Our preservation staff recently traveled to the West Coast to monitor conservation easements and attend several garden preservation events. The Garden Conservancy holds easements on the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA, and three other properties in the Bay Area that are open to the public on a limited basis, as well as Chase Garden in Orting, WA. Conservation easements are a garden preservation tool that can place specific protections on a property in perpetuity. In addition to prohibiting activities that would harm the garden, a conservation easement on a garden also typcially requires periodic public access.
While out west, James Brayton Hall, our president and CEO, and Pamela Governale, our director of preservation, gave a presentation on garden succession planning at the Garden Conservancy Northwest Network (GCNN) fall workshop on Saturday, October 21. The GCNN is a membership organization for public gardens in the region, providing professional development and networking opportunities for garden directors and staff members. This fall’s workshop was hosted by the Friends of the Rogerson Clematis Collection in Lake Oswego, OR. Twenty-six members of the GCNN, from locations throughout the Pacific Northwest, attended the workshop, which focused on planning for garden transitions and changes in leadership.
On Sunday, October 22, the Chase Garden was open to the public for the first time since early summer and James Hall and Pamela Governale were on site to greet visitors. More than 150 people attended, some strolling the grounds on their own to enjoy peak fall foliage colors, while others enjoyed tours with horticulturist Will Clausen. Also that day, archivist Chloe Kadel reported on her latest work in documenting the Chase Garden. The next day, James and Pamela hosted a meeting at the garden with key local organizations to discuss potential partnerships for the ownership and operation of Chase Garden.
The Garden Conservancy remains committed to Chase Garden and to ensuring that the future of the garden will be secure and it’s unique beauty preserved. The conservation easement that we accepted from Emmott and Ione Chase in 1995 remains in effect and these protections will be in place in perpetuity regardless of who owns the property. We are also in the process of restating the Chase Garden easement to strengthen its provisions and protections.
While at Chase, our preservation staff also met with a land use professional who will be photographing and inventorying the garden and its conservation values for the restated easement’s updated baseline report. A baseline report records the current condition of a garden and is used as a reference for future monitoring.