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The Grant House gardens are adjacent to the Grant House on the grounds of Fort Vancouver, Vancouver, WA. They are under the auspices of the National Trust, but the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, Clark County study group designs, installs, and maintains them as a service to their community. There are three gardens, all with their own theme: native plants, herbs (the chef at the Grant House uses them, too) and the flower border, the largest at about 200 s.f. The gardens are viewed all year long from inside the Grant House restaurant and from the patio in good weather.

This spring the Grant House Garden Committee met at the restaurant one drizzly March evening and gazed out the window to dream and organize the flower border face-lift. Barbara Clark led us through some of the history behind the gardens and how HPSO and the National Trust financially support them. The Grant House also helps by providing discounts to volunteers, literature that acknowledges the efforts and contributions by HPSO and local area businesses, as well as appreciation and sustenance while volunteers maintain the gardens.

Here are a few photos:

Vanessa uses her planting plan to line out the plants. Upturned boxes were temporarily used to substitute for missing plants.

Vanessa lining out the plants

Many hands make light work. Here volunteers are clearing the newest batch of weeds before planting.

many hands make light work-clearing weeds

Once the volunteers installed the plants, they used layers of newspaper to suppress weeds. Black nursery pots replaced the boxes as place-holders for plants we still need to find.

spreading newspapers weed suppressant

Just before Barb Clark went home, she took this photo of the garden at the end of our first big planting day. There will be a few more plants added: roses, peonies, dahlias, iris and artichokes within the next couple of weeks.

The end of planting-day one

"Thank you so much for your help & Guidance on planting day and the wonderful design! This Grant House Garden project would not have happened without you! I so greatly appreciate your participation."
Barbara Clark, HPSO Grant House Gardens Coordinator

Along with fellow HPSO member, Linda Kliewer, Vanessa designed a garden that wil provide a big splash of color. They focused on plants that the pioneers might have grown, like roses, peonies, hollyhocks, iris, and bulbs, but also added other perennials and one small shrub. In addition to using the tried and true, they also specified newer plantcultivars bred for improved disease resistance to help reduce garden maintenance. The color palette includes deep dark and vivid reds, buttery soft yellows, chartreuse and lavender purples.

Once Vanessa assembled the planting plan and plant list the committee was off and running to garner funds, clean up the existing garden and locate plants. Study group members were encourage to make a small contribution, either with dollars, digging, or plant donations. HPSO member, Carol Kelly, arranged for her garden assistant to clean out the existing garden and prepare it for planting. Along with Barbara, another HPSO member, Karen Hanson, corralled most of the plants before the official planting date on April 28, 2012.

The morning of the 28th, a large group of volunteers descended onto the garden. First things first: they removed all of the new weeds that had popped up since the clean up had occurred. Then Vanessa, planting plan in hand, began to lineout the plants. Because we were still missing the roses, peonies, iris, artichokes, and dahlias, we used up-turned black nursery pots as place-holders. Once the volunteers installed all of the plants, they put down layers of soaked newspaper to suppress new weeds and then covered the newspaper in mulch.

The plant list includes the following: Alcea 'Nigra', Alchemilla mollis, Allium afflatuense, Aquilegia chrysantha, Artichoke 'Green Globe', Berberis thunbergii 'Bagatelle', Coreopsis 'Moonbeam', Dahlia 'Black Satin', Euphorbia 'Blackbird', Geranium 'Rozanne', Hemerocallis donations: 'Hyperion' from Vanessa and an unidentified deep red from Linda, Iris 'Red Hot Chili', Narcissus 'Pueblo', Paeonia 'Blaze', Penstemon 'Ruby', Perovskia atriplicifolia, Phlox paniculata 'Blue Heaven' Primula donations: Carol and Linda (soft yellow & ebony flowers), Rosa x 'Noalesa' (yellow groundcover rose) and Salvia 'Maynight'. Note: the bulbs, Narcissus and Allium, will be planted in Fall 2012.

Watch for progress as we continue to add the missing plants and the plants in the ground begin to grow!