Bethany Garden Apprenticeship Wraps Up a Successful Year


On December 5, the Bethany Garden Apprenticeship Program celebrated the completion of its first production season.

But Lilly Grace, Sean and Dawn’s new 2 week old baby girl, stole the show.  She was so tiny and perfect and charming.  She also waited until after the garden season was finished to be born.  A very considerate little girl.

Another highlight was that Michael Overmars’ two grandmothers, as well as his parents, were able to attend the celebration.  Michael’s grandfather worked at Bethany in his day.  He was one of the Dutch farming immigrants who was sponsored by the Sisters of St Martha after the war.  When he was finished at Bethany, he carved a beautiful horse and cart as a thank you gift for the sisters.  It is now in the lobby of the Bethany building.

Michael with his grandfather's carving

Michael with his grandfather’s carving

Michael pulled out a part of the carving where all the names of the ‘farm boys’ were inscribed.  At the base is written: “Thank you to Sister Theresa Alban from the farm boys.”

Thanks to all the people who made this year such a success!  It seems that Sean and Michael had a great learning experience; many visitors to the garden were impressed with the crops; the Sisters seemed to be really happy and engaged with the garden; and David and I learned so much too!  We were very impressed with Sean and Michael’s work ethic and their ability to work together.  We also learned a great deal from Sister Donna and Sister Florence.  They have such integrity!  They were very clear communicators, very good organizers, and have such a wonderful combination of sweetness and firm boundaries.  We also want to thank Brian Ives for his part in initiating the project.

Looking back over the production season, there were some tense moments.  The hoop house lost its plastic cover in a wind storm.  The deer had to learn not to come in and raid the garden.  It was a very cold spring, and a very dry summer!

On the positive side, the raised beds helped the soil drain when there was too much rain, and the irrigation system really came in handy when there was not enough rain.  The deer fence kept the deer out.  Sean and Michael really helped each other.  People supported both Sean and Michael at farmers’ markets and other vegetable outlets.

Here are a few photos from the celebration.


Dawn and her baby Lilly Grace


Michael and Sean answering questions


Michael with his parents

michael grandmothers

Michael with his two grandmothers

donnalillysean donnalillyflorence lillycharming michaelsean questions michaelo

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3 Responses to Bethany Garden Apprenticeship Wraps Up a Successful Year

  1. Susan says:

    So happy that Sean had this opportunity to work at Bethany Garden this year. I hope that future apprentices learn as much from this experience as Sean and Michael did in 2014.

  2. prionsias says:

    Hi everyone at Bethany,
    Since this is really such an inspiring blog – and program – I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You can read my post about this here:

    I look forward to seeing what happens in the Bethany Garden next year!

    Frances ( yes, that sister’s sister!)

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