Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current, September 01, 2007, Page 14, Image 14

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14 2007
voice garden
For the Love of a Barn: A Farmwoman’s Story
By Evangeline Doyle
One of the first buildings built in 1900 in the Vernonia area has had
Lorna Poetter’s attention since 1977. That’s about the time she fell in love with the
old red barn that sits on Hwy 47 just North of Vernonia.
Of course this romance with all-things-old has a happy ending. Lorna was so smit-
ten with the barn; it was barn first…house later, when she and her husband Steve
purchased the property. Lorna had
been running Farm Woman’s Nurs-
ery from their farm on Keasey Road
in Vernonia. Once they purchase
the property, the barn and nursery
were first priority, as they lived on-
site in a trailer until their house was
built in 2006.
Lorna speaks of the old barn like it’s
part of her family, “It’s such a great
space, white barn owls live in the
cupola – and have been there for
years. The barn feels good…you
feel good being in there…and it has
great old barn smells.”
hundred different kinds of succulents growing at Farm Woman’s Nursery. Lorna
says “these are popular with gardeners due to the variety, and their being a no-fuss
plant – essentially they grow themselves.” She goes on to say, “and the dew on the
sedums beads up and sits there like little diamonds.” The best part is people with
little-to-no gardening experience can grow them.
Lorna also specializes in fruit
and shade trees. She’s often
asked “when’s the best time to
plant a tree?” She replies, “The
best time to plant was ten years
ago, and the second best time
to plant is today.” People often
put off planting tree’s thinking
they will take time to mature or
bear fruit, but Lorna says they
quickly bear fruit – in fact she
has many that are already bear-
ing fruit for sale at the nursery.
Another common misconcep-
tion is that it’s better to plant in
the Spring. This is not true for
berries, fruit trees, shrubs and
bulbs – in the Fall the ground is
still warm and roots take off.
Originally built by the Malmstein
family, it was used as a dairy farm.
But even aside from its color, the
barn has a colorful past. In the 50’s
it was a gathering place for young
people, there were dances upstairs,
and there was even a wedding in
the barn.
“The barn has been kept historically correct, everything is still intact and original –
save some needed repairs,” said Lorna. “All the timbers were hand-hewn by the
pioneers…it’s incredible to be a part of this history.”
Sadly though, it had seen some
neglect before Lorna and her
husband Steve purchased the
property. It wasn’t evident that it
had any repairs since the Malm-
steins built it, it hadn’t even been
painted. Lorna explains, “these
old buildings need stewards…we
must keep these buildings alive
for future generations to enjoy.”
Lorna began preparing herself
to own a garden nursery in 1997
when she enrolled in a Mas-
ter Gardener program through
OSU. After attaining her master
gardener status, she then took three years of landscape design and horticulture
classes through PCC. She opened Farm Woman’s Nursery in 2000.
Lorna does all of her planting in the Fall and her plants are acclimated to Vernonia’s
weather – making it easy for plants to be hardy here – or in the valley.
“Vernonia’s climate is colder – something newcomer’s to Vernonia aren’t always
aware of” says Lorna. “If it doesn’t grow here, we don’t carry it.”
Farm Woman’s Nursery is open Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Though Lorna runs her nursery
out of the barn, the barn attracts
both gardeners and non-garden-
ers alike. People just stop to see
the barn.
The barn has to share Lorna
though, as she appears to have
equal passion for her nursery…es-
pecially the succulents and trees
which are her specialty. When
Lorna was a child her grandma
had succulents on a rock wall
behind her house, Lorna said “it
reminds me of grandma ever time
I see them.”
And she must remember grandma
a lot, because Lorna has over one
5th Annual Vernonia Salmon Festival
Swedish massage
Trigger Point
Deep Tissue
for appointment call
Featuring: Arts & Crafts, Art Exhibition, Auction, Hay Rides, Kid’s
Trout Pond, Native American Dancing, Pumpkin Carving, Har-
vest Exhibition, Salmon Cook Off, Salmon Viewing Sites,
Scarecrow Building, Wine Tasting
Saturday, October 6th, 2007
10am - 6pm