Getting ready for fall.

With temperatures hitting nearly one hundred this week, many of us are yearning for fall. At the Lord and Schryver Conservancy, fall preparation is already underway. We work hard to share the designs of Lord and Schryver by recreating several each year. One area requiring significant prep work is our annual Tulip display.

Remember Gaiety Hollow’s wonderful, early Spring Tulip display planted after a 1934 plan? Recreating the annual flower bulb show takes months of planning, from the proper harvesting and storage of last year’s bulbs, to selecting one of Edith and Elizabeth’s planting plans, finding cultivars and color matches, and placing orders. For 2021, we will be recreating the 1956 bulb planting plan.

The 2020 spring bulb display at Gaiety Hollow.
Last year, bulbs were lifted, soaked in a sulfur solution, and then wrapped in burlap so the leaves had a chance to die back. Learn more about harvesting tulips in this blog post: https://gaietyhollow.com/2020/05/04/busy-times-in-the-garden/

First, Tulip bulbs are graded by size, with the largest ones saved for replanting.
Next, bulbs are removed them from their burlap bags, re-sorted into (hopefully) flowering-sized bulbs, placed in brown paper bags with a teaspoon of sulfur dust to prevent mold and rot, and stored in a cool, dark location.
This fall we will recreate the 1956 bulb plan.

Each year brings a new challenge and a design to create. I will be busy pouring through some of the old flower bulb catalogs searching for the appropriate color, height, and character of the 1956 bulb plan to match it as closely as possible. We are lucky that Edith and Elizabeth kept such great records of their home garden displays.

Straub Outdoors Summer Camp Visits Gaiety Hollow

It was a fun week filled with the sound of kids laughing and learning at Gaiety Hollow. Straub Outdoors brought a small group of science summer students to learn about Lord and Schryver, carnivorous plant biology and pollinators in the garden.

The big oak tree at the top of the West Allee was a hit with the students, and a lot of fun was had dissecting the stomach contents of the Carnivorous Sarracenia purpurea and leucophylla plants that were chock full of insects when viewed under the microscope. The students participated in a pollinator scavenger hunt around the garden as well.

We were pleased to partner with Straub Outdoors to offer this student learning opportunity and hope to work with this organization again in the future. What a great opportunity for the Lord and Schryver Conservancy to be a resource for learning in the community!

Summer Proper

Sometimes even the weather doesn’t want to admit that summer is actually here! What an interesting weather pattern we’ve had the past week, from highs in the 90’s, to rainy and in the 50’s…I guess this is Oregon’s way of announcing that summer has truly arrived.

No matter what the weather, Independence Day is rapidly approaching and with it a plethora of flowers!

Elizabeth was a keen observer of the weather and how it effected flowering:

June 28, 1937

Weather turned hot up to 90 degrees after heavy rain of one week. Garden hurt somewhat by storm. Erigeron lovely. Delphinium nice, but too tall. Center ones front should be taken out. Put Lamartine [Delphinium ‘Lamartine’] in front of Chinese Jar. Take out Hemerocallis along by pink Lupinus.

The Poppies, Delphiniums and Roses were well underway for Father’s Day.

Some random garden journal notes from Mark:

At Deepwood, the Phlox in the Teahouse Garden seems early as it pushes into full bloom. Powdery mildew was trying to show up with the alternating heat and rain, so the Azaleas and Phlox received a fungicide treatment to stave it off. The Heliotrope seems to be struggling, despite being from the same batch that has done so well at Gaiety Hollow. This is the never-ending challenge to a horticulturalist…some plants do so well while others, despite the coddling and attention, just decide to up and die.

At Gaiety Hollow, the Reserve Garden fence work continues with a reinforcement post set in the fence panel. The temperature seems to have moderated and we look forward to a spell of decent weather for the Fourth of July weekend.

Cheers,
Mark

Compass Rose Restoration at Deepwood

The Old Brick and Mortar Compass Rose at Deepwood got a Makeover!

Over time, the brick flatwork feature that is a focal point of the path junctions between the lower walk, the Scroll Garden and the stairs to the terrace had been sinking below grade. Thanks to a generous donor we were able to hire Riverdale Landscape Construction to return it to its proper grade and location. This marks the completion of the Lower Terrace renovation that has taken place over the past year and we are excited to have this project wrapped up.

The below 1945 drawing shows the proper location of the Compass Rose.

The Compass Rose when work began, partiallay buried in mud and tilting far off grade.
A good deal of hand work went into this project.
Moving slowly and carefully to avoid breakage which would require rebuilding from scratch, the Riverdale crew was able to get straps under and lift it.
Robert Crown carefully moved the Compass Rose with a mini track hoe.
Thankfully, the Compass Rose stayed together while being moved.
A base of uncompacted river rock and soil, resulting in the Compass Rose slowly sinking below grade.
A laser level was used to mark the proper grade.
Only a few bricks were damaged at the edge where the straps made contact. The Riverdale crew glued them back into place.
The Compass Rose returned to it’s proper grade and alignment. It looks much bigger now that it is cleaned up!

A big thanks goes to Robert Crown and the crew at Riverdale Landscape Construction. They were great to work with and really understood the significance of the historical landscape. They were meticulous and careful and their dedication to fine work was visible in the finished product.

Others have contributed to the recent restoration projects at Deepwood, making it feel like a team effort. I’d like to take a moment to thank them.

First and foremost, I would like to thank our anonymous donor who made this work possible, without the money in the bank account none of this would have happened. Thank you so much for your contributions to Salem’s gardens. Your efforts at restoration are making a lasting contribution to the rich history of this place and we are so grateful for you.

I’d like to thank David Lichter for his tireless efforts to preserve the historical accuracy of the garden projects. We have him to thank for the perfect alignment of the north arrow on the compass rose and countless other details that might have gone unnoticed.

A big thanks to Russell Schutte for his work with the City of Salem historical preservation folks, making sure we are doing things the right way.

Thanks to Brian Smith with the City of Salem for his contributions to these projects, from working with contractors, to provide access for tools and equipment, to bringing in loads of gravel when we came up short. Brian and his teammate Amanda are great to work with.

A huge thanks to the Lord and Schryver Conservancy gardeners at Deepwood, the regulars Lysa, Karen, Sue, Donna, and a bunch of folks that might not make it all the time but whose contributions are much appreciated. Without you keeping the gardens looking great, I wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to these special projects that really make our organization a unique piece of Salem’s historical gardens.

And to the rest of you who make this possible through your continued support, I can tell you that in the many hours I spend at Deepwood, the “ooh’s and ahh’s” as a visitor turns the corner to take in another vista in the garden really do make it all worth it. Thank you All!

The Boxwood Season

It’s that season again where the boxwood must be sheared. A time that will leave any Lord and Schryver gardener with burning arms and an aching back. But the reward is a worth it as the backdrop of tightly manicured hedges perfectly frame the colorful summer annuals and perennials. This year we are closely watching the boxwood due to a rapidly spreading blight. Boxwood blight is caused by the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata which can cause rapid defoliation of even large and apparently healthy boxwood in a very short time.  It is usually fatal and once a garden is infected the main course of action is removal and destruction of the plants. We are undergoing a very rigid inspection process, followed by proper cultural controls and a regular chemical treatment program to try to keep this destructive disease out of the gardens.

In between icing sore muscles from pruning the miles of boxwood maintained by the Lord and Schryver Conservancy, I’ve been pruning the Rhododendrons now that they have finished blooming. We will utilize the newly restored Reserve Garden to keep a steady supply of blooming plants on hand to fill in the garden as needed throughout the summer. For a fun rotation of long season color, we are planting summer bulbs like gladiolus and acidanthera in pots at two week intervals. This allows us to stagger the bloom time and also fill in spots in the garden that need color tweaks as we move through the season.

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Board member, Karen Freeman, busy learning a new skill. Clipping round hedges is an art, requiring a steady hand and good eye. A template and some measuring tools don’t hurt either!

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The Teahouse Garden at Deepwood, standard roses in full bloom, the boxwood neatly clipped and the summer annual season well underway.

The weather has been perfect for doing boxwood this week, highs in the 70’s so not too hot. Never shear boxwood on high heat days in the full sun as opening up the new tender foliage underneath can lead to sunburn. Cooler, wetter weather is on its way…conditions that can encourage the spread of boxwood blight.

The delphiniums, foxgloves and roses are following the peonies into full bloom and looking spectacular in the garden!

Happy gardening,

Mark

 

 

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The say Horticulture is an art and a science and the perfect trimming of an intense boxwood planting like the parterre at Gaiety Hollow certainly requires an artists touch

May Flowers

May 21

Laburnum beautiful this year. Bechtel crab [Malus ioensis plena] lasting well. Hawthorns good color. These tree(s) bloom together. Iris in bloom by May 12th. Poppy not yet started. Color combinations good are:

Side Garden.

Red Star Columbine [Aquilegia coerule] pretty with Hawthorn

Cherry Tulips [ Tulipa ‘Cherry Pink’?] tall & lovely just about gone—color not good with Hawthorn.

Iris pale lavender & I. ‘Susan Bliss’ good together – get darker shade near rock wall to place with this Iris. Purple violet nice with this Iris.

Elizabeth Lord Garden Journal 1937

 

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Columbine ‘Ruby Port’ looking splendid against the parterre bricks, with the yellow Roses starting to bloom.

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Aquilegia vulgaris with Foxgloves emerging in the background.

It was a soaker of a Monday with sporadic rains so far this week.  The recently planted summer annuals welcome the moisture as they get established. One thing I have noticed from reading the journal entries is that a many of the biennials and perennials including Digitalis, Papaver, Peonies and Delphinium bloomed much later for Edith and Elizabeth. In the journals,  these flowers are often mentioned in June and sometimes into July. Surely makes one wonder about the changing weather patterns and the phenology study one could run comparing the bloom times listed in the journals to the dates we see today.  I would love to have the journals for the missing decades (1945-1965) as they might provide some insight into the changes over the years.

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83 years to the day after the journal entry the Hawthorns at the entrance gate are blooming as if on cue.

 

Happy Gardening!

Mark

Buying Local Part 2

 

If the decade was the 1950’s, and Edith and Elizabeth wanted to do some plant shopping, there was a good chance they were headed to Brydon’s Nursery. Located where the Pringle Park Plaza is today, it was just a stone’s throw from Gaiety Hollow.

Founded by Percy H. “Jock” Brydon, the nursery specialized in Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Jock was a founding member of the American Rhododendron Society and it’s first Vice President. He had an amazing horticultural career. In addition to being a Nursery owner and Director of San Francisco’s Strybing Arboretum, Mr. Brydon helped propagate the 2,000 original plants that would become the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden located in Federal Way, Washington.

In 1971, the California Horticulture Society gave Jock its highest award for Outstanding Contribution to Horticulture in California. Also in 1971, the American Rhododendron Society awarded Jock its Gold Medal Award. Finally, in 1976, the American Horticulture Society awarded him a Citation for Outstanding Contribution for Professional Horticulture.

 

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A Brydon newspaper advertisement from 64 years ago

Knight Library Home Garden Dogwood + Focal Point, West Allee May 1950

Gaiety Hollow’s West Allee in the 1950’s. Brydon’s Nursery was likely a source and inspiration for the many Rhododendrons and Azaleas that line the West Allee.

 

It must have been nice to have such a great nursery just a few blocks away.  One can imagine Elizabeth and Edith strolling up Gaiety Hill on a beautiful spring day to browse through the plant selection when the Azaleas were in bloom.

Speaking of Azaleas, if you grow the deciduous types do check your plants for Azalea sawfly larvae this time of year. We have seen an outbreak on the Azaleas in the Scroll Garden at Deepwood and even removed a few larvae from the Evergreen Garden at Gaiety Hollow. These small, green caterpillar-like insects will do a fantastic amount of damage to your plants if unchecked, eating the leaves down to nothing but the midrib. Spinosad is an effective control measure after handpicking or washing them off.

It’s been a wet week at Gaiety Hollow. The Camellia pruning is almost completed for the year, just in time to shape the Boxwood and Rhodododenrons.

Happy Gardening!

Mark

The Importance of Buying Local

“Petunia dble Purple, Petunia Elks Pride, Petunia La Paloma, Petunia Neore White, Purchased at Egan Gardens, Spring 1953”

Fortunately for me, Edith and Elizabeth kept meticulous records of plant purchases throughout the years. At the Lord & Schryver Conservancy, we rely upon those records along with hand drawn plans, notes on planting combinations and our pictorial archive to recreate the plantings that Edith and Elizabeth did over time in the Parterre Garden at Gaiety Hollow.

On a recent visit to Egan Gardens, I was happy to see the staff as busy as ever with the parking lot packed and the majority of patrons respectful of social distancing and wearing face masks.

I’m happy that we have such a longstanding relationship with this excellent grower of summer annuals. Edith and Elizabeth were long time customers and we continue that relationship today.  With the way Covid-19 has disrupted supply chains, having a local business that you can count on is a wonderful thing.

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Ellen Egan graciously donated one of her Dad’s original propagation flats for a display we are working on in the Reserve Garden at Gaiety Hollow

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Ellen shared some of her memories on growing up in a nursery family

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Bill passed the torch to Ellen and she has kept the business going strong for decades now.

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Petunias from Egan Gardens are staged in the recently restored Reserve Garden to await planting for the summer show.

 

Someone once said, “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy local and it’s kind of the same thing.”

Every local business that we support through this rough time builds resilience in our community and that is no small thing. By supporting local companies, we are ensuring that the money spent stays as close to home as possible, creating opportunities for those around us.

Thanks to local nurseries like Egan Gardens, Rocky Mountain Nursery, Wavra Farms, Terra Gardens and the Chemeketa Community College Horticulture program for supplying us with plants and helping keep our community looking beautiful through these difficult times.

Hope all the Mothers had a wonderful day of celebration this weekend. We wish you many happy moments to come.

Mark

Busy Times in the Garden

On a recent visit to Sebright gardens I was excited to see a selection of Dwarf bearded Iris in many pastel shades that Elizabeth and Edith would have been thrilled to encounter. Early journal notes show how they loved to combine dwarf and miniature Iris with low groundcovers such as Golden Alyssum and Violas. They were constantly playing with different color combinations.

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Iris ‘Clear Blue Sky” alongside Golden Alyssum and Bowles Mauve Wallflower make a wonderful impression in the Drying Garden.

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Mark demonstrating an old fashioned technique for ripening Tulips.  After blooming, the tulips are dug up, bundled together, dipped in sulfur for a fungicidal effect and then wrapped in burlap so the foliage will be absorbed to form flower buds for next year.

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The tidy bundles of Tulip bulbs will be allowed to get some sun, but the bulbs are kept shaded and cool. This allows us to make room for the summer annual plantings.

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A new tool for an old technique!

Some time ago, I was talking to Mrs. Strand about the Prunus hedge in the alleyway. She told me that she used to pay a man to trim it every year and he would do it with a machete! She said it was the straightest, neatest work and the hedge always looked best after a machete trim. Recalling my days as a Christmas Tree farm worker, the cultured Christmas trees around the valley are trimmed with a thin-bladed machete-like knife that is so sharp you could shave with it. This seemed an ideal tool to do the Prunus hedge as the Strands did when they were caretaking the garden.

So, on a recent visit to the horticultural supply store, I picked one up and gave it a shot. I will say that, while it is much easier to get a nice straight line with the Christmas Tree knife, it sure does give the swinging arm a workout! A bit of advice, the German-made blades are thinnerso will only cut the finest new growth, while American-made blades are thicker with more backbone for cutting the woodier material.

It was a fun week of trying out some old, time-proven techniques in a garden with a long and storied past. The Camellias are finishing up the bloom so it is on to trimming those. No machete work there, just hand clippers and an orchard ladder for that task.

Mark

The Late 30’s Flower Bulbs

April 15-1938

“Flower Garden [illegible] double Peach pretty with blue Forget-me-nots [Myosotis] under. Double pink tulips edging of white viola. Lavender viola under standard roses – nearby short lavender Iris. Pale yellow double tulips and Aubrieta – Blue Scillas. This grouping pretty. Rose beds in purple violas. Safrano tulip [Tulipa ‘Safrano’] and short yellow Iris low white with yellow Alyssum. White hyacinths – White arabis with large white English double daisy. Pink Quince apple blossom [Chaenomeles ‘Apple Blossom’] with pink (2 shades) hyacinths. Pink bleeding heart with peach tree with Forget-me-nots [Myosotis scorpioides] + striped clusiana tulip [Tulipa clusiana]. Primroses – blue & lavender shades – pale yellow hyacinths + cream early tulips just in bud. Malus spectabilis bud same as Viburnum carlesii – one bud Viburnum just finishing. Primroses – pinkish tone with Viola rosea. Yellow with Tulipa ‘Marechel Niel’ + yellow (primrose) viola -with white Kamelia [Camellia? Kalmia?]”

Elizabeth Lord

 

The above garden journal entry gives you some idea of the meticulous detail that went into Lord and Schryver’s flower plans. Combinations were noted and remarked on constantly. Unfortunately, missing from our Archive are journal entries for the 1940’s-1960’s. It’s a shame we don’t have these later journal entries, as we could then recreate other portions of the garden, such as we did this year with the 1939-40 flower bulb plan.

These journals have shown me which flower and color combinations were generally preferred by Lord & Schryver. But I must say after my last year of journal research, these two ladies loved to change things up!

The sunshine was prolific this past week, with a day of rain over the weekend to freshen things up. It’s making for wonderful growing conditions in the garden.

Hope everyone is staying healthy and safe!

Mark