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The Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy
1931 NW 33rd Street, Lincoln City, OR 97367
(541) 994-6338

History of the Garden

Maud Wanker, a local artist and painting teacher, originally developed the property where the Garden is located in the 1950's. The Garden House was her small home and gallery. Some older plants remain from this time, including a Rhododendron 'Cynthia', now a tree, along with ancient native Sitka spruce and alder.

Constance Hansen in her Garden
Connie Hansen

Constance Hansen, widowed at the time, bought a portion of this Garden in the early 1970's and immediately began gardening. She had been looking for a sheltered, damp location where she could grow her favorite plant, the iris. This location was unlike her previous garden in Walnut Creek, California, where she had a grand garden destined to be destroyed for a BART Transit station.

Her first plantings were near the house. Connie planted Styrax japonica and Japanese maples, as well as Magnolia 'Alexandria'. These trees have grown tall now and are still to be seen in the Garden. There is a remnant of the original garden on the east side of house as well, near the garden shed, where you will find a planting of Himalayan maidenhair fern and Cyclamen hederifolium with its silvered leaves and delicate pink and rose flowers.

Next she began to create beds along the southwest corner, to house the many plants she was growing from seeds of all kinds. Between the street and the house, there was a large lawn. Mrs. Turner, a well-known gardener herself, once asked Connie, "Isn't there too much lawn?" Connie must have been stung by this remark, for she began to garden in earnest. She cleared the land along the little creek which meanders through the Garden on the north side of the property. Here you can find iris and primula beds, and many Rhododendrons and other plants adapted to damp soil.

Blue Siberian Iris

Connie developed an ongoing interest in rhododendrons, scalping away the sod and creating bed after bed for her newfound treasures, collecting the common hybrids and unusual species wherever she found a new name. Azaleas and heathers caught her eye as well, and combined beautifully with her beloved rhodies. She also planted more magnolias, maples, dogwood and other shrubs and trees.

During the same time, Connie began to seek out, propagate and plant unusual perennials, making a large bed of Euphorbia, Siberian and other iris, ornamental grasses, cardoon, poppies and many other showy plants through the middle of what previously had been lawn. Grass was now relegated only to paths, which she kept meticulously edged and bordered with pinks, sea thrift and other low blooming plants. Some of the original plants are still in the perennial bed and others have been added to keep the swath of color as it was.

Iris Bed

Late in 1986, Connie acquired the adjoining lot to fill out the southeast corner of her garden. She had casually pushed her garden into the vacant property, making neat beds in which to grow a few vegetables and a lot of experimental seedlings and bulbs. Now she was able to expand her Japanese iris collection, planting a stream of color from white through deep purple that flowed through a damp drainage area.

Through the some twenty years of gardening on this site, day in and day out, she consumed nearly all of the property into planting beds with only the grassy paths on which to pull along her rusty garden cart. From her garden journals, which are available for visitors to read at the Garden, we know that she truly loved planting and growing. And from her Garden, we know she had a wonderful artistic talent as well.

During the final years of Connie's life, the Garden fell into neglect due to her illness and advancing years. Several months before her death in 1993, Connie sold, and moved from, her residence at the garden. Few gardens outlast their owners, but the neighbors in the community wanted to preserve the Garden, and the The Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy was created. Generous bequests allowed the Garden to be purchased in 1994 from the real estate investor to whom it had been sold, and today it is maintained by a small group of dedicated volunteers.

With Connie's passing, the Garden took on a new chapter in its life. As the trees, rhododendrons and other plants grow, the Garden becomes more mature, more shady and darker. But with annual pruning and plant replacement, the Garden continues to be maintained with an eye to Connie's style and plans.

An additional lot adjoining the northeast border of Connie's Garden has been donated to the Garden and is being developed to compliment the older Garden and make even more space available for visitors to enjoy.