Return of the Horticulture Book Club


As the weather starts to cool and the days shorten, we look forward to reconvening our Horticulture Book Club…and invite you to join us!

Our book club is a casual, yet serious reading group driven by the interests of our members. We read general interest horticulture books chosen by the members of the group. Our meetings include some lively conversation, an opportunity to make new friends and a snack.

We meet in the living room at Gaiety Hollow, located at 545 Mission Street SE, Salem. Our first meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 10 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.  We will continue to meet on the second Tuesday of each month through next March, when we head outside once again with our gardening gloves!

No book has been assigned for the September meeting. Hopefully, you have read, or are reading something that you would like to share with the group. Perhaps you found a good read over the summer and could give us a short review.  One member will tell us about The Botany of Desire, a classic she is reading now. We will then discuss which books we want to pursue as a group for both October and November.

If you are interested in joining our Horticulture Book Club, or need more information, please contact Ruth Roberts at or (503) 581-0774.


The Summer Garden at Gaiety Hollow

The summer parterre at Gaiety Hollow is blooming away as we head into the middle of August. This being my first summer here, I’ve learned a few lessons that I thought I would share. Lucky for me this has been a pretty mild summer compared to some of the last ones. The increased humidity has led to a few issues with common fungal diseases. I treat powdery mildew by using micronized sulfur dust in a spray solution with an added drop of dish soap which helps the solution adhere to the leaves. Sulfur leaves a thin powdery yellow film, so one must pick his/her battles between treating unsightly mildew and the sulfur residue.  A positive with sulfur is that it is much less toxic than many commonly available garden fungicides.

One lesson learned is how hot and dry the edges of the parterre garden become. The porous bricks not only suck moisture from the planting beds, but also gather heat throughout the day, radiating it at night. This makes it difficult for cooler-loving edging plants like Bellis Daisies to last all summer.  I assume Lord and Schryver would have lifted these plants and placed them in a shady spot in the Reserve Garden for the summer, planting them back out again when the cool weather returned in the fall. We are hoping that restoration of the Reserve Garden this fall will allow us to make that area a more usable space much like it was when the ladies were gardening here.


The drying garden in mid-August, the exposure of this garden with the large Viburnum makes for an easy to manage bed as it gets a nice afternoon shade respite from the summer sun.


Heat-loving annuals like Guara, Chinese Asters and African Daisies stand out proudly in the baking hot portions of the Parterre.


A new introduction to the Parterre this year, the Glamini Gladiolus ‘Lia’ does not require staking.


A nice rebloom of Delphiniums is coming on as we hit the middle of August.

Lower Terrace Celebration


Last Friday, a band of showers come through to wet the pavement and break out the umbrellas for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Lower Terrace Rehabilitation project at Deepwood. Guests included board, staff and volunteers from both the Lord & Schryver Conservancy and Deepwood, City officials and even the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Greeters! During the celebration, visitors learned specifics of the project,  enjoyed lemonade and cookies and took photos in front of the new grape arbor.

It was great to see so many folks honor this project that has transformed the approach to the Scroll Garden at Deepwood.  Thanks so much to a generous donor and for the work of dedicated volunteers to ensure that this project took place without a hitch. We are now turning our focus to rehabilitating the upper terrace area, including replacing the stairs and retaining wall and restoring the pathway leading to the lower terrace.

All the best,

Mark Akimoff

Garden Manager/Curator

The Lord and Schryver Conservancy



Wood Working at Gaiety Hollow

As most visitors to Gaiety Hollow know, the woodworking here is something special. Very few gardens exhibit the level of detail in the hardscape, especially in the woodworking. But the fences, arbors, gates and pergola certainly add to the mystique of this unique garden. It’s no small task to recreate this level of woodworking when repairs are required.

Dale Strand, who lived at Gaiety Hollow for many years, was an extraordinary woodworker and we appreciate how he applied these skills to preserving the woodworking throughout the property. For years, Dale had a master woodworker’s shop in the basement at Gaiety Hollow where he built beautiful Ming Dynasty replica hardwood furniture after the time-honored tradition of interlocking puzzle joints requiring no fasteners.

I was fortunate to have had a father who was very old school. He was born in China while his family was walking across Central Asia, fleeing the brutal Stalin regime in our Ukrainian homeland. When I was young, my dad taught me some woodshop skills that he had learned as an apprentice cabinet maker. During my time at community college, my father gave me some sound advice, saying “College and university are great, follow your dreams, but learn a trade so you always have something to fall back on.” That was good advice although I didn’t realize it at the time, and I grumbled at my dad when he placed me in a high-end woodshop building grand spiral staircases for mansions. Little did I realize as I went on to pursue a career in botany and horticulture, just how important that learning a trade would be.

The horticulture industry mirrors the general economy in terms of ups and downs, and I’ve observed that when one becomes unemployed in the plant industry, one could often find work in the carpentry trade.  I’ve installed hardwood floors, restored wooden boats, finish trimmed houses, built garden trugs and now I find myself re-creating wonderful garden woodwork from a bygone era!


The woodwork at Gaiety Hollow is not standard “off the shelf” in terms of size or dimension and it requires custom woodworking skills. Lathe often must be ripped from larger stock, and one will quickly appreciate the level of detail in the woodwork if you  try to square up a 30-plus stick built lathe arbor top!  We are actively seeking interested woodworkers who would like to contribute to the restoration at Gaiety Hollow. If you are interested, please contact:






Papilio rutulus in the Garden

We had a surprise visitor flitting about the garden during the volunteer gardeners’ Friday morning work. Papillio rutulus aka, the Western Tiger Swallowtail is a common butterfly often seen during Oregon’s summer months. The females lay up to 100 eggs on cottonwoods, aspens and willow trees, making them a familiar site along riparian areas. The adults seek out nectar and our visitor was finding plenty in the Gaiety Hollow garden!


Something new is kicking into bloom every day, and the diversity of pollinators is a wonderful sight. We are working on establishing an Integrated Pest Management plan so volunteer gardeners are always on the lookout scouting for pests. Finding pest populations early in the game allows us to reduce the use of pesticides if that option is used. Butterflies, bees, even wasps and spiders are a sign of a healthy garden!

A big thanks to the dedicated garden volunteers who bring their enthusiasm and knowledge to Gaiety Hollow every Friday!

Happy Gardening,




Each Thursday morning, a wonderful group of gardeners shows up at the historic Lord and Schryver gardens at the Deepwood Estate. I am grateful for this dedicated crew who work hard to keep these sophisticated gardens – located within a public park – looking great. Most public parks never receive this level of care and attention.  Although the work is ever-changing, these volunteers do a great job, rising to any task that comes down the pike.

It really is a heartwarming feeling to be working in the Scroll or Teahouse gardens and  hear the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” as visitors turn the corner and view these beautiful gardens.

We are always on the lookout for volunteers. If you interested in joining this group, please drop me a line at:



Beat the Heat

From the transcribed “Lord and Schryver Personal Garden Notes” found in Special Collections #98, Box 16, Folder 6 of the L&S archive collection at the University of Oregon, Knight Library, Eugene OR:

June of 1936

“Delphinium. Pretty good. Canterbury Bells [Campanula medium] can be pinched off and will bloom in July in time for Phlox.

Use more Astilbe + Phlox in back of garden. Need more pink and white.

New Columbine good color – well with pale blue. Give more space to it.

Take out Belladona D [Delphinium x belladonna] near S. Rose and plant white Phlox there.

Put Lilium – Tulips and Canterbury Bells [Campanula medium] back of Jar. Both Hemerocallis very pretty. Advise taking out other varieties – bloom early when not needed.”

One of the best things about a garden journal or the more modern version, a garden blog, is the ability to track planting activities, weather, bloom times and more over time. I’ve been reading through the transcribed garden notes of Edith and Elizabeth and really appreciate the detailed observations.   Although often sparsely worded, these journals include a wealth of knowledge to guide us in the Gaiety Hollow garden.

If I was recreating a similar journal entry today, I would note “Delphinium good this year. Need to try that Campanula pinching trick to see if it works.”

I love how Elizabeth and Edith tracked the weather in the garden notes, making for a very interesting read.  Of course, the big news now is the warm weather…94 degrees at 4:20 pm.

Hope the blossoms don’t fade too quickly with the heat!


Growing From Seeds


Check out the collection of Dianthus barbatus, aka sweet William, blooming at Gaiety Hollow today!

Dianthus barbatus is a biennial or short-lived perennial native to the Pyrenees, Carpathian and Balkan mountain ranges as well as several disjunct areas in China, Korea and Southern Russia. It makes a fantastic cut flower with its long stems and slightly spicy scent.  Sweet William was often used in classic Victorian cottage gardens.

The majority of the sweet William at Gaiety Hollow was propagated by seed.  I’m a big believer in starting plants from seed as the genetic variability allows you to make your own selections based on personal preference.

This winter, I’m looking forward to working with the Gaiety Hollow Gardeners to locate seeds that best represent the works of Lord and Schryver. Many modern cultivars propagated in nurseries don’t quite fit the color palette preferred by Elizabeth and Edith.  But by pouring over seed catalogs, especially of rare and heirloom varieties, we can make our own selections.

Another reason to start your own seeds is to stagger your plantings to maximize bloom times. I like to start a tray of plugs, plant out half as plugs into the garden, then pot up the rest into 4″ pots and let them mature for a few more weeks. This way, when you plant them out, you have variability of maturation and bloom times, resulting in longer lasting color.

Don’t forget to visit Gaiety Hollow on an upcoming Open Garden to see the sweet William and other seed-grown beauties in bloom.

Happy Gardening,


The Delphiniums are in bloom

The Delphiniums are blooming and looking spectacular at Gaiety Hollow. The tall spikes of Foxgloves and masses of Hesperis and pink Peonies add to the show.

According to Greek mythology, Delphiniums first emerged from the spot where Ajax, the Greek god and hero of the Trojan war, died.  Here in the Northwest, native Delphiniums, or Larkspur, were used by early indigenous people to make blue dyes.

Foxglove, or digitalis lanata, contains digoxin, a toxin used to treat heart issues.  Both Delphiniums and Foxglove are highly poisonous to people and animals and should never be ingested.  Instead, just admire the striking blooms.

This past week began with light rain showers, and when the sun finally came out, the weather became quite humid.  But it looks like we can expect a stretch of sunshine for the long weekend ahead.

Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all who served.






Deepwood Update!


The Lower Terrace Rehab project is almost complete, the guys from Aspen Creek have done a wonderful job on this project. Here is a sneak peak of the area:

The vines to climb it are yet to be determined, but the rehabilitation of the Lilacs and the Peony plantings are being followed per the treatment plan. The peonies may be a challenge because of the heavy shade now covering the area from the dominant Magnolia canopy that has matured over the garden. However there are species of Peony such as the Japanese Forest Peony, Paeonia obovata which are very well adapted to shade and understory plantings. Sometimes as gardeners we have to adapt to the changing weather patterns, and changing seasons, as well as the changing availability of sun or shade as it may be.

I for one am super glad to have the rain back!