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Volunteers improve Ever Green House
November 04, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Courtesy Photo This past summer, volunteer Rose Higel waters the area around the Community Ever Green House in Gering as volunteers showed up to pull weeds and clean up the area.

In 1986, with help from the City of Gering, the Community Ever Green House was built to promote the idea of a community garden.

Over the years, the greenhouse has hosted a children’s gardening club, as well as both cooking and painting classes. One of the inside highlights that people still talk about is a fully grown fig tree.

But the greenhouse struggled with finding people to keep it open, so it was eventually closed last year.

Carol Knaub, who lives in the area, said she often walked by the greenhouse and thought it could use some “spring cleaning,” so she volunteered for the job. From May until October 2015, she kept busy cleaning inside and out, knocking down the weeds with some help from city staff.

With a $10,000 grant from the city’s keno in the summer of 2016, Knaub, now serving as volunteer organizer, has been busy purchasing tools for use at the greenhouse and preparing for fall cleanup.

On Oct. 15, about 10 volunteers, one of them 91 years young, arrived to help clean up the greenhouse area in preparation for a busy spring.

“We were getting the area around the gazebo ready for planting bulbs this fall,” Knaub said. “We’ll be looking for a lot of vibrant color as the flowers bloom in the spring.”

The Gering Parks Department has been offering some assistance, such as repairing solar panels on the roof and, next spring, pouring a concrete slab where a storage shed will be built toward the back of the property.

Went the weather improves, the Gering High School construction students will get involved in building the shed, and the art classes will be painting figures on wood panels that will become a fence around the garden.

“I’ve contacted the elementary schools and each of them will build a scarecrow for us to use at the greenhouse,” Knaub said. “The scarecrows will include plaques for each school to recognize them for their work.”

Also helping to update the greenhouse and clean up the grounds is the work crew from the county detention center.

“We’re looking into buying some ultraviolet shades for inside the greenhouse,” Knaub said “Without them it just gets too hot inside and burns the flowering plants.”

Knaub said it’s not just flowering plants that are grown inside. Several varieties of vegetables, from zucchini to tomatoes, to cucumbers are planted for eventual donation to the local senior center.

Some of the flowers started in the greenhouse will eventually be transplanted to the Robidoux Trading Post area. Volunteers are investigating a new project for next spring – a pumpkin patch just across the street from the greenhouse. Local children will plant the seeds and come back in the fall to pick them. The project could help bring back one of the greenhouse’s original missions to involve local schools in learning about gardening.

The Community Ever Green House is located at D Street and Immigrant Trail Road, next to the National Guard Armory in south Gering. Knaub said she’s always looking for people who want to join them. She can be reached at 308-641-4169.
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