EUGENE, Ore. - Every Thursday afternoon, rain or shine, local residents are welcome to visit the Owen Rose Garden - and contribute to its maintenance.
“I used to visit Eugene and come to this garden,” said Carol Saomai-Goswick, a volunteer at the Owen Rose Garden. “And when we decided to move here, it was the first thing on my list of places to do some volunteer work.”
Cutbacks have created an understaffed workplace, and the volunteers are appreciated.
“There’s only two people to take care of this whole rose garden,” said another volunteer, Betty Boyce. “And so they don’t have the time to prune eight thousand million roses, and weed, and all that.”
A staff member of Eugene Parks and Open Space, Clay Manders, does “garden maintenance, specific to roses.”
“So, pruning and deadheading and fertilizing,” said Manders. “Everything from that to mowing lawns and [being the] volunteer coordinator.”
“Well, you have to take off the old branches and you have to prune them,” said Boyce. “All of these have been pruned down this winter.”
"I like pruning,” said Saomai-Goswick. “I enjoy that particularly well.”
“Your cuts have to be at a certain angle, and your supposed to look at the shape of the bush,” said Boyce. “It really requires sort of being an artist, along with knowing how the plants grow, and why you do what you do.”
“Well, you get to know people, that’s one of the huge benefits,” said Saomai-Goswick. “That we get to know the people we’re working with, I enjoy that, because automatically people have at least one interest that’s similar to yours. This particular volunteer opportunity,” she said, “we have a little tea afterwards, which seems so perfect for the rose garden. We have tea and cookies after we finish our little volunteer period, which usually runs about three hours.”
“Yeah, I love it,” said Manders. “I’ve worked with volunteers a lot in my life, and this is a lot of fun.”
“I think it’s just so beautiful, especially when it’s in bloom, it’s absolutely stunning,” said Saomai-Goswick. “I think it’s such an asset to the community that I just wanted to do a little piece of it, to be a part of the community.”
Their hard work will be entirely revealed by June, when the roses will be in full bloom.
Contact the Owen Rose Garden at (541) 682-5025 for specific information to volunteer.
IF YOU GO: