Friday, 24 June 2016
Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend in Salem, Oregon
By the ninth garden of the day, I was getting a little punchy (as you might be if you are keeping up with two posts a day). At first, I couldn’t figure out which garden it was on the short dead end street.
Allan reminded me that the description included distinctive gargoyle pillars.
garden 9: mosaic garden
Even though there were steps with railings, neither Allan nor I were up to getting down to the lower level.
Grand Hotel and Old Mill
We had just managed to finish viewing the 9 gardens by 4 PM, with time to check into the Grand Hotel, Salem, and have some dinner before 6. The left hand turn from a busy one way street into the tiny hotel check in area was harrowing, especially when we were asked to back out into the traffic because a wedding party was checking out. Fortunately, when Allan refused to do that dangerous move, they let us go down into the free parking garage from whence we could take an elevator up to the hotel lobby. Whew. The sudden onset of citification was almost too much.
After dinner at the hotel restaurant, we decided to walk the half mile to the evening events. I couldn’t take another moment in city traffic.
We walked across the Willamette University Campus, and then across a railroad track, avoiding a high-in-the-air and very long pedestrian overpass.
The two lectures were at the Old Mill at the Willamette Heritage Center. Usually, a Hardy Plant Study Weekend has two lectures Friday evening, three on Saturday morning, one on Saturday evening, and three more on Sunday morning. This particular weekend was not going to be very studious as it only that the two lectures. While I found that odd, I relished the thought of not having to be in a lecture hall by 8 AM. The morning lectures were replaced by more gardens to tour than usual. Another unusual factor was the plant sales: Instead of having them at the event venue, they would be at two different nurseries during the weekend. That was fine with me.
Dave Eckerdt, he who had had my favourite garden (Deerly Missed), gave the intro talk with clever references to gardening events similar in name to Olympic events. Normally, this weekend would have taken place in Eugene, Oregon, had not the Olympic trials been there this very week. I was glad that Salem had gotten the event instead as it would open a new world of gardens to us.
Professor Ryan Contreras spoke about ornamental plant breeding.
Then Marietta O’Byrne gave us a gorgeous slide show about her Northwest Garden Nursery garden in Eugene (now mostly a private garden). I have wanted to see that garden for years. Even though it would be open on Monday, we needed to get back home and back to watering city planters on that day. I was deeply tempted to change my plans after viewing and hearing her talk. And, in the door prizes, Allan had won a golden hellebore from her collection.
We walked back to the hotel without any problem other than tiredness. I think we were the only people who walked to the event (due to my traffic phobia only). Saturday, we would have 7 more gardens to tour, including an evening soirée at Dancing Oaks Nursery.