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Famed for its Mother's Day Plant Sale, this year the Crystal Springs Rhododendrom Garden did it all online

RITA A. LEONARD - This photo, taken from the Garden side of the Gatehouse on S.E. 28th, shows the site of the erosion just inside the Rhododendron Garden, covered with plastic and awaiting remediation by Portland Parks and Recreation. The annual Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden Mothers' Day Plant Sale was one of the few Inner Southeast plant sales that actually took place in this time of social distancing. But for the second time in two years, the annual sale at the Rhododendron Garden was online on May 7, offering over 170 different varieties of species and hybrid rhododendrons for purchase. All proceeds, as always, directly supported the Garden. The biggest change this year was the smaller size of plants offered – about one-gallon size – which are less likely to bloom this year. The Garden hopes that by 2022 they will be able to return to their usual stock and in-person shopping. The Garden is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In spite of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions at the Garden (masks and social distancing), many spring visitors explored the open paths, waterfalls, birds, and currently-blooming flowers.

The spring visitors were restricted from visiting the spring-fed area below the Gatehouse, however, where the hillside has serious erosion problems. Extensive black plastic covering, weighted down with sandbags, has been in place there for several months, but was scheduled for removal on May 19. Engineers from the city will determine what should be done at the site, and the scope of the work needed.

This spring, the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society appointed Brandon K. Baker as the first Executive Director at CSRG. He brings experience in volunteer and program management, donor and board cultivation, and strategic growth initiatives. He has served as Executive Director for the Hellenic-American Cultural Center and Museum; and before that, in a number of roles with the Portland Japanese Garden, including membership manager and strategic initiatives coordinator.

Brandon says, "I am excited about the opportunity to join such a beloved horticultural asset here in Portland. I hope to bring a shared vision and strategic process to serve the city and its visitors. Gardens have the power to enrich lives through peaceful natural landscapes and botanical education; I'm honored to be part of that effort." The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, at 5801 S.E. 28th Avenue, just west across the street from Reed College, and adjacent to the Eastmoreland Golf Course, has over 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, ferns, and companion plants which offer displays of spring color this time of year. For more, go online –

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