United States of America, Oregon, Multnomah, Portland
A Plant Collector's Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Since 1940 the gardens of this 1.75 acre property have been designed and filled with unusual specimen trees and flowering shrubs, then redesigned by a second owner equally committed to plant collecting who wanted to maintain the early gardens as much as possible. The initial design included a broad brick terrace behind the house that overlooked a sweeping lawn bordered by beds containing perennials, shrubs and trees. A rock garden marked the transition from the cultivated gardens to a native woodlands on the steep slope to the Willamette River. Behind the brick wall along the street there was a hedge of arborvitae and rhododendron had been planted along the brick wall at the far end of the terrace. A glass and brick gazebo stood in the front courtyard, topped with a hummingbird weather vane by sculptor Keith Jellum. When the property changed hands in 2002 all these features were changed too: the overgrown arborvitae were replaced with large-leafed boxwood, too tall rhododendron that blocked the view from the house were relocated, the crumbling gazebo was removed, and the hummingbird weathervane was mounted on a stand in an island bed of seasonal plantings where it can spin with the wind. The mature specimen trees including paper bark maple, Ponderosa pine, several varieties of magnolia, Garry oak, dawn redwood and a wheel tree remained but new beds were designed and planted with hellebores, hosta, fuchsias, clematis, rhododendrons, peonies, dwarf conifers and arum varieties. A new shade garden called the grotto replaced failing grass, a new green house and four bin composting center were built. The rock garden was augmented with steps and additional plantings, and wide gravel paths were laid for touring as well as working in the perennials beds that border the lawn.
Originally the 1.3 acres that were cultivated were conceived as parkland and featured rare plant material. A garden room in a warmer microclimate known as the Chilean garden was kept and included a windmill palm, swamp cypress and other semi-tropical plants; a crepe myrtle and pomegranate were espaliered on the garage wall along one side. Three copper bowl fountains of Greco-Roman design placed in the front and side courtyards were connected to a recirculating water pump in the basement of the house. The brick walls surrounding the terrace were perforated, a signature design of the original landscape architects Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver and the gazebo built on a curved brick wall in the front court was a stand-out feature. The parkland was planted so there would be open views from the house and terrace of Mount Saint Helens and the Willamette River.
Persons associated with the property include Sir James and Lady McDonald (former owners, 1940-2002); Susan and John Bates (former owners, 2002-2015); Elizabeth Lord (1887-1976) and Edith Schryver (1901-1984) (landscape architects, 1940); Ernest Tucker (landscape architect, 1977); Marsha Matschek (landscape designer, 1975- );Clark Matschek (landscape architect, 1996); Conrad Hahn (head gardener, 1950); Ernest Meyer (architect, 1942); Charles Voorhis (architect, 1977); John Storrs (architect, 1960); Echo Cole (head gardener, 1996- ); Gilbert Meigs (engineer, 1978); Jay Wesley Miner (garden designer and head gardener, 2006- ); Withey Price (garden design, 2004); Megan Galaher (garden designer, 2014); Martha Schneikert (steel garden structures, 2006); John Buttrell (tree pruning, 2006- ); Blake Thomas (tree pruning, 2006- ).
The folder includes worksheets, a photocopy of an article, a printed description and plan of the garden.
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: firstname.lastname@example.org