Meet Mark Akimoff, our new Garden Manager|Curator
We are pleased to welcome Salem native Mark Akimoff as our new Garden Manager | Curator! In this position, Mark will be responsible for managing the restoration and maintenance of the historic garden at Gaiety Hollow as well as provide oversight of the Lord & Schryver-designed gardens at neighboring Deepwood. Mark will also supervise the LSC volunteer gardeners and support the organization’s community programming.
Mark comes to LSC with over 20 years of experience in historic garden management, botany, propagation, irrigation, IPM, volunteer supervision and community education. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Oregon State University.
Mark began his career as a propagator at the historic Rae Selling Berry Botanic Garden in Portland OR working with rare and endangered native plants and managing the curatorial collection. At Berry, Mark was fortunate to be mentored by several highly skilled plantsmen who instilled in him a love of alpine gardens as well as a passion for rare bulbs and other unique cultivars.
After Berry closed, Mark joined McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale OR as an Assistant Garden Manager where he supervised a team of gardeners in managing a diverse landscape situated among historical buildings. Next, Mark accepted the position of Groundskeeper at the Oregon School for the Blind (now closed) which was located only one block from Gaiety Hollow. “This was one of my favorite jobs…designing unique sensory gardens for students to experience,” Mark says. “Plus, what I learned about the school’s microclimate and cultural conditions can be applied to Gaiety Hollow.”
After 10 years as an estate gardener, Mark joined Salem’s Public Works Department in Storm Water Management working with wetlands, riparian restorations, bio-swales and rain-gardens. Most recently, Mark worked for Keizer’s Public Works Department educating community members and students on botany, urban forestry, botanical research and using plants to solve environmental problems.
“We are thrilled to have Mark as our new Garden Manager | Curator” said Lord & Schryver Conservancy Board Chair, Bobbie Dolp. “Mark’s strong horticulture background, experience working in historic gardens and positive interpersonal skills make him ideal for this position” she added.
In his free time, Mark grows hardy bulbs from around the world, selling them through his online company, Illahee Rare Bulbs. Mark also enjoys everything outdoors, especially if it involves spending time with his delightful 15-year-old daughter.