Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More from the Portland Waterfront

We’ve walked south from yesterday’s location, along a boardwalk-style retail/restaurant row, and past a marina. I think of this part of the waterfront as The Strand Park, as the condo/restaurant complex located next to the park is The Strand, designed by my (former) employer Ankrom Moisan Architects, but the park is actually called South Waterfront Park. I remember first walking through this park on a visit to Portland with my mother, years before I moved here. I loved the multiple layers of grass and the patterns that they created. I don’t think many Portlanders actually spend time in this park. When I’ve been I only see people biking through on their way to somewhere else, or homeless people spending a few minutes relaxing in a deserted peaceful place. The park is a wonderful grid of walkways and ponds within a sea of grass. I remember hearing once that Walker Macy, the Landscape Architects that designed the park, used the undulating grass forms to mirror the waves of the river. The repetitive grass plantings run down the bank to the rivers edge and include paths that allow for river access. The bridge in the background (below) is the Marquam Bridge, I-5 as it crosses over the Willamette through downtown Portland.
Andrew would probably rather I wasn’t sharing this picture with the world but it shows the mix of hard-scape and grasses well. Plus I get to show off Lila; Andrew was trying to get her interested in the fish in the pond, but no luck.
They planted a lot of Sea Oats. They look so graceful here, I am starting to rethink the plant that I currently have in a pot, and it may need to go into the ground again.
This is perhaps the healthiest Euphorbia I have ever seen. I wish mine looked like this.
This bloom looks like a Witch Hazel but I thought they bloomed in the winter months, before the tree leafs out. What gives?


  1. Okay, I officially need to walk along that section of the waterfront - soon. I have enjoyed it at other times of the year, but now the plantings look like they are in a state of perfection. Thanks for the attractive reminder!

    Your "witch hazel" is actually Loropetalum chinensis, also called Chinese fringe flower. I have one in a pot waiting for a place that has more shade than where it was originally located in the garden.

  2. As beautiful as I remember it...and now I know where I must go on the next sunny free day.

  3. Hi DG~~ When I read the title of your post, my heart rate took a leap. Oh goodie, MORE!! Jane beat me to it, Loropetalum chinensis. You realy should look into getting yourself one of these beauties. One of my Faves! I think I could kill for oat grass. Up until this year I assumed it was a tender and avoided it [even though I have three Pennisetum rubrum, go figure] but knowing it's hardy, I'll be looking for it. Never mind that I don't have anywhere to plant it.

    Beautiful gardens. The expanse of grasses juxtaposed with the hardscape walk is perfect.

  4. If you like that shrub, check out a Chinese Fringe Tree. They look very similar, but with lime green leaves and beautiful white blooms in the spring.
    Um, also, I've lived in Pdx for over ten years and I cannot believe that I've never heard of or been to this garden/park! I mean--I've certainly heard of South Waterfront (cause who in Pdx hasn't?) but I had no IDEA there was such a beautiful garden there. And with koi too? Clearly I need to get out more! It's on the west side of the river, yes?

  5. Jane, thank you for the ID! You know the grass part of the park are looking perfect, others are faded and looking a little shop worn. Still worth the trek though.

    ricki, I am really glad to know that you have enjoyed it before! It's an overlooked pearl.

    Grace, oh the Sea Oats are so hardy! Mine is a plant that I dug and brought with me from Spokane (Zone 5) so no problem here. Buy one!

    Anonymous S, lime green leaves and white blooms! It's like you know me "S"! This park is in the old South Waterfront, not the new one. It's just north of the Marquam Bridge. The "new" South Waterfront is south of the bridge. Does that make sense? So don't go there looking for this garden. Good news though, there is a garden being created in the new South Waterfront, just north of the OHSU building! I watch it take form everyday on my drive home. It is amazing watching it. The day they got the plants delivered I wanted to go touch them all. Mature plants and an instant transformation. Amazing.

  6. You're right, Portlanders don't seem to go to this park, me included. I must visit some day. That may be a loropetalum, but my witch hazel bloomed in fall last year, so keep an eye out for wrong-blooming-witch-hazel. They are out there!

  7. Love the grasses! Except the sea oats...if that's the same thing as river oats, they seed like crazy!

  8. Megan, get over there! You won't regret it,

    how it grows, I have had sea oats in my garden for years and never once had it seed. I think you're safe.


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