Friday, May 29, 2009

Magnolia mysteries: one down

The weather here in Portland has been picture perfect the past week, just in time for the annual celebration of Rose Festival. As if on cue, most of the rose bushes on Marquam Hill have burst into bloom, and the campus is aglow with rhododendrons, azaleas, lupine, and all manner of other flora.

For this beauteous bounty, we are indebted to John G. Bacher, the Swiss florist and horticulturist who designed the landscaping around the campus core, starting in 1950. A 1954 issue of the university publication What's Going On? opined that "there are probably few men in Portland with the love and knowledge of plant life and the imagination to have created the color, beauty, and variety that Mr. Bacher has achieved on campus."

The grounds certainly contribute in part to the strange allure of OHSU (often inexplicable to those who have never visited campus), and serve as proof of the corporate philosophy of Bacher's Swiss Floral Company, that "the world of flowers is life's greatest consolation, for it serves all who care, appeals to the soul in grief and joy, and sweetens our hardest days of toil."

Bacher was also responsible for the epic move of the magnolia tree onto campus from--as we learn in a caption to photos in the Charles Norris Scrapbook (2000-007)--Lincoln High School. Below, we see the expert at work documenting the event.

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