Even though this blog is named for Lord & Schryver’s home garden, I want to take this week to look at the gardens at Deepwood Museum & Gardens.
The gardens at Deepwood were one of Lord & Schryver’s earliest commissions. Alice Brown hired the firm in 1929 to help her create gardens spaces around her Victorian Era house. The house was built in 1894 and was considered one of the most beautiful and impressive in Salem at the time. However, it was built on a rise and the basement exposed. The surrounding landscape was not designed in tandem with the building’s architect.
Leaping forward to 1929, five years after Alice and Clifford Brown purchased the property, Alice decided that she needed help in designing the gardens around her home. Lord & Schryver, with their newly opened firm located within walking distance, made perfect sense. The gardens at Deepwood were designed and created over many years. In fact, the Scroll Garden was not created until 1936-37. The house and landscape were a challenge for L&S because they preferred to work with the architect to integrate the house and gardens. Although the sum of the gardens does not fit L&S’s standard design elements, the individual gardens are classic Lord & Schryver.
In the early 1980s, after the Deepwood estate had been purchased by the City of Salem, a group of volunteers came together to rejuvenate the gardens. Deepwood was the only publicly owned Lord & Schryver designed garden and provided an opportunity to beautify a community asset. Over time, an intrepid group of enthusiasts–including a few of the original volunteer gardeners–met to study Lord & Schryver and formed what is now the Lord & Schryver Conservancy. The gardens today exhibit L&S’s design principles, educate the public about their pioneering landscape designs, and provide a place of beauty and respite.
Today, volunteer gardeners still care for the historic gardens at Deepwood every Thursday morning, 9-noon. The gardens are inside the iconic green fence and open to the public every day of the week, free of charge, 5am until midnight. We hope that you visit and enjoy the many years of hard work and love that has renewed the gardens.