Late Summer At Gaiety Hollow

From Elizabeth Lord’s Garden Journal:

August 20, 1936

“Returned from Seal Rock on 15th; garden looked pretty good. Harlan did watering, outskirts not well done – on the whole not so bad.

Big hole back of white lilac. Delphinium not grown. Place Iris there.

Main walk not bad. Purple Petunias. Flesh Zinnia pumila & [Zinnia elegans] ‘Polar Bear’. Gladiolus. Another year try – blue Ageratum, Pink Zinnias or Yellow and White Petunia. Believe stock could be planted in Reserve garden for picking.”

Pink Zinnias, Blue Ageratum, and Purple Petunias in the Gaiety Hollow garden today. It’s fun to try to picture the garden as it would have appeared in 1936.
The Delpinium rebloom is a late summer treat.

One really can’t blame Elizabeth and Edith for escaping Salem’s summer heat for the cool ocean breezes.

The late summer flower walk this year with a nod to the journal entries of the 1930’s. The second bloom on the Delphiniums together with colorful heat-loving Cosmos and Zinnias have provided a steady show. Visitors are drawn to the Annabelle Hydrangea with her oversized pom-poms as well as the large Dahlias.

Ruth Roberts recently shared a gardening gem passed along by Fran Duniway, who advised “Look for the softest of yellows as they go with almost any color in the garden.” You can see how the Shasta Daisy’s soft yellow works better than the harsh yellow of the Zahara Zinnia.

I love mining knowledge and advice from older, more seasoned gardeners. Early in my career I worked beside Jack Poff, Mrs. Berry’s longtime gardener. Jack often rambled on about Mrs. Berry’s persnickty gardening ways. I learned it to my advantage to let Jack ramble on as I always picked up a nugget of advice. That ability to extract little nuggets of knowledge has served me well throughout my career. Like the Greek philosopher Diogenes said, “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”

Pale yellow Marigold ‘Kilimanjaro White’ fills the late summer border, complementing the Zinnias. Many visitors have asked about this flower at both Gaiety Hollow and Deepwood.

As the busy work in the garden starts to wind down, we look forward to cooler autumn temperatures as we begin the fall cleanup process. In the meantime, we enjoy the many blossoms and fruits of our spring and early summer labor.

Mark

The Tulip Famine of 1944

After vacation, it was back to work finishing up the fall bulb orders for Deepwood and Gaiety Hollow. I had one European company tell me that some bulbs are in short supply this year. This may be due to the early Covid-19 lockdown in Europe and reduced international air travel.

Here is an interesting anecdote from my recent catalog research on recreating Gaiety Hollow’s 1956 historic bulb planting plan. I noticed that Wayside Garden’s 1944 catalog had a tiny quarter-page listing for tulips. In contrast, the years before and after had pages and pages of the ubiquitous bulbs so loved by Edith and Elizabeth.  

The 1944 Wayside catalog lists only 10 tulip varieties.

It so happens that during the last winter of World War II, the Allied forces participated in the failed Operation Market Garden, otherwise known as the Battle of Arnhem. The Allies attempted to retake the area by the Dutch/German border utilizing paratroopers and ground forces. Ultimately, the Nazis stopped the Allies before the Rhine River, resulting in the deaths of 500 Dutch civilians, 15,000 allied troops and 8,000 Nazis.

The winter of 1944-45, later known as the Hongerwinter or “Dutch Hunger Winter”, found civilians in the famous bulb growing region facing starvation. The population was forced to live on rations of 400-800 calories per day; to survive, people ate grass and tulip bulbs. As the season’s tulip crop had not yet been planted, people turned to tulip bulbs as a carbohydrate-rich food source. Tulip bulbs were promoted by food agencies as a surrogate for potatos, and local newspapers shared recipes for tulip bulb soup, porridge, mashed tulip bulbs, vegetables with tulip bulbs, fried and roasted bulbs, and savory and sweet tulip bulb cookies. 

The spring tulip display at Gaiety Hollow
The 1956 Wayside catalog has dozens of pages of tulips

No matter how bad the current times seem, and even if we have a shortage of tulips this year for the garden display, I feel it’s important to take time to be thankful for what we do have. Times may be tough, but it’s not 1944 and we aren’t having to eat the tulips stored in the Gaiety Hollow garage for the coming planting season. I’m thankful to work at an organization with so many dedicated volunteers and under the leadership of a kind and thoughtful executive director and a board with diverse talents. I’m thankful for my health and the health of my family.   

Mark

Summer adventures

I took some time off last week and headed to the coast to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. While there, I took a side trip with my family to visit the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve, a hidden gem of a garden along the Central Oregon Coast just north of Yachats.

The garden was started in 1981 by Jim and Janice Gerdemann as a place to test the hardiness of rare and unusual plants. Jim was a renowned mycologist, with a PhD in plant pathology from UC Berkeley. He studied Rhododendrons as well as other unusually species with a focus on the interaction between mycorrhizae and plants.

After the Gerdemanns passed away, a portion of the property was put into a conservation easement with trails connecting to the neighboring national forest. The house and rest of the gardens are open by appointment only so while I missed them this visit, I plan to return next spring. What a great place to observe and study for those interested in preserving the gardens of Lord and Schryver.

What a way to preserve a garden legacy! The naturalistic areas are open to the public year-round, the manicured gardens may be viewed on docent led tours, and the home may be rented through Airbnb!

The large-leaved Rhododendrons, ferns and massive old growth Sitka spruce give an almost subtropical feel to the garden situated just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean.
A bench in a nook filled with unusual plants.
Dad admiring a 300-year-old Sitka spruce. The plaque said it survived World War 1 logging operations that sent many of trees to the massive spruce mill at Fort Vancouver and eventually to the European war theater as airplane parts.

Assuming we are no longer sequestered at home in spring 2021, the Gerdemann Botanic Preserve will be on the volunteer gardeners’ field trip list!

Stay well,

Mark

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