Vintage Roadside Garden Attractions: Petersen’s Rock Garden, Central Oregon


I am attracted to paper—especially old paper. This attraction often finds me flipping through old photos, old postcards, old magazines, and old books. When I was a kid, my dad and I used to spend every Saturday morning at Powell’s Books in downtown Portland, looking at old books, and several nights a week we’d go to the library to read and escape the noise called “family life” back at home. Looking at any old pieces of paper was often a thrill to us, and it wasn’t uncommon to find us smelling book binding glue—but that is a whole other story for another time.

Postcards of places that I have never heard of always give me a thrill, especially when they are still around. In this case, I now have a rock garden to visit when the weather warms next spring. Maybe not all gardeners love rocks as much as lapidarists or geologists, but many of us love them a lot, and when we are able to collect large specimens, we will add them to our gardens.

This place if more rock than garden, but it looks like a lot of fun and I tip my gardening hat to the man who made it! Anyone with that much passion and a penchant for obsessive behavior is ok in my book.

Les Trois Petits Cochons


So here is my story of Les Trois Petits Cochons. In my past life as an uptight overachiever, I never would have imagined that these would have ever ended up living here with us, but I was drawn to them by the touching story that brought them into my family’s possession.

One day, after work, my Great-Grandma Lucy walked home from the diner she owned to get my Grandma Ila, who at the time, was her next door neighbor. She told Grandma Ila that she had a surprise for her, and that they needed to drive back to pick it up. 

When she saw the pigs, Grandma Ila was overcome with emotion. Her mother had replaced the three little pigs she’d been forced to leave behind as a child when they left the Great Plains during the Great Depression. After all that time, her mom had remembered! 

So now, maybe 40 years later, they are city pigs, living on my tiny stage.

Obviously, I’m not afraid to call a pig a garden pig, but in this case, these pigs have a new life as Les Trois Petits Cochons for a reason. My husband (the Chef)—after we’d both noticed that the pigs were 100% male from behind—chose to name them after three famous French chefs. Having them here with us assures me that all of our parties will have only the finest food, and the best of company. The garden cats aren’t too bad either for company though. This is Meng (a neighbor cat) trying to teach his friends to walk.