Garden Photo of the Day

Erla and George’s Garden in Oregon—Day 1

Field of meadow foam and iris beds. Photos: courtesy of Erla and George Richards

Happy Monday, everyone! Let’s spend the next two days in Oregon, In Erla and George Richards’ garden. Erla says, “My husband, George, and I live on a small farm near Independence, Oregon. Our home backs up to an oak woods on a hill overlooking the Willamette Valley. We are in our 80s and do our own yard work with occasional help from grandsons when needed.

Purple crocuses contrasting with spring moss on an oak tree. 

The curving flower beds circle the house at the edges of the lawn, so as not to block our view. Other than my 90-some iris, which are mostly in raised beds, foliage is my passion more than flowers. I love the neatness and restfulness of the varied green colors and patterns of broadleaf and needled evergreens. And our yard still looks full through the winter season.”

Hellebores, daffodils, and primroses showing off their colors. 

Beautiful, Erla! The red rhody, the VIEW, the irises…it’s all dreamy. —We focusd on spring today. Tomorrow we’ll see phots from late spring and summer. Stay tuned!

Rufus hummingbird enjoying pink currant. 

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Rhododendron ‘Racemosum’, Viburnum davidii, bergenia, bird’s nest spruce, Pacific NW sword fern. 
Bird garden. Tsuga diversifolia, osmanthus, golden euonymus, bergenia, and salal.  
Red rhododendron, Oregon grape, and dwarf Alberta spruce. 
Woodland garden. Azalea and wood hyacinth. 
Our back yard 
Mother planted this rhody about 30 year ago. I do keep it pruned so I can reach to deadhead it. 
Spring brightener ‘Diane’ witch hazel (Hamamelis X intermedia ‘Diane’, Zones 5-9), taken in January. 
View from our deck looking east across valley fields at Mt. Jefferson.  

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  1. flowerladydi 03/31/2014

    Good morning Eria and George!
    Your farm/yard is so charming! I LOVE the views you have, how fabulous to look out at not only the mountains, but the vast serene farm land and woodlands!,,, so soothing and serene! Your Rhodies are fabulous! The white one from your Mother is incredible,,,, and the red is awesome! Love the pics of the crocus and tree moss,,,so fresh and pure! And love the views of your backyard with all your great hosta,ferns, bergenia! I think I see some viburnum and an awesome purple beech too! Shade is so calming. You both have done a fabulous job,, and it is evident how much you enjoy it! Thank you for sending!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/31/2014

    Hi, Eria and George, your farm certainly sits on a gorgeous piece of property with breathtaking views. It must be tempting to want to be outside from sunrise to sunset...either working amongst the beauty you have created yourselves or that offered up by Mother Nature. I was particularly drawn to the picture of the old wagon wheel keeping company with the beautiful pinkish red azalea and the blue wood hyacinth...a lovely composition.
    I loved reading that you are in your 80's and still going strong...I hope to be so blessed!

  3. wGardens 03/31/2014

    Lovely! I especially like your collection of iris with the beautiful view beyond. Also, the rhodies are great as is all your plantings. Sure like that moss-covered curving tree trunk, and what a view of Mt Jefferson! And what a fabulous rock in front of that stately sword fern! Thank you for sharing! Looking forward to tomorrow's post as well.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/31/2014

    Oops, sorry for popping back in so soon but I wanted to ask, how long have you lived on your beautiful property?

  5. tractor1 03/31/2014

    Erla & George, you have fabulous views, I love wide open properties. And all the plantings are spectacular especially those gorgeous rhododendrons. Are those your sheep... a lot of spinning and knitting there! It's wonderful that you are still able to tend all that property. I only question how do you keep the deer from feasting on your plants, are they fenced or are there none? Now I can hardly wait to see more tomorrow. Thank you.

  6. sheila_schultz 03/31/2014

    Your gardens are simply beautiful Erla and George... and the views are magnificent. Thank you for letting us take a peek into your lives!

  7. wildthyme 03/31/2014

    Erla and George, your garden is indeed calm and serene with the vast green vistas punctuated by the splashes of color from the rhododendrons (gorgeous red!) and irises. Thank for for this peaceful beginning to the week this morning!

  8. greengenes 03/31/2014

    Good day to all, Spring is in the air for sure! And in these pictures, too! Thanks Erla and George for sharing with us. What a beautiful place you have. It seems you have both wooded and open spaces. How great is that! Iam so happy for you both to still be able to get out there and enjoy playing in the dirt! I sure hope I will still be digging around when iam your age! People tell me that if I don't slow down now, digging around here, that I might not be able to later in life. I think I will take my chances with that. Its a lot of fun creating and being amongst the dirt and plants and birds and trees. Well I certainly enjoy seeing your red currant and the witch hazel. All the wild currants are blooming around here, now. All your spaces are beautiful! I love the irises, too. I planted some last summer so iam really looking forward to seeing their blooms this year. Well many blessings of good health and happy days to you both! Thanks again!

  9. GrannyMay 03/31/2014

    What a beautiful place to live and garden in! Erla and George I love the way that you have created your gardens to enhance but not block those lovely views of mountain, pond, forest and rolling farmland. The rhododendrons and azaleas are stunning pops of brightness in the restful combinations of greens and the iris bed is gorgeous!

    I think, except for the hostas, most of your garden plants would be left alone by the deer, which would likely just graze with the sheep. I too wonder how long you have lived there, whether you work the farmland, and how large it is. Am looking forward to tomorrow's photos. Thank you!

  10. wittyone 03/31/2014

    Wow, I'm ready for day two already. Your plants are beautiful and look so healthy and full. I can see why you didn't want to block your view-------it's gorgeous. It's so good to hear that people can continue to garden into their 80's and take care of most everything themselves. I think It's a self fulfilling prophecy if you, at some point begin to think, "Oh, I'm just getting too old to do this or that." then suddenly you are too old. You might have to slow down but you have to keep moving.

  11. GrannyCC 03/31/2014

    What a wonderful Spring garden. It is so nice that you are able to keep going and garden in your 80's. Something to strive for.
    Love how you have kept your view. The rhododendrons are so lush and full and the Iris are amazing.
    Looking forward to more.

  12. GracePeterson 03/31/2014

    We're practically neighbors, Erla & George. I live in north Albany. Your gardens are beautiful. I hope I'm as active and vibrant when I'm in my 80s.

  13. annek 03/31/2014

    What soothing and calming photos of your spectacular garden. You are an impressive couple to so successfully maintain such a large gardening area. Thank goodness for helpful grandchildren!

    Your Rhodies and azaleas are spectacular and I studied the photo with the wagon wheel for 10 minutes. Simply charming!

    Also wanted to give a 'high five' to both Jeff for his fine 'Southeast Regional Picks' article in Fine Gardening and to Sheila for her beautiful 'container-design' winning submission. Two of my favorite GPOD-ers!

  14. Meelianthus 03/31/2014

    Hello Erla & George ~ What a beautiful area you live in and your gardens are wonderful. I can just imagine how peaceful it must be out there with all of the green, beautiful colors popping in all over, and your incredible views. And I agree with 'wittyone', gardening keeps you young and alive. Your have done an amazing job. Thank you.

  15. debrees 03/31/2014

    Just lovely! I fell in love with your pink currant, but found it won't work in zone 5. For a second there I got all excited.

    And, of course, your view couldn't be any better.

    I too, hope I can have a garden half as wonderful in my 80s.

  16. erla 03/31/2014

    I will try and answer all the questions. We have 62 acres. We used to run cattle and horses but at our age "been there, done that!". We now lease the land for grass seed and haylage. The sheep are not ours but in the field next to us heading down the valley. We don't have deer problems I believe due to having Rottweilers reside here for years. We now have a smaller rescue dog, but still have not been bothered. That is right, we have a purple beech which has been planted in the past few years to replace a huge oak that went down in an ice storm. We have lived on the property for 45 years but placed our new home on the hill 15 years ago. Thank you for all your nice comments. Erla

  17. thegardenlady 04/01/2014

    What views!!! Many beautiful photos, but I have to say the one with the purple crocuses and the emerald moss is particularly beautiful. Great hummingbird shot too. Beautiful gardens and so wise to concentrate more on foliage. Erla and George, you inspire me!

  18. erla 04/02/2014

    I wanted to send a note to the person who made the comment about the current. Mine is a Ribes sanguineum and most places I check give the zone starting at 5, so you should give it a try. Good luck.

  19. User avater
    simplesue 02/10/2021

    So beautiful!

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