Wallace M. Ruff Jr. Memorial Park and Magnolia Arboretum, Springfield, Oregon

Courtesy Wallace M. Ruff Jr. Memorial Garden
Courtesy Wallace M. Ruff Jr. Memorial Garden and Magnolia Arboretum

Wallace M. Ruff Jr. Memorial Park and Magnolia Arboretum

Hidden away in a small neighborhood park in Springfield, Ore., is a youthful forest of ancient treasures. The hundreds of young trees planted here are among a species believed to be the oldest of all flowering plants.

Magnolias evolved before bees appeared and the huge blooms are pollinated by beetles.

Ruff Park was founded by Wallace M. “Mack” Ruff Sr., who donated the property after the death of his son, Wallace M. Ruff Jr., who farmed flowers there as a young student. Ruff Sr. was a landscape architect, anthropologist and magnolia enthusiast. Friends banded together to continue Ruff Sr.’s vision for the park after his death in 1999.

Courtesy Wallace M. Ruff Memorial Garden
Courtesy Wallace M. Ruff Jr. Memorial Garden and Magnolia Arboretum
Today, a committed group of volunteers works with Willamalane Park and Recreation District to nurture this budding arboretum. Their hard work is rewarded each year in early spring, when thousands of big, bold blooms burst open on the trees’ bare branches, bringing welcome color after a rainy Oregon winter.

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