St. Francis Cutting Garden and Parish Grounds

“To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love, For it is in giving that we receive. . .”
~ from The Prayer of Saint Francis

2020: The Marlene and Ron Jenck and Alma Bingham bequests bring about transformation - we give thanks for their gifts of love for their parish home.

On the North side of Holy Cross (along the alleyway) is the fenced St. Francis Cutting Garden which had uneven asphalt and the parking area in front of it was even more uneven! It became a pond in the winter because of poor water drainage. Here are the "before" photos.

The project began in January 2020 and the same diligent contractor who did the School Playground completely removed all the old asphalt, leveled the slope away from the parish offices, laid black plastic and added sand with these larger and safer brick pavers and added an edging up next to the raised beds. Then, the entire parking area outside was scraped and the asphalt and cement sections underneath were removed - the whole area leveled and a new border added... loads of gravel brought in and new larger pavers added to the choir side doorway.

This will allow our use of the garden for retreats, meetings, and... we have plans for Coffee and Doughnuts after Mass in the future!

The All Souls Bake Sale for Spring Bulbs: Nov. 2nd and 3rd, 2019

Holy Cross Parishioners were again very supportive and most generous in this Bake Sale - it will allow us to plant bulbs in the newly created front of the Church beds and also in the "added to" beds around the Ray Thomas Memorial Garden beds. Also some bulbs will be added to the Holy Cross school beds along N. Hodge.

Bake Sale table at Vestibule of Holy Cross, Nov. 2nd and 3rd, 2019

 June 2019 and the Rose Festival! From Pails to Prizes! and the Spring Rose Show at Lloyd Center.

We entered our new Rose Bed in the 81st Annual Royal Rosarian Foundation Rose Garden Contest. On Sunday, June 2nd, 2019, Royal Rosarian judges came to Holy Cross Catholic Church to judge our Rose Garden.

On June 4th we received a letter advising us we won First Place in Division 11 (Churches, Hospitals, and Schools)... we also won this category for First Time Entry. The awards are these official Garden Stakes!

*(Rose bushes planted in 2018 from funds donated by parishioners for our First Lenten Bake Sale for Plants.) 

March 2018                                                                           June 2019                  

June 18th, 2019: Holy Cross Catholic Church receives two garden stake awards at the Washington Park Rosarian Rose Garden.


On June 6th, 2019 at the 2019 131st Annual Spring Rose Show at Lloyd Center, sponsored by the Portland Rose Society, two of our new roses: Sugar Moon (white Hybrid Tea) and Monkey Business (yellow Floribunda) were given First Place awards and Trophies in the Novice Category. The awards were a crystal vase and silver tray which are now in our Blessed Mother's Alcove in the Church (filled with roses).


Spring 2019: Our Third Bake Sale for Plants was to add to the garden beds of the front of the Church.

For Easter 2019 - a stone paver border was added by Greg and Steve Thomas and nephew Trevor with added new plants recommended and supplied by Marbott Nursery: these included Red Garnet Japanese Maples, white azaleas, cypress and abelias. 


On the Northeast corner, Holy Cross parishioners Steve and Greg Thomas with their nephew Trevor Thomas and friend Matt took up sod, leveled ground and laid stone pavers they donated for the project.  The plants were recommended by  Larry Marbott of Marbott's Nursery  on Columbia Blvd. (we are so grateful for his landscaping recommendations and providing such beautiful plants) 

3) Chamlawsonia Blue Gem and  2) Bloomerang Lilac for a hedge along side the alley

Fall 2018: Our Second Bake Sale for Plants allowed us to plant over 900 crocus, anemones, daffodil lily and tulip bulbs.

2018 - May and June

Holy Cross parishioners Steve and Greg Thomas added brick borders to the gardens on the south and north sides, with another pot added to the south side door,

and they designed and built a beautiful new stone garden bed - dedicated to their Dad and long time parishioner Ray Thomas. This memorial garden was blessed and dedicated by Fr. Mark Bachmeier on August 26th, 2018 (the birthday of Ray Thomas).  The Memorial is to all the faithful departed of Holy Cross Catholic Church.


2018 - The first annual Bake Sale for Plants was held right before Ash Wednesday.  Over 15 talented bakers donated home made cakes, pies, cookies and even cinnamon rolls!  This was a great success thanks to the generosity of our parishioners.  The proceeds were dedicated to buying plants for the South side garden beds.  The below describes what the funds have provided. 

April 9th, 2018 the three Celestial Shadow Kousa white dogwood trees that Larry Marbott of Marbott's Nursery recommended for the south side bed were planted.  While these are small now, they will leaf out in a couple of weeks with variegated foliage and white dogwood the fall the foliage will turn a deep pink/ red ..these will only grow up to ten to fifteen feet in height.  Photo on the right.

Over the next few weeks we will also be adding summer blooming bulbs and zinnia seeds looking for summer color!



We also received a very special long distance donation from Dave and Linda Erickson (former but always parishioners) to purchase two new rose bushes Both prolific and beautiful floribunda roses:   one is white called White Licorice and the other is yellow and called Monkey Business ......if you look closely at the photo on the left , you will see them right behind one of the dogwoods.  These will be called our ER roses!  It is a blessing to have a past president of the Portland Rose Society to give us advice and on going recommendations for our new south side rose bed!


In March, 2018 Holy Cross contacted Phil Edmunds of Garden Rose Consulting to come out and provide us with a free consultation on what roses would be best for use in all the cut flower arrangements we use for liturgical seasons and First Communions, Confirmations, Funerals......etc.......we need a lot of white and some red roses.  Phil advised our committee that some excellent choices would be:

Pope John Paul II (White),  Olympiad  (Red) and Sugar Moon (White) .....we contracted with him to order the bare root roses and then plant them for us to give them the best possible start in life.  We cleared the bed and Nancy and Larry Wissbaum and Michelle Dumas transplanted some plants to the school bed and Mary's garden and Steve and Greg Thomas and their nephew Trevor with Ursula Cawley created a new border and determined where the roses would go, digging holes and putting buckets as place holders.

Then on Friday, March 16th Phil Edmunds came out and planted our newest additions to the southside garden. This bed will be called the RMS rose garden.  The photo on the left is Lorie Simmons weeding and we had Melissa Compton, Deb Volker, Nancy Wissbaum and Mike and Debbie Myers with Ursula Cawley watching Phil as he expertly planted the roses in.  We just need to wait until June / July to see the beginnings of these lovely roses.

With another bake sale for plants ........we hope to add more roses next year!

In February, 2018 

The Friends of St. Francis needed help with landscaping ideas and Larry Marbott of Marbott's  Nursery on North Columbia Blvd. came to the parish to make recommendations for what plants would do well in full sun.

BEFORE PICTURES     March 2018     For the Front Office beds, Larry recommended Choisya Sundance (Mexican Orange), Blue Surprise Cypress, Hebe, Daphne and Limelight Paniculata Hydrangea.  These would provide color and could be used for cuttings for flower arrangements in the Church.

AFTER PICTURES  -March 2018 that's Nancy Wissbaum watering in the new plants



At the side door on the south side, Fr. Mark suggested we remove the sod and have a pot with plants and flowers.   In February, 2018 Steve Thomas and Ursula Cawley moved one of the large cement pots  from the St. Francis cutting garden to the front of the side door.  Steve laid a brick foundation and sedum from Marbott's Nursery was planted in the soil at the base.



Much work was done on the North side garden bed.  Steve and Greg Thomas and Mark Hungerford worked to expand the bed, rototilling it and adding compost to it.  They also added a brick

border running the length of the North bed.  A full brick border was added to the St. Francis Cutting Garden as well.   These bricks were donated to Holy Cross by Mike and Jean Houston. 

Steve and Greg Thomas then built and installed 4 new raised beds in the St. Francis Cutting Garden when the new chain link fence extension was built in the Fall of 2017..

In 2017, we had donations of plants from Sue Brunkow,  Ursula Cawley, Melissa Compton, Dave and Linda Erickson, Yvonne Jordan, Kitty Lund, Vince and Jana Ripley, Mary Ellen Stesney and Nancy and Larry Wissbaum.  


2016 - December

We had a spring bulb planting party with Debbie and Mike Myers, Deb Volker, Steve Thomas and Ursula Cawley.  We planted over 300 bulbs, donated by parishioners on the front of the church and south side beds, with over 20 peony tubers donated by members of our Hispanic community.

Spring of 2016   - The garden begins

 In the Spring of 2016, behind the Parish Office, was a long strip of grass enclosed by a chain link fence.  A garden plan was developed to remove sod from either side and put in flower beds so that they would serve to provide cutting flowers for church decorations.



A statue of St. Francis was donated to the garden by Melissa Compton and the garden was named: the St. Francis Cutting Garden.

Three meditation stations were laid down with tablets of scripture verses




and a cedar bench was donated by Mary Ellen Stesney.

Donations from parishioners were made including: beautyberry, dahlias, ferns, forsythia, fushia, hostas, hydrangeas, japanese anenone, lillies, mums, roses, shasta daisies, and wisteria to name just a few.  Seeds of sunflowers, sweet william and zinnias were planted.                                       

In the Fall of 2016, Steve Thomas built 2 raised beds in which spring bulbs were planted. These daffodils and tulips were used for Church decorations during the Easter Season of 2017.