Mission Street Parks Conservancy (then Friends of Bush Gardens) and the City of Salem began the latest rehabilitation of the Municipal Rose Garden early in 2016 when ducks were seen swimming in several of the rose beds.

Friends of Bush Gardens (FOBG) brought together Salem Parks, the Salem Rose Society, and others knowledgeable in things such as soils to address the poor drainage problem and the lack of vigor in many of the rose plants. The group decided to add 11 inches of a mixture of 70% clay loam and 30% garden compost thus raising many of the roses and to change the timing of the irrigation to avoid watering the roses too early in the morning.

Friends of Bush Gardens formed the FOBG Rose Committee to made decisions as to which of the original roses should be kept, which rose beds needed to be raised, and which roses should be added to the collection. During the three year rehabilitation, the Committee raised 48 beds (60% of the Hybrid Tea/Floribunda rose beds), dug up, divided, and replanted 23 beds of old roses, and purchased over 650 new roses. Corrections Crews did most of the heavy work while FOBG volunteers and head gardener, Tom Beatty, moved and installed most of the roses and oversaw the edging of all the beds. FOBG and the City shared the cost of the new roses.

Following the improvements to the Hybrid Tea & Floribunda garden, The City and MSPC are turning to a rehabilitation of the historic brickwork that encircles and defines the focal point of the Old Rose Collection. This project calls for the removal of the existing bricks, installation of a concrete base, then reinstallation of the bricks in the exact pattern in which they were originally installed.

The City and MSPC plan to rehabilitate the historic brickwork that encircles and defines the focal point of the Lord & Schryver-designed garden, which houses the Mae Tarter Old Rose Collection. The work includes removing the existing bricks, installing a concrete base, then reinstalling the bricks in the exact pattern in which they were originally installed. A supply of historic bricks is available in cases where existing bricks are too worn to be reused. The project also includes the installation of three benches on brick pads and the replacement of the sun dial that originally topped the fluted column.

The existing brickwork of the garden’s circular focal point has become dangerously worn and uneven.

A close-up of the existing brickwork shows the problem.

The existing brickwork of the garden’s circular focal point has become dangerously worn and uneven.

The brick foundation of an existing bench has also become an unsightly hazard. It was placed off of the garden’s east-west axis during an earlier Rose Garden rehabilitation.

The garden’s east-west axis with the misaligned bench shown at A and future bench placements indicated at A1, B, and C.

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