by: SUSAN MATHENY/MADRAS PIONEER - Co-owner Karen McCarthy waters planats at th enew Garden Depot, with the greenhouse under construction visible in the background.Madras Garden Depot has moved to a new location, and reopened with partners Karen McCarthy, of Madras, and Marilyn Clark, of Culver.

Starting in May, the garden center began operating on weekends while completing work on the new site, which used to be an actual trucking depot, built in 1950 by the Bend-Portland Trucking Co.

The new location is 1665 North U.S. Highway 26, just north of Cal’s Appliance, and the center is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

McCarthy said they liked the former CHS site, but decided to relocate to be more visible from the highway, and because the old site wasn’t big enough for large trucks to dump loads of bark dust and other products they wanted to carry.

She said she and Clark spent all winter looking for a highway site in Madras, without luck. “We were almost ready to go to Culver or Terrebonne when I saw a for rent sign on this place, which is owned by Bart Grabhorn of Scappoose,” McCarthy said, of the 2-acre site.

He agreed to put a chain-link fence around the property, while Clark and McCarthy improved the site with new electrical and water lines, Ethernet cable, and are in the process of completing a 48-by-30-foot greenhouse and landscape demonstration area.

To help with the greenhouse, she said, “We qualified for a $2,500 Food Policy Council grant through Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council because we sell vegetable plants and do outreach by offering free gardening classes in Madras and Warm Springs.”

“When we landscape the berms along the highway, we will be offering some classes, and we will have others where we bring in gardening authors,” McCarthy said.

Their vegetable starts and some perennial flowers are being grown by McCarthy’s former partner Susan Mobley, who has a greenhouse business at the Happy Day Ranch in Kent, where she and her husband Mark live.

Madras Garden Depot now has a wide variety of vegetable, herb and flower bedding plants, hanging baskets, trees, berries and grapes. It has expanded with six large bins offering bulk bark products, compost, and screened top soil, along with masonry products including bricks, pavers and wall blocks.

Soon, Clark will be adding a garden-oriented gift area. So far, they are an outlet for “Rustic Garden” lawn art made by Judy Marco of Madras, for “Crack Pots” garden art created by Portland artists from recycled materials. Artist Marta Farris has some adorable metal art sheep with woolly coats made from recycled fireplace screen.

Madras Garden Depot can be reached at 541-475-2068, and on its website

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