The Big Deepwood Cleanup

It was a busy week at Deepwood as we welcomed the start of spring. A very generous donor made it possible for the Conservancy to contract Elwood’s Tree Service to clean up the tree canopy. This long overdue task is a responsibility that should fall on the City but for some years now they have not had arbor work done in the parks. After seeing the difference that Elwood’s arborists made in three days of deadwood removal, maintenance pruning and shaping the trees in the Lord and Schryver gardens, the contrast is remarkable.

I stayed busy helping Elwood’s crew drag brush to the chipper and, in between, worked on regrading the paths in the teahouse. The brick edging had sunk over the years, and the paths were well below grade. They are now back to where they should be just in time for the spring season.

I have been with the Lord and Schryver Conservancy for just over a year now and I want to say how proud I am to be able to be a part of this organization. The work is very rewarding, even though it may be frustrating at times working in a park like Deepwood with fewer resources than I wish we had, and the sometimes-conflicting priorities of the City Parks Department and other organizations involved.

What a positive transformation has taken place in the Deepwood gardens this past year! It has been amazing to work with our volunteers who give and give tirelessly. The generosity of the donor who funded last year’s renovation work is greatly appreciated. It shows that a community of people who care about a place can truly make a difference.

Thank you for giving your time and attention to the Lord and Schrvyer Conservancy. I feel fortunate to be a part of an organization that is making such a significant contribution to our community.

Stay healthy and happy,

Mark

Happy St. Patricks Day!

“May good luck be with you wherever you go. And your blessing outnumber the shamrocks that grow.” (Irish Blessing)

With warm days filled with sunshine, it’s feeling like spring as we hit the middle of March. The flowers are coming on strong now, with the cherry trees in full bloom and the Camellias and Hyacinths well represented too. The Tulips will be along shortly, and the Daffodils are looking lovely.

We have a beautiful new potting bench at Gaiety Hollow, thanks to the wonderful craftsmanship of volunteer Chet Zenone! Just in time for the warm weather to push the seedlings and transplants along.

Cheers to a warm and healthy spring!

Mark

Winter Happenings at the Lord and Schryver Conservancy

It’s been a busy winter here at the Lord and Schryver Conservancy. We are pleased to have wrapped up some large winter projects and are eagerly awaiting the return of spring.

The primary project was the restoration of the Reserve Garden at Gaiety Hollow. This area served as much more than a tool shed and storage area for Edith and Elizabeth. Their journal entries frequently mention plants being lifted from the garden and set in the reserve. Edith and Elizabeth used this area to hold plants while they worked on the ever-changing color schemes of the flower garden at Gaiety Hollow. We are delighted to have this area restored to its former functional purpose.

A big thank you goes to Premium NW Landscape for the work they did on this restoration project. We will be adding a custom-made potting bench to the Reserve Garden in the next few weeks.

In other garden news, Mark spent much of the winter months at Deepwood working to restore some of the brick work in the Teahouse garden. Moss was removed, bricks were cleaned, and brick joints were resanded. Much of the settling brick edge was lifted and returned to the proper grade to better define the flower beds.

We are excited to welcome spring which, with last week’s warm and sunny weather, appears to be hiding just around the corner!

Cheers,
Mark

The Travels of a Gardener

Edith and Elizabeth were well known travelers, as noted by the many lectures they gave to Garden Clubs and other interested groups. I was fortunate to follow in their footsteps this winter, as I joined Jane McGary, a good friend of mine and longtime botanical editor for Timber Press, on her eighth trip to Chile.

During our adventure, we drove over 1,500 miles from north of Santiago all the way to the Lakes District in the south. We met some wonderful people, saw amazing birds and wildlife, enjoyed some local gardens and observed many beautiful plant species in their native habitats. Chile has a fantastic diversity of habitats. Our travels took us from arid steppe to subtropical forests and from sea level to over 11,000 feet in elevation.

We encountered orchids growing on recent volcanic lava flows, dramatic waterfalls covered with ferns and gunnera and mountain slopes with giant araucaria trees. The diversity of wildlife was amazing as well, with birds from burrowing parrots to the giant Andean condor, I was even lucky enough to see wild culpeo fox!

 

 

I have about 3,000 photos to organize! I’m working on a lecture that covers this amazing trip which I plan to share with supporters and friends of the Lord and Schryver Conservancy this February.

Stay tuned for this don’t miss event!

 

 

Winter Projects Update

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While most gardeners have put garden to bed for the winter and are enjoying the crisp, frosty mornings of the Holiday season, the Lord and Schryver Conservancy has been busy with several construction projects.  One is the much anticipated second phase of the Deepwood Lower Terrace Pathway project.

Robert Crown and his crew from Riverdale Landscape Construction have begun removing the old brick retaining wall and steps for renovation. This excavation work has revealed the footings for the old Rose Tunnel. This metal structure was likely the home for 12 climbing roses that were originally planted in 1934 and then again in 1949. One can only imagine what it must have been like to stroll under the Rose canopy when it was in its full glory in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

The Addendum to the Historic Deepwood Estate Historic Landscape Report suggests this structure is not currently suitable for replacement due to the deep shade cast by the  overhead tree canopy.  However, the location of the original footings has been carefully documented and perhaps someday if the tree canopy were opened up, this element could be restored to the garden.

For now, the focus is on restoration of the pathway, steps and retaining wall to a more structurally sound version of its former self. We are adding drainage behind the wall as well as channel drains to alleviate the runoff issue down the steep path. The pathway will get base rock and a stabilized, decomposed granite surface that won’t wash out during the heavy rains.

The Lord and Schryver Conservancy is extremely grateful to a generous donor who made this project possible. Without such help, the wonderful Deepwood gardens would be but a shadow of its former glory. It’s exciting to be working toward the restoration of this gem of a City Park.

Mark Akimoff

Garden Manager|Curator

 

Seal Rock

In spring 1971, an aging Elizabeth Lord wrote about the Seal Rock Cottage in her garden journal:

“I had Ivan cut the alders – down the path way, that part has changed so much, a sweet little garden wild things growing along the wood edging – but 2 years and no attention became a mass of salal [Gaultheria shallon] & salmonberry [Rubus spectabilis] and no trace of a trail.  Kurt took out the wild planting of salal [Gaultheria shallon] where the honeysuckle [Lonicera] had entwined itself – this left a larger space I immediately filled with Marguerites and Digitalis. I shall keep it such in memory of Montague’s love of wild flowers. This was a trying year. I do not have the pep to do the heavy work about the place down here. Nature grows at its will and nothing can hold it back. “

Nature has been working on the Lord property at Seal Rock for a very long time. The constant moisture from the neighboring Pacific Ocean provides each plant with plenty of water. The coastal thickets of salal, salmonberry, and sword fern are dense underneath the canopy of spruce and shore pines. It defies imagination how the elk, such a large creature, can navigate these impenetrable seeming thickets with such ease.

The Seal Rock Cottage and Garden was an often used getaway for Elizabeth and Edith, mentioned frequently in Elizabeth’s journals from the mid-1930’s to the 70’s. Reading through the journals, one sees their desire to escape the Willamette Valley’s summer heat to revel in the cooler coastal conditions where plants such as heather, rhododendron, calla lilies and coastal natives thrived during the dog days of summer.

Several of us were fortunate to visit the Seal Rock Cottage and Garden on a recent stellar winter day. Carmen Lord, Elizabeth’s relative and the property’s owner, has the site up for sale. The hope is that the property is not sold to a developer but instead to someone who appreciates the history that runs deep and who wants to preserve what can be saved.

“Staying the 2 weeks at Seal Rock knowing the wet weather in August was helping the garden here and as the year of ’68 was an off year and about finished as far as gardening was concerned. I was happy knowing that I did not have too much to do, but could plan now for the year to come.”

Elizabeth Lord; Garden Journal 1968

Reserve Garden Restoration Update: Moving the Shed

The Reserve Garden Restoration project continues! The contractor braced up the shed and used a shoring crane to pick the building up and move it to the other side of the Reserve garden. With the shed out of the way, a mini-excavator is being used to remove the old concrete pad and dig down to make solid base for the new foundation.

We are so pleased to see this project coming along nicely!

The weatherman says this is the coldest Thanksgiving in years so bundle up. If you are traveling, we wish you a safe journey.

Happy Holidays!

The Reserve Garden Restoration

The much-anticipated restoration of the Reserve Shed and Garden area at Gaiety Hollow has begun! This project will lift the old shed, build a new foundation and floor under it and set it back in place. The concrete flat work in the garden area is being redone with the historical design and finish in mind. We are very excited to see this project underway and look forward to its completion this winter season.

A few modern updates will take place as well, with electricity added to the shed, relocation of the water hose bibs, and renovation of the planting bed. After the contractor work is completed, we will add a potting bench and cold frames for propagation.

A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped clean out the shed in preparation for this project. We are forever grateful for the dedicated support of hard-working volunteers who keep this garden looking great!

Stay tuned for updates on this winter project!

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