The Osmanthus of Gaiety Hollow

Osmanthus or tea olives are outstanding small evergreen trees and shrubs in the Oleacea family. Gaiety Hollow is home to one particularly outstanding specimen of Osmanthus x fortunei that Edith and Elizabeth planted in the mid-1960’s. It’s a fall bloomer with flowers so fragrant you can smell the blossoms all down the alley on a calm, cool morning.

The plant is named for Robert Fortune (1812-1880), the intrepid Scottish botanist best known for his exploits of stealing tea plants (Camellia sinensis) from China and smuggling them to India on behalf of the British East India company in the mid-1800’s. He introduced this hybrid of Osmanthus fragrans and Osmanthus heterophyllus in 1858. During his three years in China, Robert Fortune sent thousands of plants back to the British Isles in Wardian cases. These were glass terrariums filled with plants and sealed so the plants would survive the long ocean journey back to England.

It’s not surprising that throughout the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, Edith and Elizabeth tried quite a few different Osmanthus in the garden, as these stately shrubs and small trees would have met their many design requirements  including extreme fragrance, glossy evergreen foliage, screening capability, elegant structure and varied habit from shrub to small tree.

Records show Edith and Elizabeth grew Osmanthus armatus, fragrans, illicifolius and delavayi, as well as x fortunei and heterophyllus over the years. If you don’t grow Osmanthus in your garden you should…there is a species or cultivar to fit any size garden. In my home garden, I have the smaller Osmanthus delavayi and Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘purpureus‘, and after experiencing the wonderful tree form that Edith and Elizabeth planted so many years ago, I think I’ll be adding Osmanthus x fortunei to my planting list.

Cheers,

Mark

A Generous Donation from the Rogerson Clematis Garden to the Lord and Schryver Conservancy

If you have been following the blog and the goings-on of the Lord and Schryver Conservancy, you know that a funding from a generous donor enabled the restoration the Deepwood’s Lower Terrace and Grape Arbor this past spring. Although the hardscaping and Arbor were completed, we decided to wait until fall to replace the vines that historically graced this structure. Last Friday, I visited the Rogerson Clematis Garden in hopes of locating several clematis varieties that records show were used by Edith and Elizabeth.

I was fortunate enough to time the trip to run into Linda Beutler, the curator of the clematis collection. I showed Linda the historical records I had on the clematis that were planted at Deepwood long ago. Linda was familiar with Deepwood as she had taken a group of National Clematis Convention participants on a tour of Deepwood some time ago. She wasted no time in compiling a list of possible clematis candidates, selecting several appropriate varieties and generously donated them to the project!

What an amazing gift from a generous horticulturalist, teacher and author who took the time to go through lists of old cultivars with me. Linda even explained some of the name changes that have taken place over the years. Thank you, Linda, for helping select plants that reflect Edith and Elizabeth’s work at Deepwood.

If you haven’t been to the Rogerson Clematis Garden, it is more than worth the trip:  https://www.rogersonclematiscollection.org/about-us  I visited in October and there were dozens if not hundreds of species and varieties still in bloom, but Linda tells me that the peak bloom time to visit is July. I hope to put together a field trip next year for our garden volunteers so we can all personally thank Linda for the generous donation, helping to make the restoration of another Lord and Schryver garden a reality.

Mark

Egan Gardens and Lord and Schryver

We had a very special visitor in the garden this past summer.  Ellen Egan, the owner of Egan Gardens visited Gaiety Hollow for the first time!

In 1875, the Egan family established a farm on the deep Amity silt loam soils just west of the tiny hamlet of Brooks, Oregon. Later in the 1950’s, Bill Egan, Ellen’s father, started a nursery on the property.  Later still, Ellen took over operations from her father and has continued to run a wonderful nursery business on the same property as the old farmstead.

Elizabeth and Edith started buying plants at Egan Gardens in the 1950’s. Records show that they were frequent customers throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, purchasing a variety of dahlias, cineraria, alyssum, hydrangeas, petunias and marigolds. However, it appears that Edith and Elizabeth were particularly fond of Egan’s premium quality geraniums.

Ellen Egan in the garden

Ellen Egan at Gaiety Hollow-Photo by Mary Anne Spradlin

egans gardens signs

The Lord and Schryver Conservancy has kept this long running relationship alive to this day. Visitors to Gaiety Hollow this past summer would have admired the many Egan-grown alyssum and salvia in the Parterre garden.

Over time, it seems that many mom and pop, brick and mortar stores have gone by the wayside. We are proud of the long-running relationship we have with this fine local grower. Supporting local businesses is one of the best ways to keep our local economy strong and thriving.

We hope to see Ellen in the garden more often. We look forward to shopping through  her wonderfully stuffed hoop houses for garden offerings come spring, just as Edith and Elizabeth did many years ago.

 

Katydids and the Temperature

Did you know that you can tell the temperature by listening to the crickets and katydids chirping at night?

In 1897, A tufts professor named A.E. Dolbear published a paper showing that the rate of chirping of crickets and katydids varies with changes in temperature. His math equations for this phenomena became known as Dolbears law. Interestingly enough, it is thought he derived much of his data from a woman named Margarette W. Brooks who in 1881 published a report titled,  “Influence of temperature on the chirp of the cricket” in Popular Science Monthly.

Board member and volunteer gardener Mary Anne Spradlin, brought in a Fork tailed Bush Katydid for ID this week and it got me thinking about how the night time temperatures are dropping and while there is perhaps a bit more urgency in the crickets and Katydids chirps with the advancing of the season, the rate at which they are chirping is certainly slowing down in the evenings.

In case you are laying awake at night and want to factor in the temperature by counting the chirps outside your bedroom window, here is the equation:

T = 60+[(N-19)/3]

N being the number of chirps in a minute

T being the temperature

 

 

IMG_2986

Scudderia furcata, Fork Tailed Bush Katydid, found in the Gaiety Neighborhood.

The First Day of Autumn

Welcome to the first day of Autumn. The open garden season has come to an end at Gaiety Hollow. The days will soon begin to shorten and the flowers to fade as Old Man Winter gets ready to make his entrance. This is the time of year when we start to lose daylight at a rapid pace, with daylight decreasing by approximately 3 minutes each day as we head towards the holiday season. Some great flowers are still hanging on in the garden, with several spurred into renewed life by the cooler nighttime temperatures.

As we transition into autumn, we will be doing the obligatory leaf pickup as they start to fall. This is also a good time for propagation, and we will take cuttings of some of the woody species to root over winter. The tree peony by the Grape Arbor set seed this year, so we will try to get that germinated and growing. Collecting seeds from the popular annuals and perennials to offer interested gardeners will be another fall activity.

A big thank you to all the docents who made this open garden season possible! We hope you get some rest over the fall and winter months so you will come back refreshed for our 2020 spring season opener!

Cheers,
Mark

Return of the Horticulture Book Club

DSC00354-1

As the weather starts to cool and the days shorten, we look forward to reconvening our Horticulture Book Club…and invite you to join us!

Our book club is a casual, yet serious reading group driven by the interests of our members. We read general interest horticulture books chosen by the members of the group. Our meetings include some lively conversation, an opportunity to make new friends and a snack.

We meet in the living room at Gaiety Hollow, located at 545 Mission Street SE, Salem. Our first meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 10 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.  We will continue to meet on the second Tuesday of each month through next March, when we head outside once again with our gardening gloves!

No book has been assigned for the September meeting. Hopefully, you have read, or are reading something that you would like to share with the group. Perhaps you found a good read over the summer and could give us a short review.  One member will tell us about The Botany of Desire, a classic she is reading now. We will then discuss which books we want to pursue as a group for both October and November.

If you are interested in joining our Horticulture Book Club, or need more information, please contact Ruth Roberts at rroberts@wvi.com or (503) 581-0774.

 

The Summer Garden at Gaiety Hollow

The summer parterre at Gaiety Hollow is blooming away as we head into the middle of August. This being my first summer here, I’ve learned a few lessons that I thought I would share. Lucky for me this has been a pretty mild summer compared to some of the last ones. The increased humidity has led to a few issues with common fungal diseases. I treat powdery mildew by using micronized sulfur dust in a spray solution with an added drop of dish soap which helps the solution adhere to the leaves. Sulfur leaves a thin powdery yellow film, so one must pick his/her battles between treating unsightly mildew and the sulfur residue.  A positive with sulfur is that it is much less toxic than many commonly available garden fungicides.

One lesson learned is how hot and dry the edges of the parterre garden become. The porous bricks not only suck moisture from the planting beds, but also gather heat throughout the day, radiating it at night. This makes it difficult for cooler-loving edging plants like Bellis Daisies to last all summer.  I assume Lord and Schryver would have lifted these plants and placed them in a shady spot in the Reserve Garden for the summer, planting them back out again when the cool weather returned in the fall. We are hoping that restoration of the Reserve Garden this fall will allow us to make that area a more usable space much like it was when the ladies were gardening here.

IMG_2662

The drying garden in mid-August, the exposure of this garden with the large Viburnum makes for an easy to manage bed as it gets a nice afternoon shade respite from the summer sun.

IMG_2661

Heat-loving annuals like Guara, Chinese Asters and African Daisies stand out proudly in the baking hot portions of the Parterre.

IMG_2636

A new introduction to the Parterre this year, the Glamini Gladiolus ‘Lia’ does not require staking.

IMG_2634

A nice rebloom of Delphiniums is coming on as we hit the middle of August.

Lower Terrace Celebration

 

Last Friday, a band of showers come through to wet the pavement and break out the umbrellas for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Lower Terrace Rehabilitation project at Deepwood. Guests included board, staff and volunteers from both the Lord & Schryver Conservancy and Deepwood, City officials and even the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Greeters! During the celebration, visitors learned specifics of the project,  enjoyed lemonade and cookies and took photos in front of the new grape arbor.

It was great to see so many folks honor this project that has transformed the approach to the Scroll Garden at Deepwood.  Thanks so much to a generous donor and for the work of dedicated volunteers to ensure that this project took place without a hitch. We are now turning our focus to rehabilitating the upper terrace area, including replacing the stairs and retaining wall and restoring the pathway leading to the lower terrace.

All the best,

Mark Akimoff

Garden Manager/Curator

The Lord and Schryver Conservancy

 

 

Wood Working at Gaiety Hollow

As most visitors to Gaiety Hollow know, the woodworking here is something special. Very few gardens exhibit the level of detail in the hardscape, especially in the woodworking. But the fences, arbors, gates and pergola certainly add to the mystique of this unique garden. It’s no small task to recreate this level of woodworking when repairs are required.

Dale Strand, who lived at Gaiety Hollow for many years, was an extraordinary woodworker and we appreciate how he applied these skills to preserving the woodworking throughout the property. For years, Dale had a master woodworker’s shop in the basement at Gaiety Hollow where he built beautiful Ming Dynasty replica hardwood furniture after the time-honored tradition of interlocking puzzle joints requiring no fasteners.

I was fortunate to have had a father who was very old school. He was born in China while his family was walking across Central Asia, fleeing the brutal Stalin regime in our Ukrainian homeland. When I was young, my dad taught me some woodshop skills that he had learned as an apprentice cabinet maker. During my time at community college, my father gave me some sound advice, saying “College and university are great, follow your dreams, but learn a trade so you always have something to fall back on.” That was good advice although I didn’t realize it at the time, and I grumbled at my dad when he placed me in a high-end woodshop building grand spiral staircases for mansions. Little did I realize as I went on to pursue a career in botany and horticulture, just how important that learning a trade would be.

The horticulture industry mirrors the general economy in terms of ups and downs, and I’ve observed that when one becomes unemployed in the plant industry, one could often find work in the carpentry trade.  I’ve installed hardwood floors, restored wooden boats, finish trimmed houses, built garden trugs and now I find myself re-creating wonderful garden woodwork from a bygone era!

IMG_2271

The woodwork at Gaiety Hollow is not standard “off the shelf” in terms of size or dimension and it requires custom woodworking skills. Lathe often must be ripped from larger stock, and one will quickly appreciate the level of detail in the woodwork if you  try to square up a 30-plus stick built lathe arbor top!  We are actively seeking interested woodworkers who would like to contribute to the restoration at Gaiety Hollow. If you are interested, please contact: mark@lordschryver.org

 

 

 

 

 

Papilio rutulus in the Garden

We had a surprise visitor flitting about the garden during the volunteer gardeners’ Friday morning work. Papillio rutulus aka, the Western Tiger Swallowtail is a common butterfly often seen during Oregon’s summer months. The females lay up to 100 eggs on cottonwoods, aspens and willow trees, making them a familiar site along riparian areas. The adults seek out nectar and our visitor was finding plenty in the Gaiety Hollow garden!

 

Something new is kicking into bloom every day, and the diversity of pollinators is a wonderful sight. We are working on establishing an Integrated Pest Management plan so volunteer gardeners are always on the lookout scouting for pests. Finding pest populations early in the game allows us to reduce the use of pesticides if that option is used. Butterflies, bees, even wasps and spiders are a sign of a healthy garden!

A big thanks to the dedicated garden volunteers who bring their enthusiasm and knowledge to Gaiety Hollow every Friday!

Happy Gardening,

Mark