Hated weeds, take 2

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Last week, I left you all with a cliff-hanger. What is this weed that I loath?

Campanula rapunculoides

Campanula rapunculoides

This is Campanula rapunculoides aka creeping bellflower or rampion bellflower. It is native to Europe and Eurasia and was brought here as an ornamental garden plant. However, it quickly takes over a garden and makes it look messy and weedy. Over time, it will choke out favorite plants.

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Flowers

Like the Arum that I wrote about last week, C. rapunculoides has underground root structures that make it difficult to eradicate. Pulling the leaves will not remove the roots. A few surface roots will come up but, little do you know, 6 inches to a foot below the surface lurk large, fleshy, white tuber-like roots that hold energy to regenerate the plant.

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Roots with top growth and leaves

To get rid of the plant, you must remove all of the underground root structures. C. rapunculoides is resistant to some herbicides. Other herbicides must be applied more than once to fully kill the plants. In a garden setting, where C. rapunculoides likes to grow inside your perennial, it can be very difficult to apply an herbicide effectively.

Digging it out seems to be the only way to remove it in a garden. I have resorted to digging up perennials–like the peony in the photo above–and sorting out the roots before replanting. Undoubtedly, I have missed a few roots and constant vigilance is demanded to prevent it from taking over again.

C. rapunculoides

Hiding in the Phlox at Deepwood

When it is impossible to dig out the roots, like when it is growing in a boxwood hedge, the top growth can be pulled or an herbicide dabbed on. If the leaves and stems are removed as soon as they appear, eventually the roots will be depleted of energy and die. Always read the label of herbicides and do some basic research before applying to make sure that C. rapunculoides is susceptible and that conditions are favorable for the most impact. Remove all flowers before they spread their thousands of seeds to the wind.

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Growing in a calla lily

I want to stress that this plant is not classified as invasive in Oregon. However, it is an nuisance in the garden and one of the plants I am working hardest to eradicate. It is listed as invasive in other states.

I also want to point out that not all Campanula are evil. Lord & Schryver loved their Campanula medium, Canterbury bells, and so do I. They are lovely annual or biennial plants that die after flowering. They have no fleshy underground roots or runners to carry them to other places in your garden. There are many other Campanula species and cultivars sold in the nursery trade. Below are three different kinds of Campanula we grow at Gaiety Hollow and Deepwood.

 

Next week, we’ll cover one more weed. It  might be called “the scourge of Gaiety Hollow.” Can you guess what it is?

 

Our Top Most Hated Weeds

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Right now is the perfect time to tackle some of our most noxious garden weeds. At Gaiety Hollow, our problem weeds have underground energy storage systems that require them to be dug out.

Fall is a great time to remove these weeds for three reasons:

  • After the annuals have been removed and perennial plants have died back, it’s easier to see weeds.
  • The moisture in the late fall soil makes it easier to dig and do a thorough job of removal.
  • Some weeds are dormant in the summer and re-emerge at this time.

Which weeds plague us the most? I’ll cover our top three nemeses in the next two weeks. First up:

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Arum italicum

Arum italicum shows up at this time of year. Its glossy green, arrow-shaped leaves pop up through the garden soil after months of dormancy. In late spring, it flowers, a white-green spadix and spathe reminiscent of a calla lily or peace lily. In late summer, the fruit is red-orange and ornamental. Once you see the pretty green leaves in late autumn and the bright fruit, you understand why someone would grow it as an ornamental. On the other hand, once you see it taking over your shade garden, you will understand why I loath it.

Arum italicum

In a garden setting, it seems the only way to remove it is by digging. The leaf has a waxy coating that makes it almost impenetrable by herbicides. Pulling the leaves does not remove the the root structure below the ground–a corm–which stores energy so that if the leaf dies, it can regrow.

Digging seems to be the only way to take down the numbers, BUT you must do it right or you will end up with more plants.

When you dig Arum you have to be very careful. Go deep. As you lift a clump out of the ground, you will notice that there is a corm at the bottom of the leaf. Looking more closely, you may notice many, many more tiny brown daughter corms attached to the large corm (they look almost like a nut). If any one of these falls off, it becomes a new plant. This is the reason why some people say that digging Arum only produces more plants.

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My recommendation? Dig out Arum in clumps, put the corms and attached dirt directly into a garbage bag, tie the bag, and dispose of it in the garbage. You do not want to put the corms in compost (it will not get hot enough to kill the corms). Don’t try removing the dirt from the clump; you will unwittingly spread the minuscule daughter tubers. All of it should go in the trash.

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Corms disguised by dirt. Can you see the brown “daughter” corm in the center?

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arum corms

Unfortunately, you are not going to get out all the corms your first year tackling Arum. This is a multi-year eradication project. I’m on year two at Gaiety Hollow.

My second recommendation? Buy a new house with no Arum in the yard.

I’m only half kidding!

Whatever you do, do not introduce this plant to your garden. If you have Arum in your yard, assume that any plant you dig up could be contaminated and do not give it away to unsuspecting friends.

More information from the City of Portland and the National Park Service.

Next week, this little terror.

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Update: Brick walks

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The brick walk project is well underway! We are so thrilled to see the paths coming back together. The Autumn Leaf crew has been onsite for the past week and will continue work this week.

Before work commenced, I took over ninety photographs of the paths. Julian, foreman for this project, has them all printed out so that he can re-create the paths exactly as they were. He has found a few quirks that I had not noticed, like a course of cut bricks near the middle of a path. We have no records other than photographs to help us understand how the paths evolved over time. There are many days I wish Elizabeth had written something in her journal about bricks! Perhaps the paths were Edith’s forte.

We are making a few subtle improvements to the paths as we go forward. Pooling water was frequently a problem, so we have elected to gently raise the grade of some of the paths to increase drainage. We are re-using the old bricks as the walking surface throughout the Parterre Garden (Flower Garden). The brick borders will be completely replaced with new bricks. This will provide visual consistency and be easy for docents to  interpret. New bricks will also make up the path that leads to the Pergola.

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Julian at work this morning

As soon as the bricks are finished, we will start planting spring blooming bulbs. We’re already looking forward to our first Open Garden in March 2018!

Progress on the brick paths

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If you haven’t been to Gaiety Hollow in the past week, you might not recognize the Flower Garden!

Last Wednesday evening, Dave Hiser brought his youth group from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Salem to Gaiety Hollow. Racing against the setting sun, 25 energetic youth and 5 adult supervisors pulled up the brick paths, scraped off sand and mud, and stacked the bricks on pallets. The north path made of crumbling pavers and concrete was demolished with a sledgehammer and is heading to the landfill.

They finished the evening with zucchini bread, long drinks of cold water, and a group photo on the lawn.

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Thanks to these wonderful volunteers, the brick walks in the Flower Garden are almost ready for a make-over.

On Friday, our garden volunteers joined the efforts. Undeterred by rain, they cleaned up rubble, knocked out edging bricks, discovered more bricks hidden under an old path, and smoothed paths for walking. Pruning the boxwood away from the bricks elicited excitement from some, groans from others, and lots of jokes.

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There are still a few preparations to be done before our contractors come in–removing the short path going to the shed, taking out the edges of the paths–but we should be ready by early next week. The historic bricks are being saved so that masons can reuse them in the paths and retain the feeling of charm so integral to the gardens.

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When this construction is complete, the Flower Garden should look as Edith and Elizabeth intended it. Smooth paths. Clean edges in straight lines. No more pooling water. The pedestal and putto as the central focal point. Grass in the north path. Grass and a brick path to the Pergola. The geometry and bones that Edith and Elizabeth so purposefully laid out will be restored.

Words of caution: If you are visiting the garden as a volunteer or for a meeting during October, please approach Gaiety Hollow from Mission Street to avoid walking through the construction zone in the back gardens and to avoid interrupting our contractors when they are onsite. We want all of our visitors to be safe while at Gaiety Hollow. Thank you!

Changes are afoot at Gaiety Hollow

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This weekend are the last tours of the 2017 season. We have a garden tour at Deepwood Museum & Gardens at 9am. It is followed by a tour of the gardens at Gaiety Hollow at 10:30am. This is your last opportunity to see the Flower Garden at Gaiety Hollow before big changes take place!

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Come Monday morning, I will be in the garden digging (almost) everything up. The annuals will go to the great compost pile in the sky and the perennials and roses will find new homes with our volunteers. By Wednesday, the Flower Garden will look like a blank slate.

Wednesday evening, we are welcoming a crew of youth from the LDS church in south Salem. They will pull up the bricks from the paths in the Flower Garden, clean them, and stack them. I am so grateful to have their offer of help!

The following week, our contractor will come in with his crew and work will commence on the rehabilitation of the brick pathways. If you have been to Gaiety Hollow this season, you know that the paths are uneven, water pools in various sections, and the edging brick is spawling in places or leaning right and left.

September in the Flower Garden

When you come back to the gardens next spring, this will no longer be the case! We cannot wait to have the paths fixed so that they look as they did when Edith and Elizabeth gardened at Gaiety Hollow. The bricks will be clean, the path lines sharp and crisp, the pedestal at the center of the garden reconstructed, and grass will be reintroduced in two sections (including the path to the Pergola).

It is a very exciting time for the Lord & Schryver Conservancy. Many thanks to our grant partners, the Oregon Cultural Trust and the State Historic Preservation Office, to our donors, and to our volunteers, for making this project possible.

One Last Open House

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I had a meeting at the house this morning so I snuck in the back gate a little early to see the garden…gorgeous even on an overcast and smoky morning…the last open house of the season is coming up this Sunday the 10th, $5 each for adults…545 Mission Street starting at 10:00 a.m….you won’t be sorry.  The zinnias are beautiful and so is everything else!  Come walk through for a summer memory.

Historic roses at Gaiety Hollow

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Earlier this week, I had an epiphany as I looked at historic plans in our organization archives. Years ago, volunteers had Edith and Elizabeth’s hand-drawn plans for the gardens at Gaiety Hollow digitized. I have copies on my computer and refer to them often while doing research and planning. There is a sketch that I have often skipped over because I did not see it as particularly relevant.
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I had overlooked this drawing because it features a Vitex and Lonicera hedges that were never planted.

However, this week, I had a realization that the information written in the four inner flower beds might be very useful. We know from photographs that Edith and Elizabeth planted these beds with roses–roses that have long since disappeared.

So why could this sketch not tell me which roses Edith and Elizabeth preferred?

With the power of the internet, it didn’t take me long to generate a complete list of the roses on this plan, their type, their colors, and their year of introduction. And they match with our historic photographs.

  • ‘Butterfly’ (aka ‘Golden Butterfly’). Apricot yellow. 1920
  • ‘Sunburst’. Yellow-orange. 1911
  • ‘Constance.’ Golden yellow. 1915
  • ‘Los Angeles.’ Salmon. 1916
  • ‘Augusta Victoria’ (aka ‘Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria’). White, yellow center. 1911
  • ‘Mrs. Aaron Ward.’ Yellow blend. 1907
  • ‘Imperial Potentate.’ Carmine pink. 1921
  • ‘Lady Ashtown.’ Pink. 1904
  • ‘Duchess of Wellington.’ Yellow. 1909
  • ‘Mme. Edouard Herriot.’ Coral-red. 1912
  • ‘Golden Ophelia.’ Medium yellow. 1918
  • Mabel Morse. Golden yellow. 1922

It seems like an easy step forward for us to replant exactly what Edith and Elizabeth specified on this drawing. But historic preservation is never easy! We have no records that indicate these exact roses were ever installed. At the same time, we know that Edith and Elizabeth were critical of their gardens and flowers, frequently tossing out plants that did not meet their high standards. Perhaps these roses were planted in 1932 and then went into the compost heap within the next few years. We may never know. In addition, sourcing old roses can be difficult, as roses frequently drop out of trade as new cultivars are introduced. We might not be able to find these roses for purchase in the USA.

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Roses in the Flower Garden. Date unknown.

Nevertheless, I am excited about my discovery! The colors match our collection of historic photographs. I will use this list of roses to inform the type and color palette of the roses that I choose to plant in the coming year.

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‘Gruss an Coburg’ purchased by L&S for Deepwood

Many, many thanks to our volunteers who spent countless hours in the University of Oregon archives finding these scraps of information and paving the way for the restoration of the gardens.

Photographs and plans courtesy of the Lord & Schryver architectural records, Coll 098, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

 

August anticipation

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August is a month of activity at Gaiety Hollow. A month of welcoming visitors and a month of preparations and anticipation for major projects.

On the 5th, we welcomed our neighbors in Gaiety Hill to an evening in the garden. A highlight of the event was Chinese lanterns collected by by volunteer Valerie McIntosh hung throughout the garden. We hope to do more evening events in the future.

August 11th was the first Englewood Forest Festival. Englewood Park has strong ties to Lord & Schryver. Elizabeth Lord served on the first parks commission in 1936. She was instrumental in the design of the park and advocated for the preservation of the Oregon white oak stand which remains today. Ruth Roberts, a long-time volunteer with the Lord & Schryver Conservancy and perhaps our resident L&S historian, was interviewed on Willamette Wakeup on KMUZ. You can listen to the interview by following this link. Click on the “play” button for August 10th 8am show. Unfortunately, you have to listen to news before the interview comes up, but Ruth is well worth the wait! Many thanks to Ruth for giving such an articulate and insightful interview.

This past weekend was an Open Garden and this coming Saturday, to capitalize on eclipse viewers, we are open to the public again from 10:30-1:30pm.

We are also deep into the planning stages of major projects that will begin to take place next month. In late September, after the gardens have closed to the public for the season, work will begin on the repair of the brick walks through the parterre Flower Garden. The bricks will be taken up, sorted and cleaned, the path edges re-aligned and the grade raised, and then the bricks will be re-installed. Today, Joy Sears from the State Historic Preservation Office stopped by to help us choose replacement bricks. This is a very exciting project and will vastly enhance the look and feel of the Flower Garden.


Also later this season, we are improving the drainage in the West Allee. You might remember seeing the West Allee blocked off to visitors last winter and into this spring. If you stepped into the Allee, you were met by standing water and mud. We hope that putting in a drain and wells will solve this problem and improve the visitor experience.

If you haven’t been to Gaiety Hollow yet this season, don’t delay! We are open August 19, September 10 and 23rd. Check the website for more information.

Summer in blazing glory

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I don’t think I’ve ever experienced temperatures over 102 degrees. It’s not something I had on my “bucket list”. The Gaiety Hollow gardens seem to be taking it well, thanks to drip irrigation and some early morning sprinklers in the Flower Garden. Although we humans are wilting in the mid-day heat, the annual displays keep growing and filling the borders with color.

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Elizabeth and Edith’s grape vine is loaded with clusters of fruit this season. The hanging bunches of grapes give a distinctly southern European feel to the Pergola seating area. One has to wonder if they chose the grape after being inspired by gardens in France and Spain.

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The late summer flowers are beginning to show off. Elizabeth and Edith loved phlox for their old fashioned charm and lovely scent. A few stems cut and brought inside perfume and entire room.

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Dahlias, Verbena, jasmine tobacco, snapdragons, petunias, zinnias, and a rogue Queen Anne’s lace that I didn’t have the heart to pull, are filling up the garden with buckets of flowers. The honey scent of alyssum wafts through the Drying Garden.

We are planning to have the Gaiety Hollow gardens open for visitors the Saturday before the Eclipse. We hope to introduce Lord & Schryver’s garden and legacy to new guests while they are whiling away time in Salem before the Big Event. If you have friends or family in town, please bring them to the garden!

Eclipse Open Garden

 

Evening in the Garden

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We took a twilight tour of the gardens at Gaiety Hollow this evening and as usual found the garden beautiful and restorative.

If you want to ease into the Salem Art Fair this weekend let me suggest the Lord and Schryver tours which are Saturday the 22nd at 9:00 at Deepwood Museum & Gardens and at Gaiety Hollow beginning at 10:30.  The cost is $5 for those 16 and up.

So why do this?  Why go visit gardens planted in the 1930’s by people long gone?  Well in Garden Curator Lindsey Kerr’s absence I’ll suggest a few reasons.

These women, Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver, lived here in Salem.  They designed cutting-edge gardens of great beauty for Salemites and for others across the Northwest.  They were rigorous, talented and interesting, and if you live in Salem they are a part of your history!  Come see the garden and learn their story, your back-story.

Walk through these garden gates and step back in time.  For the most part people don’t design or maintain gardens like this anymore. We are now into efficient, low water, low maintenance gardens. Here is a chance to see a house and garden designed and now maintained from another world altogether…and it is a captivating garden and a captivating world.

Come and see plant varieties and combinations that are “old fashioned” and yet totally up to date. Giant white hydrangeas, Nicotiana alata spilling out of beds, delphinium, grapes…ideas abound in this historic garden for modern gardeners.

Escape.  And this garden has been providing a breathing space for me and many others for years…always delightful, ALWAYS ALIVE, always a balm.

See you Saturday!