I was completely shocked to see the destruction at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden last week when I visited with my oldest son. My whole family has enjoyed this park so much since we moved to Portland two years ago. It’s still one of my favorite places to be even though we have now visited so many beautiful places here. It’s just that special. Our plan is always the same when we plan to visit the garden. First we go to Berry Good Produce because they sell duck food and peanuts for the squirrels. Often we pick up local veggies too, or plants during the spring. Then we happily head off to the garden, a familiar place in every season. We know every turn, every nook, and don’t even mind the mean old geese following us around. There are good memories every time!
But recently during the big snow storm here and the ice that followed, I never thought that the rhododendron gardens would be touched. I guess I really took its beauty for granted, maybe because it always seemed so effortless and natural. So when we first walked down the steps during our visit the other day, and we saw the first tree that fell over the stairs, I had no idea of the sad news to come. The beautiful weeping willow tree near the bridge, which is in every popular photo of the gardens, was broken and on the ground. My heart stopped! And that wasn’t the end of it. As we kept crawling over branches on our way to feed the ducks and squirrels, we saw more and more branches and ruined trees on the ground.
Everyone I passed traded sad looks with me immediately and we all talked, in shock together. This garden is truly loved by so many! I wanted to make a post to remember the beautiful photos I have taken there of my family and friends. It’s still such a beautiful place and I will be donating to them this year to hope they can recover from this winter we had, which I am so glad is over. Onward to spring and beautiful growth!