Art of Boldman House's flora to be shown

The Art in the Garden event Saturday will feature a variety of works depicting plants on the grounds. There will also be refreshments and tours.



The Boldman House Museum in Dayton will host artists' renderings of the varied flora on the historic home's grounds.


This two-seat mechanical glider is part of the Boldman estate, and was recently restored. Despite the restoration, it is too fragile for use, but is typical of lawn furniture from early in the 20th century.


An artist sketches the back porch of the Boldman House.


Artist Debbie Baxter crouches to get the right angle for a photo she is taking at the Boldman House Museum Garden. She will use onof hter photos as an inspiration for a painting.



The back porch of the Boldman House.

DAYTON -- Artists' renderings of the flora of the Boldman House will be displayed from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Boldman House garden, 410 N. First St.

Most of the artwork on display was created during a Day in the Garden event in May, which was held for artists to paint or photograph the grounds of the Queen Anne Victorian-style home that was home to the Boldman family for nearly 100 years.

The Art in the Garden event Saturday will feature the artwork displayed on the grounds. Refreshments reminiscent of what might have been served at a garden party in the early 1900s, including iced tea, strawberry lemonade, cucumber sandwiches and cookies, will be served. Free tours of the museum will be available, as well.

Besides paintings, there will be a garden-themed quilt and a pillow decorated with needlepoint pansies.

The garden palette is the result of the planning and work of the Boldman House garden committee.

While painters sketched in May, Mary Luce, a committee member, was busy in the background, weeding, trimming spent flowers and doing other chores that keep a flower garden in its best condition.

The flowers that bloomed in May will bloom only in the artist's pictures Saturday, as a new month has brought a succession of new blooms.

Lupine, peonies, midnight blue salvia, foxglove, columbine, mock orange and the few roses that escaped the attention of a marauding deer have replaced the phlox, forget-me-nots, tulips, bleeding heart and other early bloomers.

When planning the garden, committee members sought to determine which plants were likely to have been planted in Dayton gardens in the early 1900s. A consultant from Seattle gave his recommendations, but Luce discovered Gertrude Jekyll, a turn-of-the-last-century garden designer who "had a painterly approach to the garden," Luce said.

Using a couple of her books as a guide, and what committee members remembered in their grandmothers' gardens, Luce and the garden committee made their choices.

Not all plants from 100 years ago are desirable, because they are susceptibile to disease, Luce said. One example is garden phlox, which has a weakness to powdery mildew. Newer varieties have been bred to resist the fungus, which once brought into a garden is difficult to remove.

Like work on the house, replanting the yard has been something of an archeological dig. Construction of a retaining wall and other outdoor disturbances devastated most of the plants remaining from the last garden, but there were some interesting discoveries, Luce said.

A row of green prune juice bottles turned upside down, with about an inch of the bottom showing, was used for a border and will eventually be reinstalled, Luce said.

Another discovery was juice cans with holes in them that had been planted with tulips and sunk into the beds. The cans may have been designed to save the bulbs from gophers or other rodents, Luce speculated.

When the garden renovators began digging the beds, Luce made another surprising discovery -- the peonies that are believed to have been planted by Gladys Boldman's mother survived.

Blanche Boldman's peonies will be among the flowers blooming Saturday, Luce said.

About the Boldman House

The house was built between 1880 and 1883 and purchased by John and Ella Brining. The Brinings added the two-story section in the early 1890s. Other additions include the bay windows, balcony and foyer.

The Boldman family -- Stephen, Blanche and four daughters, Minnie, Marie, Goldie and Gladys -- moved to the house on First Street from their farm in 1912, although Stephen purchased it in 1910.

From the time the Boldmans moved into the home until Gladys Boldman's death in 1999, the home was occupied by Boldman family members.

Daughter Minnie died of influenza in 1919. Her mother died in 1944 at age 74, and Marie died in 1950. Stephen died in 1954 at age 93.

After graduating from Dayton High School in 1926, Gladys attended business school then was a secretary for hotels in Walla Walla, Boise and Olympia. She was the only family member to seek education beyond high school or to leave Dayton for work.

Gladys returned home to help care for Marie and her parents after working away for 15 years.

Gladys and Goldie were in their mid- to late 40s when their father died. They lived in the house together until Goldie's death, and Gladys continued to live there until a short time before her death.

Gladys Boldman left the home and all its contents to the Historic Depot Society. The Depot Society has spent 10 years restoring the house, cataloguing contents and restoring the grounds. It was recently completed.


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