In 1930, Alice Bretherton Brown Powell hired the landscape design team of Elizabeth Lord & Edith Schryver to design the formal gardens for Deepwood. Deepwood contains the only residential example of their work currently open to the public.The gardens were developed over the next decade and flourished under the loving care of Alice until 1968 when health considerations required her move from Deepwood. The gardens were brought into the public domain in the early 1970’s and are part of the Salem parks system. Deepwood’s beloved gardens are maintained by Deepwood’s dedicated volunteers and the Lord and Schryver Conservancy. To volunteer for work in the gardens, click here.
As the Northwest’s first female landscape architecture firm, Lord & Schryver’s work emphasized the concept of garden “rooms.” The gardens contain boxwood gardens, an English tea house garden, covered arches and gazebos, ornamental gates and fences as well at The Rita Steiner Nature Trail weaving its way through the western border of the property towards Bush Park. The design embodies a landscape made of a series of smaller gardens and paths, hidden places and open vistas. On a bright spring morning with dew still wet on the lawn and the fragrant lilacs both subtle and powerful, it is possible to understand why Alice loved Deepwood as she did. On a cold, rainy winter afternoon with the Oregon sky imposing and closed, the depth and strength of the landscape is evident. Whether one sees Deepwood for the first time or visits again and again, it never fails to amaze and delight the senses.
As part of raising the level of public awareness concerning the legacy of the two landscape architects, the Lord & Schryver Conservancy began preservation work in the gardens at Deepwood in 2003. After much research and study, rehabilitation plans are underway for each of the ‘rooms’ in the garden. With the support of the Salem Parks Operations Division, the Friends of Deepwood, and the Deepwood Gardeners, implementation of the plans is a work in progress. To date, the projects for the Scroll Garden and the Foundation Plantings are nearing completion. The restoration of the fencing in the lower Scroll Garden is now complete with the fleurs-de-lis in the center of each panel being replaced after an absence of decades. Two gates at the west end of that garden were added in early 2008.
The Lord & Schryver Conservancy has formed a crew of volunteer gardeners to assist in the installation of the rehabilitation plans, as well as to help the city maintain these more complex landscapes within the historic garden. For more information on the conservancy and their projects, click here.