Visit the Garden
There’s always something blooming at the Rogerson Clematis Garden.
Known as the “Queen of the Vines”, clematis grow on every continent except Antarctica. As a result, there is a seemingly endless variety of sizes, shapes, forms and colors—from yellow globe-like buds to the familiar large-flowered hybrids, many displaying an array of wild-looking seed heads.
Taking a unique approach, the Rogerson Clematis Garden displays the clematis in a residential setting, providing the opportunity to show how well they combine with other plants. It’s a wonderful place for the public, as well as avid horticulturalists and plant nerds, to find inspiration and ideas for their own gardens.
The Rogerson Clematis Garden is located at Luscher Farm:
125 Rosemont Road, West Linn, OR 97068.
- The garden is open to visitors every day from dawn to dusk.
- Paths in and through the Garden are made of compacted gravel and are firm, flat and stable. They are accessible to most people, including those pushing strollers and using walkers or motorized chairs.
- The greenhouse (staffed with volunteers) is open Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 am to 2:00 pm from May through October. We sell clematis only during those hours. Evergreen and winter-flowering clematis are for sale all year round while supplies last on Fridays from November through March. We cannot accommodate mail order sales, and we cannot hold plants pending your visit. All sales are first come, first served.
- Group tours are available throughout the year. Our docent-led tour fee is $10 per person with a minimum of 8 people. Tours include the greenhouse and the opportunity to purchase plants. Request a tour of the garden.
- Periodically throughout the year, the Rogerson Clematis Garden can host private classes as staff time allows. Topics are:
- Starting Clematis from Cuttings (April 15 through June 30)
- Starting Clematis from Seed (October 1 through November 15)
- Hyper-tufa Trough Making (January 15 through February 28/29).
- Private classes cost $25 per person ($10 for a FRCC member in the group). All materials are provided. Attendees may become a member at the class, and enjoy the discounted rate. All classes are held in (or just outside) the RCG greenhouse. Dress for the weather. Space is limited to 15 people per class. Request a private class.
More About the Garden
Covering about two acres around the historic Luscher Farmhouse and the stately 100-year-old copper beech tree, the Garden’s winding paths lead you into the various display areas, each with a special focus. As you’ll see, there’s a clematis for nearly every type of climate and condition.
The Heirloom Garden
Surrounding the farmhouse, the Heirloom Garden reflects the time period of this historic building. When the Friends group negotiated with the City of Lake Oswego for space, they discovered that a long-held dream was to create an antique rose garden around the farmhouse. So, as part of the agreement to move the clematis collection to the farm, the Friends group designed and planted a garden showcasing not only clematis, but also perennial roses, shrubs, and flowers that would have been available to Oregon gardeners around 1900, when the farmhouse was built. Contained in Beds 5-13.
The Front Bank - Gravel Garden
In 2005, the City installed a paved path along Rosemont Road, creating a steep, south-facing bank in front of the farmhouse. Many clematis species and hybrids prefer this type of exposure. In fact, several of the plants in this bed are native to North America. With gravel for drainage, this garden features companion plants that also thrive in a sunny climate, giving the bank a decidedly Mediterranean look. Comprised of Bed 14.
The Beech Tree’s Garden
With its spreading branches and cool shade, this ancient copper beech tree provides the perfect place for a picnic lunch. Complete with picnic tables and a grassy lawn, this garden features clematis from Japan, a country with a long tradition of breeding the flower for subtle shapes and colors. Many of the Japanese clematis species are attractive to birds, so the Friends group has added plants that provide nectar and cover for songbirds and hummingbirds. In fact, this area has been designated as a Backyard Bird Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and certified as a Silver Backyard Habitat by the Audubon Society of Portland and the Columbia Land Trust. Contained in Beds 1-4.
Evocative of the old apple orchard that once stood on these grounds, heirloom apple trees on dwarfing rootstock are grown in a grid pattern in the Orchard Garden and are surrounded by beds of shrubs, roses, lilies and, of course, clematis. Buds and blossoms climb through stalks of lilies and drape over bushes. At the far end of the garden, you will see the gnarled old Gravenstein apple tree from the original orchard. Apple map: Hudson's Golden Gem, Bed 15 (southern Oregon, 1930s); Mother, Bed 16 (Massachusetts, mid 1800s); Gravenstein, Bed 17 (tree as found at farm, cultivar from Denmark, 1797); Roxbury Russet, Bed 17 (Massachusetts, early 17th century); Westfield Seek-No-Further, Bed 18 (Westfield, Massachesetts, 1700s); Hubbardston Nonesuch, Bed 19 (Massachusetts, before 1832); Esopus Spitzenberg, Bed 20 (Esopus, New York, early 1800s); Yellow Bellflower, Bed 21 (Burlington Co. New Jersey, 1742); Arkansas Black, Bed 22 (Arkansas, 1840s).
The Founder’s Garden, located around a lovely sundial, contains over 40 of Brewster Rogerson’s favorite clematis, chosen for both aesthetic and sentimental reasons. Collected over the course of more than 40 years, this garden represents a unique assortment of clematis displayed among conifers and winter-flowering shrubs to show the vines to their best effect. Comprised of Bed 16.
Baltic Border and Polish Beds
Featuring clematis from Poland, Estonia, Russia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Baltic Border and three Polish beds represent varieties that originated in rather challenging climates. Large, small, light and dark, these clematis come in all shapes and sizes. Since clematis don’t necessarily require a trellis, you’ll find them creeping along the ground or scrambling through shrubs and perennials. Look for unexpected bursts of color entwined among the roses. The Baltic Border is Bed 15. Three island beds are devoted to the Polish Noll and Franczak hybrids, Beds 18-20.
Many clematis require expert care, but the varieties in the International Clematis Society (IClS) Beginner’s Garden are specially selected for gardeners who are new to growing clematis. There’s something for everyone here. Trumpet flowers, globe buds, lanterns, wind socks, and frothy white clusters are just a few of the flower forms you’ll find in these beds. Two adjacent island beds, 21 & 22.
The clematis species here are from the Steppe Region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which are areas of dry, grassy plains characterized by a windy, semi-arid climate without evergreen cover. These clematis and their hybrids are accustomed to cold winters and hot summers. Comprised of Bed 17.
Along the length of the terrace outside the greenhouse is a hedge of evergreen Viburnum tinus, a perfect host for the spring-blooming alpine and Korean clematis. Both the hedge and the clematis bloom exuberantly in April and May. The clematis rebloom throughout the summer, joined by shrubby clematis (yes, clematis that are woody shrubs!) from July through September. Contained in Bed 23, with an extension added with a Yew hedge (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata') providing the garden's northwest boundary, in 2014-15, Bed 24.
Across from the Spring Border and along the far western edge of the garden is the test plot where the Friends group is actively growing plants for identification and evaluation to see how they might perform in a garden and how easy, or difficult, they are to grow. Clematis from as yet undocumented species are grown here to compare them with growth in their native range. Amateur and professional breeders send clematis seeds and plants here for trials.
The Modern Clematis
This newest garden celebrates recent introductions from post-WWII, when clematis re-emerged as “the Queen of the Vines.” Located along the driveway entrance, opposite the farmhouse, clematis in this garden are arranged by color along rows of fencing so you can easily see the individual plants and their characteristics. The Evison and Marczynski introductions are displayed here in their own rows.
WINTER BLOOMING CLEMATIS
Outside the west face of the greenhouse is a long rock-edged bed with five large trellises and several forms of Pittosporum tenuifolium, a highly ornamental species of evergreen shrub from New Zealand. It is here that we prove our claim of having clematis in bloom all year round. Winter-flowering species Clematis cirrhosa and its charming selections populate the trellises and shrubs, flowering from November through March. Harsh weather may stop their flower-fest briefly, but they always bounce back!