Friday, July 25, 2014

Fling 2014: McMenamins Kennedy School

After visiting Loree's Garden (which will come up later on), we made the fairly short walk to Kennedy School, which is a former elementary school in Portland. After closing as a school in 1975, it was boarded up and sat unloved for 20 years until McMenamins took it on to create an "adult playground", complete with bars, swimming pool, entertainment venues etc. However we were there for the gardens rather than the entertainment - although we did stay behind for a pint in the basement bar.



We began the tour on the front lawn, with an talk about the history of the planting and the approach they have taken.


Very little existed in the way of planting when McMenamins took on the building, just a handful of trees, most of which are still there today.


Bloggers exploring the gardens




A new xeric bed has recently been added, which looks like it may need a little more time to settle in.




Public planting in the UK rarely is as interesting, this certainly beats the typical bedding displays and conifers you get round most hotels or pubs.






Cotoneaster glaucophyllus
Whilst the planting lacked the personal touch of the various blogger and personal gardens we visited it really was great to see a what was in effect public planting using so many interesting plants. 

Gaz

18 comments:

  1. Public planting is one of the topics I frequently cover my and I thought it was interesting to see how the planting helps to soften and disguise a pretty utilitarian building behind it. And what a quirky Interior!

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    1. Good planting outside utilitarian buildings greatly helps in softening its features, and aesthetically appealing too. The interior was very quirky!

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  2. Hmm not sure I care for all of this that they have going on there but that's just me. LOL
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. It's a good re use of an old building though :)

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  3. I'd have put a bit more colour into it, but it definitely beats begonias. Is the Portland climate a lot milder than here?

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    1. Not milder than ours but generally the climate there is very similar to ours especially as they get lots of rain in the winter too. Their summers however are predictably warmer and drier than ours though. A lot of the plants they grow can do well on our side of the pond too, apart from a few like Manzanitas which are summer rainfall sensitive.

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  4. McMenamins does a great job of re purposing old and abandoned buildings and creating interesting gardens around them. This is a special place for me as it's where, after touring Loree's garden for the first time three years ago, we went for a late lunch. Glad that you were able to stop for a pint in the basement bar (don't think I've ever been in that one.)

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    1. They've done an amazing job at the school Peter, and on our last night in Portland we discovered one of the buildings they have repurposed, an old funeral parlour and the interior is just as quirky, and planting just as interesting as the one at the school. Glad to hear about your association with the school, we have the same now and it's another thing we all have in common :)

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  5. I have such a soft spot in my heart for this garden, having watched it grow and change over the 9 years we've lived here. (and btw I love the way you guys are jumping around in your Fling coverage, makes it so much more fun that way, imho)

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    1. Thank you Loree! We're featuring the fling depending on what we're in the mood to write about at the time. Rather random but it feels fun doing doing it that way. As the school grew and evolved almost in front of you, you also must associate certain events in your life in the same timeline as the changes in the school, especially with the garden. No wonder at all you're fond of it :)

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  6. I can't imagine a pub or social club here taking as much trouble over the planting, maybe a private health club. Fun to see such a different style of public planting too, though I've noticed a lot more use of perennials rather than bedding on e.g. roundabouts here. I do rather like that cotoneaster...

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    1. We're on the look out for that cotoneaster now Janet :)

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  7. I'm impressed that an abandoned building has been repurposed like that, with an eye to making it attractive. I looked up McMenamins to find that they've done this with other buildings. Bravo! I wish they'd take an interest in LA.

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    1. The place where we all had our dinner on our last night in Portland was part of their chain and it was a converted funeral parlour/mortuary, so quirky it was Kris!

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  8. McMinamen's has many interesting old structures that they have converted and each one has a garden with its own unique personality. This one seems familiar from the many times Loree has featured it. Fun to get a peek behind the scenes.

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    1. It was great to see it in the flesh Ricki, with Loree featuring it before and the unique nature of the conversion and planting. Wish I've taken more pictures of the inside of the school.

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  9. I thought there were so many good combinations of colors and plants...even without the personal touch you talk about, they had interesting features, like the rusty metal sculptures.

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    1. Indeed Lisa, those metal sculptures add a touch of individuality to the planting beds.

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