To protect the parks’ integrity by preserving the parks’ boundaries, historic context, and plant communities.
To care for the parks’ plant material to the highest aesthetic and health standards.
To collect, preserve and make accessible records relating to the history of the parks and their plant material, to educate the public, and to facilitate research and appreciation.
To assist in the development and implementation of thoughtful, sensitive improvements to the parks’ design, hardscape, and plant material that increase their access, attractiveness, and research value.
Today, we work primarily in Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park. In the future, we hope to make a contribution to parks and public landscapes throughout Salem.
Mission Street Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization whose work is made possible primarily by generous donations of money, technical expertise, and volunteer time from Salem residents and business, as well as from government and foundation grants.
The Conservancy is negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement with City of Salem Public Works Department for the care of plant material in Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park.
Gretchen is a garden designer who has contributed over 30 years of leadership and expertise to Salem’s public landscapes, including Deepwood and Bush’s Pasture Park. She is co-founder of Friends of Bush Gardens, the Lord & Schryver Conservancy, and the Salem Hardy Plant Society. In addition to bringing plants and people together, Gretchen is passionate about protecting wild, natural places.
Maureen is an attorney in Tonkon Torp’s Government Relations & Public Policy Practice Group. She offers comprehensive government affairs services to the firm’s clients on matters before the Oregon
Legislature, administrative agencies, and local governments. She is also an avid gardener with a deep appreciation for public gardens and public parks of all types. She particularly loves exploring the historic Bush Conservatory, and with her family regularly enjoys Bush Pasture Park. Maureen says, “I was drawn to volunteering with MSPC as a way to get to know other people in my community who are knowledgeable and passionate about plants and who also understand the unique benefits that public landscapes provide to the local community.”
After 50 years of working as an engineer, geologist and science teacher in Louisiana, Julia recently retired and moved to Salem. As a Master Naturalist in Louisiana and now Oregon and as an avid gardener and lover of the great outdoors, she is loving her new environment. Julia started volunteering with the Tuesday Gardeners at Bush’s Pasture Park right after moving to Salem and has loved its mission and its people. She is excited about MSPC’s future.
Patti retired in 2012 from a career in insurance and law enforcement. She began volunteering as a Tuesday Gardener shortly after retiring. In addition to pulling weeds, she loves hanging out with her fellow gardeners, travelling, and reading. Patti lives in the Bush Park neighborhood and has spent many happy hours wandering its paths.
When Emily Standish worked full time in Houston, TX, gardening was something she “wanted to want to do.” After retiring from the oil business and moving to Salem, she discovered Mission Street Parks Conservancy. A year later, she became the group’s volunteer coordinator. Emily has gained gardening skills by volunteering at Bush’s Pasture Park. Whether at Bush or at home, gardening is now something she wants to do!
Emily also serves as MSPC’s volunteer coordinator.
Mike spent more than 40 years in the restaurant and hotel industry, before turning to horticulture. He has an AA in horticulture; started his own pruning business in Northern California. He spent 4 years on the board of the Aesthetic Pruners Association and now volunteers his pruning work at Bush’s Pasture Park, Minto-Brown Island Park, and the Oregon Garden. Any day spent outside is a great day – birds and plants add to the enjoyment.
Kathy is a clinical social worker, newly retired after a long career developing and managing mental health programs. She was a founding member of Salem Hardy Plant Society and volunteered with Friends of Bush Garden. A native Oregonian, Kathy spends as much time as possible tending her large country garden in the Eola Hills.
Michael is MSPC’s garden manager. He is a certified arborist who is passionate about public landscapes, environmental policy, and urban design. Michael, along with Gretchen Carnaby, co-founded the Conservancy in 2018 and he served as its first board president until 2021.
Mission Street Parks Conservancy began in 1979 as the Bush Conservatory Gardeners. At that time Salem Art Association solicited volunteers to care for the plant collection housed in the newly rehabilitated Bush Conservatory.
As the City began cutting the parks’ budget in the early 1980’s, the gardeners responded by recruiting more volunteers and taking on more maintenance tasks. In the late 1980s, the Gardeners began mulching the rose beds annually, which, at that time, had not been done for 12 years. During this time, they also began to identify and label the Tartar Old Rose Collection.
In 1991, in response to threats to “pave the rose garden” the Bush Conservatory Gardeners expanded their scope and become the Friends of Bush Gardens (FOBG). FOBG’s first project was to study the hybrid tea and floribunda rose collection, and then restore the collection’s organization. They published the first Rose Garden Brochure at this time.
Other projects followed. In 1996, FOBG was gifted the money to repair the roof of the conservatory. The following year, they raised funds and built the Victorian-style gazebo, which now serves as the focal point for the rose gardens. At about the same time, FOBG established the volunteer Tuesday Morning Gardeners program, whose primary responsibility was to maintain the then newly designed gardens surrounding the conservatory and the two island beds southwest of the barn.
In 2008 FOBG led a three-year capital campaign to completely restore the Bush Conservatory. They continued to be responsible for the interior of the conservatory including the care of the collection of plants popular in Victorian times.
In 2016 the three year project of rehabilitating the Hybrid Tea/Floribunda Rose Collection was begun, culminating in the raising of 48 beds to improve drainage and planting over 600 new roses.