WORTHY GARDEN CLUB STRIVES TO MAKE OUR COMMUNITY AND WORLD A BETTER PLACE THROUGH NUMEROUS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND PARTNERSHIPS WITH INFLUENTIAL ORGANIZATIONS. EXPLORE ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN BECOME INVOLVED WITH OUR AWESOME CREW.
CULTIVATING TRULY LOCAL SEED
Every year, we save seeds from some of our favorite herbs, perennials and wildflowers in our own garden to share with the community. A fraction gets used for our own propagation needs, while the rest gets packaged and sold as a WGC fundraiser or donated to the CENTRAL OREGON SEED EXCHANGE. You can find our seeds for sale every spring in the pub, including local favorites: milkweed, blanket flower, cosmos, borage, sunflowers, and barley. These seeds are tried and true Central Oregon survivors, cultivated from plants that thrive year after year in our hot and windswept gardens. Plant them to increase bee and bird traffic in your yard. Email for availability.
We like to know everything about anything, so we've housed quite a few amateur research projects in our greenhouse throughout the years - hydroponics, edible seed sprouts, hop breeding, worm composting and more. We're all about transparency so visitors are more than welcome to tour the greenhouse and see what we've got going on!
Over the years, we've transformed our conventionally landscaped property into an oasis of diverse, nectar and pollen rich gardens. Our raised beds host a rotating buffet of sage, thyme, chives, calendula, tomatoes and more, while the area around the greenhouse has been dedicated to high performing pollinator plants that increase habitat for native bees, birds and butterflies. We currently have over 30,000 square feet of pollinator-friendly gardens, including our raised herb & edible flower beds, two display gardens, a large rain garden, and a half acre of native plantings. Learn HOW TO PLANT FOR POLLINATORS in your own backyard!
NATIVES ALL THE WAY
We believe intensely in creating beautiful landscapes that reflect the scenery around us. While we've concentrated the bulk of our non-native plantings in the immediate area of the greenhouse and hop yard, we wanted to make the rest of the property a uniquely Central Oregon experience focused on resource conservation and ecological health. Landscaping with native plants saves time, money, and water while also creating a sense of place in the high desert and valuable habitat for native flora and fauna. Though we do live in a desert, there are plenty of native trees, shrubs, and colorful wildflowers that can enhance the value and beauty of your property. We teamed up with local WinterCreek Nursery to show you HOW TO USE NATIVE PLANTS in your own landscape.
WE'RE A MONARCH WAYSTATION
Each fall, monarch butterflies make their great North American migration from Canada and the U.S. to the mountains of central Mexico where they overwinter in a more mild climate. Monarchs rely on flowers for food along the way and milkweed as the sole host for monarch eggs and larvae. Due to habitat loss at their breeding and overwintering grounds, monarch butterfly populations have greatly declined in the past few decades. But you can help! Monarch Waystations provide vital habitat for these beautiful creatures and are essential for the future survival of the entire species. WGC became a Monarch Waystation in 2017, planting large swaths of two native species of milkweed (along with many other nectar plants) in the sunny southeast corner of the garden. Come visit us in the peak of summer to see all the butterfly activity and learn how to BECOME A MONARCH WAYSTATION. No effort is too small.
BEES ARE ESSENTIAL...AND COOL!
Honey bees are amazing creatures. They are necessary to the future of our food web and endlessly fascinating in their social structure. We acquired our top bar beehive in 2017 with the goal of raising awareness about the plight of pollinators amid climate change, habitat destruction, colony collapse disorder and monoculture farming - and of course to score ourselves a bit of honey! We manage our bees as naturally as we can, relying on superior gene pools to help combat modern beekeeping troubles. And while we do get some honey from our hive, its main purpose is to educate visitors on the intricacies of honey bee life and what we can do to improve it.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR?
Lesson #1: It's hard to keep bees in Central Oregon.
Honey bees are not native to the United States. It's a common misconception, but depending on the species, honey bees are actually native to regions in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Erratic winters and dearthy summers can be hard on them, and combined with our hive style - more natural, but less efficient for honey production - we don't make out like bandits on the honey front.
Lesson #2: If the weather doesn't get you, mites will.
Varroa mites are one of the guaranteed scourges you'll encounter as a beekeeper no matter where you live. Parasitically feeding off both larvae and adult bees, these mites reproduce quickly and can take down an entire hive in a few short weeks. We know - our 2018 season was cut short by a varroa mite infestation. We researched a better way to check mite levels after that and carried on into 2019.
Lesson #3: Bees are AMAZING.
We are fascinated by the complexity with which honey bee hives operate and never tire of sharing our enthusiasm with curious visitors. Read HONEY BEES 101 to get an introduction and email or catch our horticulturist/beekeeper on site to learn more ().
Our hopyard showcases the pride of Pacific Northwest hop breeding and serves as a satellite lab for Oregon State University. We have many varieties on site that were developed by the USDA-ARS Hop Breeding program under OSU's Dr. Al Haunold, who is basically our hop hero, and we continue to assist OSU in their research efforts to this day.
OSU LOVES AROMA HOPS
Although the aroma hop breeding program is relatively new, Oregon State University has had close ties with hop breeding for decades. Dr. Al Haunold, who was at the helm of the USDA-ARS Hop Breeding Program from 1965 to 1995, partnered with researchers at OSU to develop and release over a dozen new varieties to the American public during his tenure. This collaboration continues today, with the country's largest collection of hop plants and genetic material housed in USDA facilities not far from campus.
Our partnership with OSU began in 2012 when university staff from the Hop Breeding & Genetics program helped design and plant the hop yard with a few questions in mind: could Central Oregon hops become commercially viable? Would the short growing season reduce harvest yields? Would certain varieties perform better than their counterparts in the Willamette Valley?
Fast forward a few years and we've learned that late spring frosts can kick back some growth, but this seems to have no effect on final harvest tallies. And being on the dry side, we can avoid the scourge of downy mildew from which the valley suffers each year. However, our hot, dry, and sometimes stormy summers leave us more susceptible to spider mite outbreaks and wind damage.
BUT DO WE MAKE BEER WITH OUR HOPS?
Yes, of course! We harvest part of our yard for a yearly fresh hop pub-only beer (look for it on tap every September) and use the rest of it for our Hoptoberfest Brew-Off. Why would we grow hops and not make beer with them?!
IN THE GARDEN