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.
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.
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.
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.