It was a longtime Central Oregon roadside attraction — a rock-hounder’s paradise. But the Petersen Rock Garden is overgrown and gone to seed.
Now, there is hope for revival. The new owners are giving it another chance.
“Our focus is to just restore it and make it a nice place to come for families and the community,” said James Adams, the caretaker of the grounds. It is his job to take care of repairs and coordinate the effort to get the garden back up and running.
“There has been a lot of volunteers that have come out and done a lot of work,” said Adams. “This wonderful gentleman named Craig is taking it upon himself to restore the pathways.”
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The current focus is the pond.
“There are lily pads that come back every year in the pond that are, from what I understand, their own unique species at this pond because they have been isolated,” said Adams.
Isolated since 1935, when the garden was first started by Danish immigrant Rasmas Petersen.
In order for the garden to re-open and allow admissions, a few repairs need to be made. The roofs of most of the buildings are hanging on by a thread. Adams told us this is due to the original builder using nails instead of screws.
The current occupants on the property also have to be dealt with: 40 peacocks and nine cats.
The rocks themselves have survived the years quite well, and the concrete has done better “than it should have,” according to Adams.
“They don’t know what it’s made of,” said the caretaker. “There is a mystery component in there.”
One theory: the concrete was mixed with peacock feces to extend it’s durability.
Aside from that fun possibility, the landscape itself does need some freshening up.
“All of this is going to be planted with flowers and beautiful adornments,” Adams said.
As of now, the garden is still temporarily closed. The new owners will make a statement on Earth Day with a plan to re-open.