A ledge garden to remember

Jane Sherar had a garden. It was carved from a rock ledge overlooking the Deschutes River in Central Oregon. She and her husband ran a hotel that at the time - the late 1800's- was the largest structure between San Francisco and Seattle. The hotel called the Sherar House was built where a bridge crossed the Deschutes River on the Old Dalles Military Highway. The Dalles was a bustling town along the Columbia River at the time and shipments to the gold fields kept people on the road heading into Eastern Oregon.

Descendants told me about Jane's garden and I had photographs of little bridges leading from the third story of the hotel right out to that ledge garden high above the river in the rimrocks. In my book, I had her plant vegetables but also a sweet grape arbor. It just seemed like the perfect place. Watering wouldn't have been easy with the garden high above the river but they had hotel employees - many employed from the nearby Indian reservation - who likely carried heavy buckets of water across those little bridges out to the garden to feed those thirsty plants.

Before I finished the book, A Sweetness to the Soul, where the garden is mentioned, I received a phone call from a man who said as a boy he'd stayed at the Sherar House hotel one summer. His father was an engineer and worked on the fish ladder there. The man told me that his brother, father, mom and this now elderly man had the run of the hotel. "Do you remember the ledge garden?" I asked him.

"Oh yes. I slept on the third floor and the bridge went from my room out to that ledge where the railroad goes now."

"I don't supposed you'd have any idea what they planted there?"

"For certain they had sweet grapes. Some of the old vines still stood."

The hotel burned not long after they'd spent their summer there but I will always remember the delight of discovering that something I'd written in fiction had a basis in fact...I just hadn't known that when I wrote it. It's a garden to remember. Photos show the hotel but sadly, not the garden... You can see them here

What gardens have you visited that are worth mentioning?

Just came across this video and wanted to share it with you.  Enjoy the cheer it provides.



This Spring things are starting to get busy around here....
  • Next Tuesday is the official release day for Where Lilacs Still Bloom. Have you pre-ordered your signed copy?
  • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers is giving away a Flower Membership for a year.  Talk about flower-cheer all year round! Enter here
  • April 23-27 I will be hosting a blog hop to celebrate the release of Lilacs.  There will be some great authors to meet if you have not yet already done so.  And of course there will be some prizes involved too!
  • And for a little fun, those of you on Pinterest might want to participate in a Spring-Time community board I created.  Visit the board for instructions on how to participate.
  • If you are not on Pinterest but have some great Spring photos (whatever images represent Spring to you), feel free to upload them to my facebook page. Would love to see them!
  • There are a lot of events happening due to the release of Lilacs.  Most of them will show up on Facebook, however to see everything I will be doing all in one place just visit the events page on my website
8