as where we want to go with a certain aesthetic," Ty Boland, the garden's horticulture manager, said. "The garden is alive and it’s always changing. It’s fun to be a part of that process.”

The patterned turf of the Axis Garden seen from the air.

The patterned turf of the Axis Garden seen from the air.

Aerial Video - Morrisey Video Productions

Art also plays an important role in the garden, which is home to a growing permanent sculpture collection.  The garden hosts works from all over the region, including art by Charles Kelly, Jacob Sorenson and a striking central sculpture created by sculptor Lee Kelly.


Kelly's "Lupine Fugue," a duel metal structure fabricated in gleaming stainless steel, is the most central and visible piece in the garden, taking its design inspiration from the lupine flower.

"Stainless steel does amazing things with light," Kelly said of the structure's surface. "And if you have different facets set in different ways, as the light travels through the day you'll get a different array. It won't always be the same." Along with their permanent collection, the garden hosts an annual exhibition, Art in the Garden, inviting artists to submit proposals for work that can be displayed in outdoors from July through September.

Kelly's "Lupine Fugue" metal sculpture is highlighted by the passing light.

Kelly's "Lupine Fugue" metal sculpture is highlighted by the passing light.


This year’s exhibition features eight artists. Here are just some of the artist's highlighted in this story:

  • Judy Kunkle's glass on glass mosaic floral designs created in found window frames can be seen in the Silverton Market Garden.
  • Jenny Ellsworth's industrial metal sculptures, fabricated with found objects to look like plants, blend seamlessly with the grass and reeds throughout the Amazing Water Garden.
  • Ryan Everson's bonsai inspired miniature trees sculpted out of fine copper wire can almost be missed under the trees in the Conifer Garden but draw you into their intricate detail once they catch your eye underfoot.
  • Lauren Wingert's glass-blown flowers line the colorful planted entry pathway captivating guests as they arrive in the Oregon Garden.

Other artists included this year are Tyler Brumfield, Mike Leckie, Shawn Peterson and Jayne Smoley.

The Oregon Garden is a public garden with numerous events throughout each season of the year, including the upcoming Christmas in the Garden (Nov. 24 to Dec. 21). This European-inspired holiday gathering features ice skating, an artisan vendor market, a walk through over 600,000 Christmas lights, photos with Santa, fire pits and live music.

And while you’re there enjoy the year-round permanent art collection.