Two events draw coneheads to choice PNW gardens

By Sara Malone

Over the last two weekends, the ACS Western Region held conifer days at two of our Reference Gardens--the South Seattle College Arboretum in Seattle, Washington and the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. Both were cooperative efforts between the ACS and the representative organizations that support the gardens.

The event at South Seattle College was a dedication ceremony to formally induct the Arboretum into the Reference Garden program. About 50 people were in attendance to take in the oft-times joyous and sometimes sad speeches as Bob Fincham and his late wife, Dianne, were recognized for their garden design vision and donation of the initial plants. After the presentations, Bob gave a tour of the Arboretum's Coenosium Rock Garden and talked about the process that turned a sod demonstration garden into what is becoming one of the best conifer gardens in the country.

The following weekend, 50 people were on hand at the Oregon Garden, first to listen to Mary Ann Payne, Director of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, talk about the gardens and their conifer collection. Using slides and enthusiasm, Mary Ann got everybody excited about making the visit south to see, first hand, the majesty of the Mendocino Coast and the newest California Reference Garden. Sam Pratt then presented a slide show covering his and Brent Markus' recent travels in Europe, tantalizing the audience with pictures of magificent conifer gardens and specimen plants. The brilliant, sunny afternoon concluded with a guided walk along the paths of the Oregon Garden conifer garden, led by docent and conifer garden caretaker, Doug Wilson. This presentation was a part of the Oregon Garden's 'Garden University' program, and it easily beat any previous events in this series in terms of attendance, refreshments (provided by the ACS and baked on site by the OG Resort!) There were also some very choice conifers given as door prizes for some lucky attendees, including a Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph', generously donated by Conifer Kingdom.

We gained several new members, sold lots of ACS logo wear and a good time was had by all.