Kimberley Kincaid / Head Gardener, Edgefield Manor
ACQUIRED IN 1990, Edgefield was the McMenamin brothers’ first major historic renovation project. Originally built in 1911 as the Multnomah County Poor Farm, the property is now the crown jewel of the empire—a cozily sprawling complex of funky restaurants, a hotel, a cigar bar, a spa, a craft brewery, a distillery, a winery, and gardens.
Kimberley Kincaid has been at Edgefield from the start. A Portland native who was working as a gardener and florist in New Orleans when the McMenamins acquired the property, Kincaid was lured home by chief gardener McNurney (a friend) and the prospect of helping to shape such a large, fecund site. In the garden, Kincaid has skillfully fostered a whimsical, down-the-rabbit-hole experience at Edgefield. She accents the buildings with adventurous plant selections attuned to the acreage’s microclimates: she wisely places more tender plants like Azara and Fremontodendron along south- and west-facing walls, and cold-tolerant conifers and hardy shrubs where the wind rips through from the east.
Strategically placed, Dr. Seussian plants like coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) provide tongue-in-cheek punctuation while artistic details like the psychedelic, colorfully striped fence-post finials carry the indoors out and highlight the atmosphere of festive yet barely restrained chaos.
Nearly every visit to Edgefield reveals a new garden. Recent updates include the Southern Hemisphere and Asian-inspired additions around the soaking pools, which showcase plants with striking texture and year-round interest. But Kincaid is equally inspired by a sense of legacy: “Our role here is far more than just making this a pretty place,” she says. “We need to be good stewards.” The property’s vast, productive kitchen garden, for instance, is a prime example of biointensive methods in action. Large specimens of unusual plants like graceful Azara microphylla trees with vanilla-scented flowers, magnificent, sunshine yellow–flowered California flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum ), and flaming orange Chilean fire bush (Embothrium coccineum) demonstrate varying levels of cold-hardiness when the frigid Gorge winds blow through. The results are year-round flowers and showy plants that ?perform from spring to winter, a continuous illustration of the marvels of gardening in our felicitous Pacific Northwest climate.