Blue Star: Oregon Garden honors veterans with new memorial marker

September 2019 Posted in Community, Garden, People

By Brenna Wiegand

The Oregon Garden is calling all veterans to the dedication of a Blue Star Memorial Marker being installed to honor the country’s veterans.

The Garden is partnering with the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs to install the marker, part of a program started by National Garden Clubs, Inc. at the close of World War II with the aim of honoring American war veterans. The plaque will be permanently installed at the Garden’s upper parking lot outside the admission booth so visitors may visit it without paying admission.

“It should be visible as you come up the driveway,” Oregon Garden Director Allison Pennell said. “These used to be placed mainly on highways and byways and now they’ve expanded it to include not just men but women veterans and are now installing the markers in various parks and botanical gardens.”

The marker, the 84th in the U.S., also serves as a memorial to Jan Islei, who was instrumental in the founding of The Oregon Garden and a staunch Garden supporter throughout her life. She was also active in and past president of the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs.

“We’re also trying to be a better partner with the City, and we feel like it’s really nice for Silverton to have one of these because people do come to see them as a destination,” Pennell said. “More than 100,000 people come through the Garden every year.

“We have similar demographics; a lot of people that are vacationing or retired come to the Garden so we’re happy to have it as an added feature and as a place in the Silverton community where people can come and honor their veterans and loved ones.”

The 30-minute event is just a small part of the Garden’s second annual Fall Garden Fair in which the Garden and Garden Foundation partner with the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs.

“It’s two full days of horticulture education, plant and art sales and children’s activities that celebrate gardening,” Pennell said. “The price of the fair is included with garden admission so there’s no extra charge for all those workshops Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

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