A trip to Solexx – make a day of it, even a weekend!

solexx-staffIt is well worth the drive to Brooks to visit the Solexx greenhouse display and manufacturing plant. You can see all the Solexx greenhouses on display.  Solexx is open to the public Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm and by appointment on the weekends. Conveniently located less than five minutes off I-5, take exit 263 and turn right on Brooklake Road. Tour the many different configurations of greenhouses displayed.  The Solexx team is more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Make sure to check out the Smart Pot employee food growing area. From tomatoes to fruit trees, this unique display of intensive food production in small spaces is truly inspiring!

When you plan your trip, be sure to allow time to see the wonderful sites around the Salem area.

The Oregon Garden

Garden Highlights
conifers at the Oregon Garden The Oregon GardensThe Oregon Garden is an 80-acre botanical garden with a plethora of theme-inspired areas sure to capture the imagination of non-gardeners. The garden boasts over 40,000 annuals planted throughout the garden to add color at every turn.  Take a tram ride from the Oregon Garden Resort  to the garden for a free, informative guided tour. The tram will pass by all the major garden attractions in five stops where you can tour more of the fifteen garden areas by foot. The Conifer Garden is the crowning jewel. A friendly volunteer informed us that it will be expanded to three times its current size in the near future. Try to plan your trip to also take in a concert at the Teufel Amphitheater for evening entertainment nestled under 200 year old oak trees.
greenhouse at the Oregon GardenGreenhouses to Peruse
The Oregon Garden has two greenhouses on site. I like to visit other greenhouses as I’m working on prepping my own for the upcoming fall season. Before purchasing a greenhouse for your home, I recommend seeing how other types are constructed and being used. 

Warm and humid inside, the aluminum-framed greenhouse – located near the J. Frank Schmidt Jr. Pavilion – boasts a new tropical display.  It features bananas, coleus, orchids, bromeliads and more to show how tropical’s can be overwintered in a greenhouse structure. 
The market garden sports a redwood and twin wall polycarbonate paneled greenhouse housing vegetable seedlings.  The market garden has generated 2,000 pounds of produce in past seasons which is happily donated to the local food bank. Dedicated volunteers and this small greenhouse help support the local economy.
The Cottages at the Oregon Garden ResortOregon Garden ResortThe Oregon Garden Resort
Relax, refresh and renew at the eleven-acre hilltop destination resort. The resort opened in 2008 welcoming guests who appreciate craftsman-style architecture complete with a lodge-like atmosphere, the Moonstone Day Spa and Garden View restaurant. The seventeen guest cottages house six individualized rooms that are large, well-appointed and appropriately garden-themed.  Overnight stays include a hot breakfast buffet, free entry into the Oregon Garden and discounts to the Day Spa. The restaurant sparkles with a spectacular view of the valley. Enjoy a romantic sunset dinner by dining outdoors or request seating on the right side of the restaurant. 

The Gordon HouseThe Gordon House
Situated in the Oregon Gardens, you will find The Gordon House. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1957 for Conrad and Evelyn Gordon. Frank believed “a building should integrate form and function into an organic whole, blending with the site.” Built in 1964, the 2,133 square foot house was saved from destruction by the Frank Lloyd Building Conservancy. 

Frank’s revolutionary design was introduced to America on the pages of Life Magazine in 1938. During the nation’s hard economic times, the editors commissioned eight of the country’s leading architects to “design affordable houses for a family with an income in the middle range.” Wright’s Usonian design was based on a family earning $5,000 a year. Wright believed in sourcing natural materials available locally for his designs. Western cedar – too costly to use by today’s dollars – was utilized throughout the home to create unique window panels, furnishings and cabinetry.  Wright designed over 1,100 structures total throughout his illustrious career. Oregon is lucky to enjoy one right in its own backyard to still enjoy. Guided tours are $5.00 per person and must be scheduled ahead of time. An informative docent leads the tour and provides a wealth of details on the house, Frank Lloyd Wright and the original owners.

Silver Falls State Park
For the outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking and discovering waterfalls. Silver Creek boasts a nationally recognized trail system that leads hikers along the banks of Silver Creek. Canyon Trail weaves past ten majestic waterfalls, ranging from the grand South Falls to the delicate Drake Falls (27 feet). You can actually walk behind four of the falls and feel the misty, crisp spray. Pack a picnic or reserve a rustic cabin to stay overnight.

Downtown Silverton
Silverton incorporated in 1854 and is known as Oregon’s Garden City.  Stroll down the quaint, historic downtown shops and restaurants that combined can take an afternoon to explore.

The historic Palace movie theater downtown is a popular local entertainment spot on Friday nights. The town’s galleries, restaurants, and shops stay open late every first Friday with new exhibitions.

Don’t miss the Homer Davenport Days Festival in held each August held in Coolidge-McClaine Park. The festival celebrates Heart Newspaper’s political cartoonist and Silverton’s hometown boy, Homer.
Silverton Farmers MarketSilverton Farmer’s Market
Local produce, flowers and handmade trinkets are available each Saturday from 9AM – 1PM May through October in Town Square Park on the corner of Main and Fiske Streets.
Brush Creek Playhouse
The sagging building doesn’t look like much from the outside. The Brush Creek School, located at the corner of Brush Creek and Silverton Road, was built in 1888. Take in a play featuring well-loved recognizable plays and original works during summer weekends.

Antique Powerland Museum
Up Brooklake Road from Solexx Greenhouses is the Antique Powerland Museum. Great family fun and educational opportunities abound from March through October. The museum features four major events to delight kids of all ages:
• The Great Oregon Steam-Up   July / August
• Pacific NW Truck Museum Show  August
• Smithsonian Museum Day   September
• Pumpkin Patch Trolleys    October

So Much to Do and See
A trip to the Silverton area to visit Solexx Greenhouses, The Oregon Garden and more will fill up an entire gardening-related weekend to soak in the garden city and all it has to offer. Have you traveled down to this area lately? Let us know what you would add to the weekend itinerary as a must stop.

Photos taken by Dawn and Robert Hummel.

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