Covering 187 acres of Portland’s West Hills, Hoyt Arboretum is a living museum where joggers, dog walkers, lovers, strollers, photographers and, first and foremost, tree lovers can immerse themselves in nature any day of the year.
Sunday brought a break in the weather, so people were out in force. The parking lot was full and cars were parked all along Fairview Blvd. Still, with 12 miles of trails, it never felt crowded.
The visitors’ center is not open on Sunday, but there are pamphlets available with maps, etc., and a large informational board showing which trails offer the optimum experience season by season. For autumn, the Maple Trail is recommended, but first we had a look around the entry plantings. It always seems a little odd to me to see zonal denial plants like palms and agaves in public spaces (like the train station, much as I like the plantings), but the arboretum proper features trees from all over the world, so I guess the patchwork in the entry makes a certain amount of sense.
This rocky berm might have slipped right by me had not Loree posted about crevice gardens a while back. I don’t know if this can go by that name because those had plants tucked in here and there. This one is all rocks.
Several large planters break up the space.
When one of the pots sports an unusual plant like this Pseudopanax ferox…
there is detailed signage to tell all about it.
The same system held elsewhere: ordinary stuff went unidentified, but anything out of the ordinary was well documented.
On our way to the Maple Trail, we passed through an area planted entirely with natives, but I was saving my sputtering battery for the colors of autumn.
The color was slightly more intense, but this is pretty close.
The long views were splendid, and with well-placed paths and rolling hills there was a new vista around every turn.
See what I mean?
Parts of the landscape were enveloped in pockets of fog.
This little family was capturing memories backed by the flaming foliage of sumac.
Since the arboretum was established in 1928, there are many magnificent old trees with signage affixed to their trunks. More recent additions, like this paperbark maple, are marked by small stone pillars bearing pertinent information.
OK, so some helpful graffiti artist took exception to the Acer griseum designation (did you notice the “not a” scratched onto the sign?), but one look at this peeling bark should be enough to set him/her straight.
Here’s the leaf of the above tree. Color, leaf shape, interesting bark: all have me convinced that this is one to hunt down for the R&R Ranch.
And while I’m in the market for more red, how about the color of those leaves recently fallen from Acer pseudosieboldianum var. tatsiense?
And here is the tree itself. As you can see, we decided on this outing in the nick of time to catch the tail end of the color show. There are plenty of other reasons to visit the arboretum in all seasons and all kinds of weather. Next trip: evergreens, or maybe just a brisk walk unencumbered by camera. If you happen to come away with a wish list, a good place to start your search would be Plant Lust. I usually just carry around my desiderata, waiting for one of my coveted beauties to show up. This particular tree seems to deserve a more concerted effort on my part.