Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day at McMenamin's Edgefield

We spent the long weekend in a beautiful Steiner log cabin in Welches, OR.  During the 1930s and 40s, Henry Steiner and his son John built between 80 and 100 of these amazing log cabins on the slopes of Mt. Hood, using only hand tools. Before we get to the plants, here are just a few pictures illustrating their unique vernacular style.

All the interior logs had acquired the patina of time.

Every element was hand-built, including the half-log stairs.

The sleeping loft was railed in Manzanita branches, added by the current owners. (Thank you for setting the record straight below, Jeff A!)

Even the rustic kitchen seemed ideal, with its horn handles and open shelving.

It was a perfect weekend with dear friends.

On the way home, we stopped to see the gardens at McMenamin's Edgefield.  I was out there this past summer for the Cracked Pots event, but it can be hard to really appreciate the gardens when the property is filled with booths, tents and crowds. In contrast, although the hotel and restaurants were clearly doing some business, it was pleasantly uncrowded on this spring Monday.

I was stunned by the color in the first plant group I spotted against a south-facing wall.  Fremontodendron, Ceanothus and Cotinus were underplanted with what I think could be Lonicera nitida.

Fremontodendron has the most wonderful variation in color as it blooms, from bronzy-orange buds, through gold, to bright yellow open flowers.

Close by, Melianthus major was blooming!

I had no idea they had these super-cool flower heads.

Another lovely shrub in bright yellow bloom over a dark barberry.

 Anyone know what this is? It's tall - at least 8 feet. (update: this is Cytisus battandieri, or Pineapple Broom, per Grace and LeLo - thank you both!)

Another view, with a Callistemon at it's feet.

Aeoneums flourished in a terra cotta pot. Could they have been here all winter?

A magnificent copper beech.

In the Herb Garden we discovered two sweet baby rabbits who had mastered the art of getting inside the protective netting...

...and back out again, probably to the gardeners' frustration.

A mass of cerinthe.

An artichoke in the perfect pot.

Hesperaloes and succulents in concrete drain pipes.

I would never have guessed this was Sisyrinchium, but a gardener told us. She didn't know the cultivar, so I'll have to do a little research. (update: ID'd as Sisyrinchium striatum by Ricki - thank you!)

A sleeping bee on a Calendula flower.

Mullein. One day I'll grow some of these stately flowers.

These looked like Melianthus major seedlings sitting in the sun outside the greenhouse.

The dry garden troughs were full of Lewisias in bloom.

A tiny Dianthus accompanied the Lewisias.

We speculated on the origins of these huge troughs...were they the former foundations of small buildings?

On our way up to the vegetable garden we passed another huge Ceanothus.

The entrance to the veggie garden - typical of McMenamins' whimsy.

Cold frames were full of lettuces.

It was early in the season for most of the veggies. As we walked back down to the car we enjoyed the wildflower mixture that had been sown outside the vegetable garden fence.

Our tour of Edgefield's gardens was a delightful end to a perfect holiday weekend.


  1. I just got one of those at Janet's sale, and if she is to be believed, it is Sisyrinchium striatum. We were working all weekend, so I am enjoying yours. Thanks.

    1. I'm happy to provide a little vicarious getaway, Ricki.

  2. Wow. What a place! The yellow flowered plant was once called Cytisus battandieri. If you Google it you'll see photos. I used to have it but I planted it in the wrong place, took it out and it died. It's a nice plant though. I love those old troughs. Love those bunnies. Great post!

    1. Thanks for the ID, Grace. The bunnies WERE ultra sweet...I just wanted to take one home!

  3. Grace is right: Cytisus Battandieri, also known as Pineapple Broom. Those yellow blooms smell like sweet pineapple. We have one in our garden and love it. It's huge! No summer water needed. It's in full bloom right now. Don't you love Edgefield's gardens? We've been visiting those gardens since they began developing them and every year we see new things. That door in the garden is one of my favorite things, but the plant combinations are stellar. There's something of interest all year round in those gardens.

    1. Thanks for the ID confirmation. The McMenamins do a wonderful job on the gardens around all of their properties, but I agree, LeAnne, Edgefield is one of the best!

  4. What a great get-away and fabulous photos from Edgefield! It's been awhile since I've been out there...thanks for the reminder. Perhaps I can talk the husband into a drive and early dinner this weekend.

    1. Do it! It really is a perfect time to see the gardens.

  5. I didn't know that Melianthus major bloomed either. Can't wait!! And I need to check out these cabins--they look terrific.

    1. Just a few of the cabins are for rent through an outfit called Vacasa. I can hope my M. major will bloom, but I know they don't get such an intense southern exposure as McMenamins' do.

  6. Wow! looks like a great weekend! There is something so wonderfully cozy about staying in a log cabin like that! And those gardens look really cool. I love the jumbo Ceanothus and the corner of what looks like a stunning agave medio picta alba!!!!

    1. Good eye, Louis! That agave was gorgeous, but I was more focused on the spring bloomers, I guess. But summer is coming...!

  7. Beautiful craftsmanship in that cabin. A treat to see it. And the Ceanothus, Fremontodendron...just as wonderful. Thanks for a great post!

  8. Hello,

    Henry Steiner is my great-grandfather. Also, I've been on a tour of that particular cabin and talked to the current owner. The railing in the cabin was not done by the Steiners. It was commissioned by the current owner and created by a local craftsman in a style that fits well in a Steiner cabin. The original railing had straight rungs of round stock that were spaced too far apart to be reassuring with grandchildren playing there.

    -Jeff A.

    1. Jeff, thank you for the info and correction. The cabin is a treasure, and we so appreciated the chance to spend time in it!


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