Friends of Bush Gardens undertakes projects and programs that enhance the gardens of Bush’s Pasture Park and encourage greater community awareness of the importance of plants and landscapes. We maintain the plants in the Bush Conservatory, care for several of the existing gardens, and develop new gardens.
We also carry out special projects such as the construction of the gazebo in the rose garden or host educational events for the community that highlight special botanical features of the park, such as the historic Tartar Old Rose Collection, or the Lord & Schryver flowering Tree Collection. Prior to our offering these programs, the Friends labeled the old roses and flowering trees and printed brochures for self-guided tours.
The ongoing Tuesday Morning Gardeners program was formed in 1997 to develop and maintain the large, mixed borders which now grace the area immediately surrounding the Bush House and Barn. This program, led by FOBG Project Coordinator/Garden Designer and teamed with the park’s head gardener and city Horticulturist, offers training in horticultural techniques and has formed a strong sense of community within the park.
In 2003 our major gardening project was the design and installation of a native plant garden in a formerly under-utilized area of the park just east of the Bush Barn parking lot. This is the first stage of a larger project intended to educate the public on the identification and use of native plants in urban landscapes. These gardens will greatly enhance the existing native plants which are a natural feature of Bush’s Pasture Park.
By far our most challenging project was the restoration of the Bush Conservatory, which was completed in 2011. Our fundraising goal of $222,000 was reached through generous donations from over 250 households, grants from five agencies (Kinsman Foundation, Oregon Cultural Trust, Walton Charitable Trust, Pioneer Trust Bank Foundation, and the Salem Foundation) and in-kind donations from 20 individuals or businesses.
There are two other ongoing projects. One involves the hiring of a rose consultant to bring the historic rose collections into greater prominence in the park and to round out the collection with the intention of using this resource as a teaching tool for classes, such as “The History of the Rose”. The other is the second phase of the tree labeling project including the update of the “A Guide to the Trees of the NW Corner of Bush’s Pasture Park” brochure.
The Friends of Bush Gardens has recently embarked on a new project; to develop and install interpretive signage in Bush’s Pasture Park. The new signage will inform the public about the cultural history of the park and the significance of the diverse plant communities, and will also guide park visitors to the many historic, botanic, cultural, and recreational assets of Bush’s Pasture Park. This project is being done in collaboration with the City of Salem Parks who will be responsible for the construction of new kiosks and installation of the signage.