HERE, hidden in plain sight, is a spiritually settling garden nestled at the mouth of the scenic Columbia River gorge in Troutdale, Oregon. A labor of love created and maintained by Terry Cook and his wife Linda with only occasional help from professionals, this garden has been 40+ years in the making.
The property was purchased by the Cooks in 1977 and in the words of Linda’s father when he first saw it: “You are going to burn it, aren’t you?”. Burning it was never in the cards, but with a vision for what it could be, redeveloping it was. Seven remodels later, the home and gardens are what they are today.
Amongst the initial work was filling an old pond used for irrigating nursery stock, removing sheds ready to collapse and adding an indoor bathroom in the home. The original house was built prior to indoor plumbing so it lacked any interior piping for water or waste. The kitchen sink floor joists had rotted through due to leakage ignored for years, the entire home needed new electrical wiring and the “basement”, such as it was suffered frequent water inundation due to rising ground water in the winter.
It may have been easier to just tear it down and start over.
After a year of rebuilding the home was livable and comfortable. The grounds were next. However, it would be another five years before the garden began to take shape. By the late 1980’s, it was clear that the vision of ‘the farm’, a country retreat home designed as an escape to beauty, was coming together.
Ove the years, the farm would evolve into the Bella Terra, an intense and enchanting garden of 2 acres as part of a 7.8 acre property in the thriving burb of Springdale located on the Historic Columbia River Highway. It contains enchanted walkways, a conversation garden, multiple species of ornamental grass plants, flowering plants, annuals and perennials, exquisite pastoral views, garden art and custom metal artwork, screens and trellises made by Studio P2717 in the on-site art studio. Known today for its charm, it is a welcoming and delightful place of beauty that provides rest and rejuvenation for the weary soul.