Flower Walks in the Valley

May 15, 2015 (Updated December 23, 2016)

Spring in Oregon is easy to spot: the flowers, grasses and shrubs blossom with unrestrained enthusiasm and the scenery is never twice the same.  This week, we visited two colorful spots in the Willamette Valley that are exploding into view and invite you to linger longer.

Owner and chief gardener at Heirloom Rose Gardens, Ben Hanna, said the gardens offer visitors a showy experience and garden ideas that they can take home:

“The roses are just about ready to pop into full bloom in the next week. The entire garden will be in beautiful, full color. The first flush of color is really hard to beat – it’s just grand and really a lot of fun to be out here.”
Heirloom Rose Gardens is a homegrown success story that is guaranteed to capture your landscaping soul. You may stroll the grounds and admire a place where the “rose is king.”

Heirloom owns a unique niche following more than forty years of effort to create “virus free” roses that are grown on their own roots (not grafted.)

“We want to show people how roses can be grown in different ways,” added Hanna. “So we grow them as hedges, grow them as specimen plants where you just have one and in rows so people can just walk along and visit each bush.  There is so much to enjoy on the grounds,” said Hanna.

Photographer Michael Horodyski and his photo-pal, Steve Dierickx, like to ramble across Heirloom’s five acres – cameras in hand – and capture prized moments of spring.

“Lighting is probably the most important part of what we do,” noted Horodyski. “Photographs are all about the light and that’s what makes each shot of a rose blossom unique; it gives you the flavor and warmth of each flower.”

Steve and Mike have been at the photo-game for many years and their results show off terrific tiny and large rose blooms in a private garden open to the public.
“The place is wonderful all summer,” added Horodyski. “And the best part is that if you are drawn to a particular flower – you can buy it, take it home, plant it and enjoy it for many years.”

Ben Hanna added, “People always say, ‘Oh, I stayed a lot longer than I planned to.’ There’s a lot to see and it’s really an enjoyable place.”  Heirloom Rose Garden is open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. And anyone can come at their pleasure and walk through the gardens – for free!

A short thirty minute drive south on Hwy 219, watch for colorful fields that seem to stretch to the horizon. It’s like a signal to stop, walk and explore a near-century old family business called Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. Four generations of Shreiners are celebrating 90 years of Iris production in 2015, according to Steve Schreiner, who added: “The family manages a business that’s as grass roots as it gets and sprawls across two hundred acres.”

There are more than 1,000 varieties for you to see across the seven-acre Schreiner Display Garden. You are encouraged to wander and perhaps select a favorite that you can order and grow at home. Steve Dierickx said he likes to capture favorites thru his camera lens: “I like to use a telephoto lens – this one is a 300mm – because I can zoom in on the blooms and get a good close up picture. There’s so much to photograph here – you can go up and down the rows, look at hundreds of individual flowers. This is a photographer’s paradise! It’s just absolutely beautiful and there is so much.”

“Most of the time, someone can come out here and have a real tranquil time,” added Steve Schreiner. “You can wander by yourself or bring a picnic and just relax and people like that.” The Display Garden is open through the month of May.

About The

Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.