Featured Stories

Bringing English gardens to Woodburn

The Settlemier Knot Garden Society is trying to spruce up Alvah G. Cowan Park to be a knot garden, a hedge style common across the pond


by: JEFF MCDONALD - From left: Donna Wood, Kay Eichsteadt McEwen, Ellen Bandelow, Aaron Frausto of Bauman Farms, Ron Palmer of city of Woodburn, Patricia Hyatt, Vi Cutler and Gevin Gregory are among the volunteers sprucing up the park.Who else but the “Settlemier Knot Garden Society” would try to bring the Alvah G. Cowan Park back to its old glory?

The “society” is actually a group of six core volunteers and others who came ready to work Friday, tending the soil and planting hardy red fuchsias for the fall.

“All of us want to improve the look of this park and the livability of Woodburn,” said Gevin Gregory, a board member on the Woodburn Recreation and Parks board of directors who helped organize the group.

Future plans include resuscitating a tired stand of rose trees and replacing a missing bench at the back end of the park, which sits across from the historic Jesse Settlemier House.

After weeding, clearing and planting the front portion of the park facing the street, they will turn their attention to the back. That is where the roses need a good trim and they can get creative with the hedgework, Gregory said.

Like the name implies, a “knot” garden has overlapping hedges which makes a geometric design shape, Gregory said. A knot garden is commonly associated with English castle gardens.

by: JEFF MCDONALD - Knot Garden Society members (lower left, clockwise) Sharon Corning, Patricia Hyatt, Ellen Bandelow and Colin Brown plant fuchsias at the Alvah G. Cowan Park Aug. 2 in Woodburn.“Besides hedging, we’re hoping to find somebody who knows how to prune roses,” he said. “That way, we’re not only getting the work done, but also getting some knowledge too.”

The group consists of several community-minded individuals who have been involved in reviving Woodburn’s downtown area, including Sharon Corning, Patricia Hyatt, Kay McEwen, Colin Brown and Ellen Bandelow. Other family and friends helped out Friday as well.

“We want to make Woodburn known for certain things, one which will be the knot garden,” Brown said. “We’re going to have these all over the place.”

The group received a $250 donation from the Woodburn Garden Club and discounted plants from Bauman’s Farm & Garden.

Additionally, it has gotten support from the city, which lends some tools, trash bags and other maintenance supplies as part of the city’s “Adopt-A-Park” program.

Each member of the group has made a two-year commitment to the garden, which helps the city’s Public Works Department maintain a massive park system with limited resources.

“They can volunteer and take some of the work off so we can spend time somewhere else,” said Ron Palmer, parks supervisor for the city. “This really helps us out.”

by: JEFF MCDONALD - The group's goal is for the garden, which already has roses, to have hedges that overlap, creating a knot effect.Other service groups — Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions — have also joined the program, adopting Legion, Centennial and Senior Estates parks, respectively, Palmer said.

The volunteer hours help three full-time city employees maintain the city’s 18 parks totaling roughly 70 acres of land, Palmer said.

For more information about the Adopt-A-Park Program, contact the Public Works Department at 503-982-5240.