Labor Day Weekend II
Bill Long 8/31/07
An Afternoon at Bush Pasture Park
Let me briefly describe the trees/plantings at Bush Pasture Park and the brochure prepared for those who want to learn about the gardens and trees. My point will be that this little park/garden has several unique trees that need to be highlighted in a good publication.
First the brochure. Developed in 2005 by Tom and a volunteer committee, the brochure divides the Bush House and Gardens into four quadrants, and then lists all the species of trees in alphabetic order by quadrant. The quadrants are rather arbitrarily assigned; number 1, for example, surrounds the house on all sides, even though there are "natural" boundaries through walkways and driveways that would make more sense. The map to describe the quadrants is about 3 inches by 3 inches: hundreds of individual trees and flower beds and plants occupy this space. Thus, the map is only helpful in the most general sense.
It is really helpful, in fact, that many of the trees are identified with labels in the four quadrants. I would say that about 1/3 are so identified in each of quadrants 1-3, with hardly any so identified in quadrant 4. Thus, we are off to a bit of a good start, but we see how the 2005 effort is just a beginning.
The Species of Trees
In order to get a sense of just how precious this park resource is for the City of Salem, let me give you the number of tree species in each quadrant, with comparative figures for some trees. Let me hasten to add that there are about 100 beds of rose bushes, ranging in size from about a dozen to 100 rose bushes each, perhaps 200-300 shrubs/bushes and another 100 or more species of flowers in the various Bush House gardens. But my focus was just on the trees. The brochure lists 30 species of trees in quadrant #1; 50 are in quadrant # 2; 39 are in # 3; and 25 are in quadrant # 4. Of the 144 total in these lists, many of them overlap from quadrant to quadrant. I have counted a total of 105 different species from the printed brochure. In addition, I found at least three that are not in any list (Carpinus betulus--hornbeam; Sambucus nigra--black elderberry; Symplocus paniculata--sapphire berry). Thus, there are potentially 108 species of trees alone around the Bush house. It might be helpful to break down this list a bit.
More than 20 of these species are of types of crabapples. The City of Salem decided to plant an orchard to the West of the house; it primarily consists of crabapples and cherry trees. Tom told me that in 2005 they secured the services of Arthur Jacobsen of Seattle to help them identify the crabapples; many of these 20+ species are labelled. Some of them are not at any other place in Oregon that I know of. Then, there are about 8 species of cherries/plums. There are also about 7 species of magnolias. When I cross-checked the list of magnolias in Bush Park to those in Corvallis center and OSU, I found that we had the following lists:
1. M. acuminata
2. M. grandiflora
3. M. kobus
4. M. liliiflora
5. M. soulangiana
6. M. stellata
7. M. virginiana
1. M. campbellii
2. M. denudata
3. M. 'Elizabeth'
4. M. grandiflora
5. M. kobus
6. M. liliiflora
7. M. saclcifolia 'Miss Jack'
8. M. sargentiana robusta
9. M. soulangiana
10. M. 'Star Wars"
11. M. stellata
12. M. virginiana
Combining the lists, we can see there are 13 varieties of Magnolia. The U of O has many more varieties (about 30--some day I may describe them).
But what was significant to me was that the Bush Park gardens not only had unusual cherry trees and very unusual crabapples, but they had single exemplars of the following fairly rare trees:
1. Acer capillipes--Red Snake Bark Maple
1a. Acer ginnala-- Amur Maple
2. Exochorda racemosa--Pearlbush, a historic tree at the Park.
3. Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii'--Camperdown Elm (though this is present in several exemplars on the State Capitol Grounds)
4. Crataegus pinnatifida var. maj.--Chinese Bigleaf Hawthorn
Cydonia oblonga--Quince tree
6. Hamamelis-- Witch Hazel--of uncertain species
7. Vitex negundo--Chaste Tree
8. Pinus wallichiana--Himalayan White Pine
9. Asimina triloba--Pawpaw
10. Taxodium mucronatum--Mexican Cypress.
As an indication of the rarity of these trees, I note that none of these is at Reed College in Portland, and the following are at the U of O or OSU*:
[*The OSU tree tour map I have includes sections from the Central Park in Corvallis and doesn't include the entire OSU campus. I don't think there exists a map of all the trees of OSU, though OSU's online tree/plant guide lists whenever an exemplar is on the OSU campus.]
1. Acer capillipes--four at OSU; none at U of O.
1a. Acer ginnala--one at U of O (there were two; one has been removed for Music Department expansion; I don't know whether it has been "saved," but I will find out); none at OSU.
2. Exochorda racemosa--at neither school, though OSU says it has a Exochorda x macrantha (Bride Pearl Bush).
3. Ulmus glabra "Camperdownii"--not at OSU; U of O has one tiny one in a home adjacent to campus near 18th Street.
4. Crataegus pinnatifida--at neither OSU nor U of O.
5. Cydonia oblonga--one at OSU; none at U of O.
6. Hamamelis--not so rare after all! Several types at OSU.
7. Vitex negundo--The Bush Garden folk list this as the Chaste Tree; OSU says Vitex agnus-castus is the Chaste Tree, though there is none on campus. None at U of O. There is said to be one at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. When I checked with the OG folk, they said they don't have an inventory list and map of what they have. Maybe they were just trying to get rid of me, but, in any case, the OG is light years away from being able to put its stuff online in a helpful way.
8. Pinus wallichiana-- U of O has one; OSU has one.
9. Asimila triloba--at neither OSU nor U of O. The Hoyt Arboretum in Portland has one, as I recall.
10. Taxodium mucronatum--at neither OSU nor U of O.
Well, now that I have made the case for the "specialness" of the Bush House orchards and gardens, let me turn in the next essay to the system I devised to identify things.