Garden tips from a country trip near Corvallis

      Watch All in a Day's Drive Wednesdays on KMTR NewsSource 16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

      CORVALLIS, Ore. Spending time in the garden or just a little time around animals can always put you in a good mood.

      And there are a few country destinations not far from Corvallis where you can relax.

      What began as a gift for his mother has turned into more than 20 years of hard work for Jay Gray.

      "Initially, it was just a hobby. It was a just a passion," Gray admits.

      Gray's passion took him across the world where he studied in Japan. Gray was so inspired; he set to work building his own large Japanese garden and an authentic 20th century cabin at his home just outside Corvallis.

      "We encourage people to really take their time, the gardens can be very restorative and very health promoting," Gray said.

      If you've got some time to kill or if you want some thyme to grow, there's another garden you can find if you keep going west from Corvallis. At the Thyme Garden, they have more fresh herbs than you can even name.

      "Experience some of the 700 varieties of herbs that we have from all over the world," Rolfe Hagen said.

      Much like Gray, Hagen and his family put in decades of work designing the large garden near Alsea. Now that the color is returning, the Hagen family is ready to welcome more visitors.

      "It's exhilarating. It just makes you happy and it feels good. It's like having a baby every year," Hagen said.

      Just a few miles away from the garden, Scottie Jones is adding to her flock. It's lambing season at Leaping Lamb Farm, and some of the newborns are just a few days old.

      "They're like a little gang," Jones said. "And when the sun comes out, they'll start running around and they race around this field following each other."

      Jones has quite a barnyard menagerie already, with two horses, a donkey, several chickens, a turkey and one peacock. But the lambs will be the big attraction this weekend, when she'll open up the farm to families.

      "I think the parents get as much of a kick out of it as the kids do. Who gets to ever pet a baby lamb? Who gets to hold a baby lamb?" Jones said.

      Three places where you can get away from it all and relax. And you can find them all in a day's drive.
      The Open Barn Day at Leaping Lamb Farm is happening Sunday, April 27th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You can RSVP to the event on the Leaping Lamb webpage or on the farm's Facebook page.