Sisters turned out to celebrate the new Community Garden facility last week. photo by Diane Goble
Sisters turned out to celebrate the new Community Garden facility last week. photo by Diane Goble

The members of Sisters Community Garden hosted a garden party last week to recognize all the people and businesses that have contributed to the success of this community project.

As honored guests meandered through the organic labyrinth located just southeast of the Sisters Airport runway, garden advisor Donna Parker took visitors new to the garden on a tour through the 44 planting beds showing off the variety of fruits and vegetables planted by community members, including children, with enough left over to be able to donate about 300 pounds of fresh produce to the local food banks every year.

In the background, against a threatening stormy sky that spared the garden and moved on just in time for the guests to start arriving, played The Anvil Blasters, a Western Americana band, with Jim Cornelius, Lynn Woodward, Jeff Wester and Mike Biggers.

Garden manager Marvin Benson told guests the story of the greenhouse - taking it from a dream to reality, and what a benefit it is to growing starter and vine plants that can't take our Central Oregon weather extremes or our shorter growing season.

Ruthie Douglas and her tireless volunteers had the garden all dressed up with tables and chairs scattered throughout the garden. There was a colorful tablecloth and a vase of flowers on every table, and a delicious buffet spread with foods made from local produce and delicious strawberry-rhubarb pie baked by gardeners made for a fun evening of good food, good company and good entertainment.

"This garden embodies the spirit of the community," Douglas said. "It was built by the generosity of the Sisters community- that is what we are recognizing this evening. I believe all this calls for a celebration!"

Community Garden vice-president Bob Lawton stopped the music to begin the program and asked one of the original members, Sue Stafford, to give a little of the history since it began in 2006. (See related story, page 13.)

Champagne was passed around, and Lawton asked all to raise their glasses in toast to Marvin Benson for all the work he has done in bringing this community together. Lawton then recognized some of the many people who contributed their time, money or support to make this beautiful oasis in the desert come to life.

The greenhouse structure has been a major accomplishment thanks to financial gifts from the Bensons, Sisters Garden Club, Sisters Rotary Club, the estate of Anne Keith, an anonymous donor, and a community grant from the City of Sisters.

The Meyer Family Trust "Cultivating Local Food Grant" provided funds for pavers and irrigation materials. Tim Clasen, "The Irrigation Guy," installed the sprinklers. Sisters Rental provided the use of equipment free of charge. Marshall Electric ran electric service from Marvin Benson's house to the greenhouse. Robinson & Owen Heavy Construction bulldozed the berms around the outside of the fence. A lot of plants, bushes and trees have been donated by various people and planted on the berms to provide a greater buffer against the winds that come sweeping down from the Three Sisters.

As the light began to dim, The Anvil Blasters played on and people hung around to chat and watch the sunset on another lovely day in Sisters.