Stormy Weekend


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We’re in the middle of stormy weekend here…we left the fireside for a coffee and I did a quick tour of the garden.


Interestingly, aside from the grape leaves on the arbor, the fall color visible is mostly from trees in the neighboring yards…Gaiety Hollow is still green, but fading.






Arbor progress is being made…in spite of less than ideal conditions…



and a few tiny bits of color have floated into the pool…


Stay dry out there!!

Meet Lindsey Kerr!


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Today was our new garden advocate/curator’s first meeting with the volunteers at Gaiety Hollow.  Lindsey Kerr is newly arrived from Connecticut where she has been managing a private estate garden since finishing her graduate work.  I went along to meet Lindsey so I could introduce her to you, but first had to wander the garden.  On Friday the story is a little different than my usual solitary adventures.  The people who do the work to keep this garden beautiful are actually in the garden every Friday…


Serious dead-heading was going on…



work on the bench and the arbor progresses…guess who?


Name tags were in order today…


tools and snacks at the ready…


…special delivery from Amazon…


Gretchen and Lindsey talk boxwood…


a maverick.


I take a turn through the garden…



our vintage view for today…



before getting down to work.  I wanted to get a picture of Lindsey and the volunteers “in the garden”…so here they are.


And here’s Lindsey Kerr.  As she settles in, she will be in the garden everyday.  She’ll be learning about Oregon plants and climate, as well as trying to absorb the history of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver as plants-women and architects.  She feels this is especially important so that she understands the right plant choices and care of the garden going forward.  She is interested in meeting you and looks forward to jumping into the Gaiety Hollow community with both feet.  Soon she will be writing blog posts about her daily activities in the garden as well as her thoughts for the future.  You will enjoy meeting her, I know.


In the meantime…watch for those spider webs…this one especially beautiful this morning, filled with dew.



Fall is Here!


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After a too-long absence I stepped into the garden today and as usual was delighted by the fresh beauty awaiting me on this bright and sunny and warm fall Sunday.


At the back gate I noted the wonderful copper covering of the curved wooden element on the gate frame…to keep the water out of the wood I presume, and before long it will be as green as the gate but TODAY the copper shone in the sun…

9-25-1The flowers I watched the volunteers plant in the spring are in their last real blaze…



and I then headed to the grape arbor to see the progress the builders have made.  They are, bit by bit, replacing all the wooden elements without disturbing this key central bit of hardscape.  It has been fascinating to watch…





They are even removing the comfy bench and lattice under the arbor (where I have spent a LOT of time looking and drawing)…here it is in spring

L&S winter 2013 arbor and boy

and today dismantled for repair and replacement…



and here’s a vintage shot of the arbor…

Knight Library Home Garden Pergola looking east Lantern Slide

This week I hope to meet up with the builders and bring you more inside info…until then, watch out for those September spider webs!


Donald Olson to speak

Join us September 9th in the garden, 6:00 -7:15 (545 Mission Street, Salem) to meet author Donald Olson who will present a talk across the street at the new Bush Barn Annex at 7:30…  “Five Remarkable Women, Four Remarkable Northwest Gardens”…  Donald Olson has published a book called “The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour: The Sixty Best Gardens to visit in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.”  Tickets are $25 and are available online at

Passion, ambition,

determination—every great

garden has a

human story to tell.

The evening begins in the garden at Gaiety Hollow with a wine social. The presentation is a short stroll away at the new Bush Barn Annex. Donald Olson will be available after the presentation to answer questions and sign copies of his best-selling guide, The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour—The Sixty Best Gardens
to Visit in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.


Summer Arbor Project


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Stepping into the garden this morning was the usual pleasure…in this case the pleasure of high summer in a gorgeous garden…a cool summer morning, a riot of blooms…






but pretty much immediately I knew something was afoot…


the skilled volunteers have the slow and tricky problem of replacing all the wooden members of the gorgeous grape arbor (without disturbing the vines)…board by board.







during the Strands’ years in the garden their son Dale had carefully tried to preserve the arbor and it’s original fabric…


but these “fixes” have now rotted as well…another solution involving concrete bases so wooden members are not in contact with the soil…as well as pressure treated wood for the bases…



It’s slow and painstaking work but they are making headway…and then there’s the matter of paint…



Stay tuned for a progress report.  One more glance…



In Memoriam


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Gardens have so many functions when you stop to consider it.  They provide us with places to work, to think, to create, to celebrate and to mourn.  They offer us the positive joy and renewal of spring and growth, and they offer the silent solace we often need in times of sadness.

under the arbor

the allee

Gaiety Hollow sits in an historic residential neighborhood, born in 1987 and parented by Dwight Smith.  Dwight and his wife Pat lived in a nearby 1932 Clarence Smith designed house which also had a Lord & Schryver garden (1938),

Dwight's House

Gretchen 1

and they became interested in the Lord & Schryver narrative, of which they had become a part .  Dwight worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation and researched and wrote extensively about bridges and highways in the state of Oregon, co-authoring “Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon” with James Norman,

Dwight 1Dwight 2

as well as preparing the nomination document for the Gaiety Hill/Bush’s Pasture Park Residential Historic District.

Sunday, at Gaiety Hollow, friends and family gathered to remember Dwight…and how he would have appreciated such a gathering in this garden.  Words were spoken, acquaintances were renewed, toasts were made to Dwight and his friendship, his ironic humor, his love of preservation, and all things Oregon.  And a silent toast from at least one person to the garden itself.   Salute!

beginning to gather


chocolate things

Garden Tour Time!


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Where did May go?  The gardeners were busy getting Gaiety Hollow looking it’s best for the annual Gilbert House Garden Tour this coming Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4.  There will be 12 gardens in South Salem open to the public and this is always a great and very fun event.  Entrance to the Gaiety Hollow garden will be from the alley just half a block north of the Mission Street address.  The tour hours are 10-4 and Saturday is predicted to be 100 so hats, sunscreen, water bottles are in order!  I took a walk through the garden yesterday and it is AMAZING at the moment…ROSES are in bloom.  Here’s your preview but believe me, you have to come see and smell the roses.

GH 1

GH 2

GH 3




GH 9GH 8GH 7

GH 14

GH 11

GH 10

GH 12

GH 13GH 4


Open Garden!


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A sunny 75 degree day today gets us all in the garden mood…for working AND for visiting.  Gaiety Hollow will begin the open garden season this year on Sunday the 10th of April, open from 1-4, 545 Mission Street SE.  If you make your way there this Sunday you’ll see that the garden is very lovely indeed, which I noted when I visited the other day…come visit!!!  Here’s a preview…

looking south

looking west

looking north (1)


kitchen garden




tree peony


See you Sunday!

boxwood put


Wet and Blooming!


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I headed to the garden this morning, even though it was cold and raining, and it was so beautiful…as it always is, though every visit is a little bit different…for one thing, the fountain is all done!!

fountain 1

fountain 2

The Cherries are in bloom…


cherry 2


the volunteers are back to their Friday work sessions…

Gretchen (1)

east toward arbor

Today they planted pansies…

Mollie (1)


the allee is shaggy and wildly in bloom…

allee southalee north

the crab apples across the street in Bush’s Pasture Park (many planted by Lord and Schryver as a sort informal test garden) are in bloom, over 25 varieties in that little corner of the park…


blossoms and fallen blossoms are everywhere…



but today I came bearing gifts.  Staunch garden supporter David Specht found these two books in a Newport thrift store…

the books

the first was Elizabeth Lord’s Chaucer text book when she was a high school student at St. Helen’s Hall (now called the Oregon Episcopal School), class of 1904…

Insciption Chaucer

St. Helen's Hall

The second book a guide to Holland given to Lord by Amy Ballard in June of 1927,


just before she set off on the three month tour of European gardens.  It was on this trip that Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver met and began imagining a landscape architecture practice in Salem, Oregon.  David’s sharp eye has provided the Conservancy with a couple of treasures.  (Note: the Lords had a beach house in nearby Seal Rock, just a stone’s throw from Newport.)  Thank you David!


Spring is on the Way!


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I headed to Gaiety Hollow yesterday to check progress on the reflecting pool…this work generously funded by an anonymous donor.  I always know when there’s a truck in the driveway SOMETHING is under way!


It was the guys from Autumn Leaf Landscaping…



the little reflecting pool used to look like this…

ice on the pond

and was never plumbed…maybe just filled with the garden hose.  Thanks to the donor the pool will be plumbed and have a pump that will pump recycled water keeping the pool fresh…and the process included this (i.e. electrical AND plumbing)…



and in the meantime board members Ross Sutherland and David Lichter managed to locate a putto to go in the center of the pool when complete…


Take a look at this vintage photo showing the original…

Knight Library Home Garden Ev Garden, Lantern Slide

After checking work progress I strolled the garden with Board President Bobbie Dolp who told me these pavers are coming up this spring to be replaced with grass, as it was originally…


and the garden is still beautiful in in its shaggy late winter state…with lots blooming…

GH12 (1)




And Bobbie mentioned the plan to replace the entire pergola, bit by bit, this coming summer…

gartden 2

Additionally Dolp said…

“There is much that is glorious.  The camellias, viburnum and daphne are in full glory at the moment.  The flowering trees are just waiting for a few more days of warmth.

This week the reflecting pool is being restored.  There is even an appropriate putto to grace the scene.  The carpentry crew has continued to work on the perimeter fences.  We also have some grant money for new tools so some of those old gems can be replaced.

There is much to do; the grape on the pergola needs to be cut back along with some of the epimediums that got by the trimming last fall.  Roses need pruning.  And then of course there are those plants that love to challenge our determination.”

Friday volunteer work parties begin soon…consider coming to work in an amazing garden…