Env. Center hosts Tuesday happy hour in its garden 4 minutes, 18 seconds ago.
Megan Marie has wanted to work in someone’s garden since she moved from Corvallis to Bend about a year ago.
Being uncomfortable about boldly asking a stranger if she could dig in their dirt, a series of posters advertising a weekly “Happy Hour in the Garden” at The Environmental Center have been a pleasing discovery.
“I’ve been meaning to come for the past couple weeks,” said Marie, 29, who didn’t let last Tuesday’s rain showers keep her from spraying the center’s plants with soapy water while enjoying a nice cold beer. “I kept telling myself ‘I should go,’ ‘I should go,’ and so I finally came.”
An extra perk for her work, a free beer.
The community garden in downtown Bend started hosting the events on June 23. (See If you go.)
Garden manager Denise Rowcroft likes the weekly events because they give her a chance to catch up on some garden maintenance work she couldn’t finish during the day. It also gives the center’s volunteers a chance to help around the garden without sacrificing a weekend.
So far, anywhere from four to 12 people have stopped by the center’s Tuesday evening happy hours that typically last from 4 to 6 p.m.
“We’ve had people who didn’t even live here come by to help,” said Rowcroft, who spent one afternoon pouring coffee grounds on some of the center’s plants with a family of tourists who were staying in a nearby vacation rental and decided to stop by.
Other volunteers have helped Rowcroft pull weeds out of the garden’s beds, clear out any dead plants that might attract bugs and spray down healthy plants with soapy water so unwanted pests skitter away.
“It’s a pretty relaxed environment,” Rowcroft said, explaining a lot of people like doing routine maintenance work because it gives them a chance to do something outdoors in an environment that is not at all stressful.
People might also want to work in the garden because its beds are part of an educational program that works with the Bend Montessori School on NW Bond Street, Amity Elementary School on NW Wall Street, a Sunday school class at the Bend United Methodist Church and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Oregon. All four groups play a role in the garden’s planting and maintenance, she said, adding they also get a share of the food it produces.
Since it is a happy hour, Rowcroft makes sure she has at least two or three growlers of beer or cider from local favorites like Boneyard Brewing, McMenamins Old St. Francis School or Far Afield Cider. She said lemonade and other non-alcoholic drinks will also be available because these special garden work hours are still designed to be a family event.
“It’s encouraging,” said Shar Hughes, who has an internship with the garden while taking classes for a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at Central Oregon Community College. “(Having beer) brings in a new crowd of volunteers that we wouldn’t normally attract.”
Marie, however, insists that simply having a chance to work with “the plants and nature” was enough to convince her to show up at Tuesday’s garden happy hour and that she would have come without the free beer. It was a nice bonus, though, she admitted.
“It’s a win-win,” Marie said while enjoying a glass of beer.
— Reporter: 541-617-7816, email@example.com