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Elk Rock Garden, Portland

(20+ reviews on the web)
Garden Nature / Park
Elk Rock Gardens of the Bishop's Close are located on a hillside estate overlooking the Willamette River in Dunthorpe, Oregon, in the United States. Peter Kerr started the gardens in 1916 on a 13acre estate that passed to the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon after his death in 1957. The estate includes a manor house and other structures, and is open to the public.Magnolias and other native and non-native trees, shrubs, and plants grow in the gardens. Dunthorpe is an unincorporated community on the west side of the Willamette south of Portland and north of Lake Oswego along Oregon Route 43.HistoryKerr moved to Portland from Scotland in 1888 and started a grain business. He and his brother and Kerr's business partner bought land on the hillside in the early 1890s. They built a cottage on the site and lived there until the other two men married and moved elsewhere. Kerr, the sole remaining occupant, married Laurie King in 1905. They lived in the cottage until 1916, when a new house resembling a Scottish manor was completed on the site. John Olmsted of the Olmsted Brothers landscape architects, sited the house to provide a view of Mount Hood. After the manor was finished, Kerr, encouraged by his wife, began work on a large garden.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Not ostentatious, merely nice strolling around the natural gardens with views of the river below. Small parking area, some plants labeled. Free, donation suggested.  more »
  • Gorgeous flowering trees and a peaceful vibe in a century old style. The home is not open to visitors. Dogs on leash allowed. No picnicking. Visit, appreciate, and keep the memory.  more »
  • Between the quiet setting, beautiful views and mature landscape, your are in for a special little treat. Take your time and enjoy the solitude afforded by this little known garden gem. We almost didn'...  more »
Google
  • This is my favorite botanical garden ever. Beautiful property, unique vegetation and beautifully maintained. No fee required and we were there virtually alone.
  • A hidden Portland gem and an absolute must-see for gardeners and those who enjoy gardens and a relaxing walk. A very wide variety of shrubs in particular. Wonderful views of Hood, if it is clear, and down along the river. We have been here many times in different seasons, even in winter, and there is always plenty to see. I would give it five stars if the - let's face it, wealthy - church diocese which owns it would only provide access to some restroom facilities. It cuts down the pleasure of a visit if you need a pee and there's nowhere to go... but the bushes... not that one WOULD, of course...
  • Serene, gorgeous hidden garden. We'll maintained by the Episcopal Diocese.
  • Awesome area to go for walks. Very pretty
  • A serene combination of formal gardens surrounding the old Kerr home, now the Episcopal Archdiocese of Oregon, and nature trails to a ridge overlooking the Willamette River and Elk Rock Island. Great for a family outing or out-of-town guests.