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Decades after this historic public garden opened on S.E. 28th, it finally obtains a fulltime Head Gardener

RITA A. LEONARD - Frank Tree, here shown at work, has just been appointed the first fulltime Head Gardener in the 70-year history of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, on S.E. 28th Avenue. There are several iconic city parks in Inner Southeast, of which Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden are the most unique.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, just west of Reed College on S.E. 28th Avenue, has just appointed its first-ever fulltime Head Gardener in its 70-year history – Frank Tree. Brandon Baker, the recently-appointed Executive Director of the garden, tells THE BEE, "We're thrilled to welcome Frank to our team. He brings over 38 years' experience in horticulture, and will lead us with incredible skill, humility, and expertise."

The aptly named Mr. Tree arrives from the Portland Japanese Garden, where he spent some 14 years; he was Lead Gardener there in 2019. Prior to that, he served as Municipal Master Gardener at Rio Grande Botanic Garden in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with additional roles in plant nurseries, golf courses, and an estate garden.

Tree himself explains, "Head Gardener at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden fits in with my long-term goal to continually expand my horticulture practice to new environments and settings in a leadership role." His years of experience in plant care, pruning, plant propagation and grounds maintenance will assist him in guiding volunteers and staff at the 9.5-acre public garden at 5801 S.E. 28th Avenue.

And by the way, there are also two more paid positions open at the Gardens. If you're interested in applying for the position of part-time Events Coordinator ($16-$18/hour), or full-time Seasonal Gardener (March-June, $16-$19/hour), please e-mail – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also phone the Garden if you are interested in being a volunteer on Wednesday. The number is: 503/267-7509.

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