Fall marks planting season in the Willamette Valley. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, MSPC was able to purchase and contribute 5 young Oregon white oaks (Quercus garryana) to the park. Two will go on the north side of the Bush House to help restore the historical appearance of the house while three will go on the hillside near the Soapbox Derby track to replace several lost in this winter’s ice storm. Our oaks come to us from Kuenzi’s Turf & Nursery on State Street. We also replaced a beautiful mature Styrax japonica, a Prunus x yodoensis (Yoshino cherry tree), and a Stewartia rostata that were also lost to the storm.
Although some of our work is focused on replacing aging trees, we are also adding trees, shrubs, and other plants to improve the overall diversity of the park’s collection and the visual richness of its landscape. Last month, we added a Prunus x incam ‘Okame,’ a well-regarded flowering cherry tree that was not in our collection. ‘Okame’ was bred by British plantsman Collingwood Ingram, an expert on Japanese cherry trees who is credited with re-introducing into Japan a cherry tree thought to have gone extinct.
It’s not all trees, of course. We’re testing out a variety of hardy geraniums (Cranesbill) in some of the landscape beds to add ornamental interest and to help keep down the weeds. We recently planted Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ perhaps the best and longest blooming of the hardy geraniums, Ann Folkard,’ and ‘Ingwersens Variety,’ collected by Geranium expert Walter Ingwersen in 1929 from Mt. Kropivnik in what is now Montenegro. Perhaps more unusual are the so-called “Mourning Widow” geraniums: Geranium phaeum, with dark flowers. They prefer partial to even full shade.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to Japan, Montenegro or any country represented in the collection. They are all at Bush’s Pasture Park, along with a wide range of our own wonderful native trees and plants.