Check out our new open hours sign up calendar here!
Please help the Garden of Union fulfill our open hours requirements for the season and sign up for at least one open hours shift this season. Here are some FAQs about open hours at GOU:
Who can host open hours?
Any oriented member who is comfortable inviting people into the garden and enforcing our posted rules as necessary can keep open hours. You should know the lock combination and be able to take responsibility for unlocking the garden and locking it back up at the end of the shift.
Which hours need member coverage?
The Garden of Union and Annie’s Garden host scheduled open hours on Saturdays 10am-2pm and Sundays 12pm – 6pm from April through October. We have found it helpful to break up our scheduled open hours into 2-hour coverage shifts:
What is required of me if I volunteer?
The open hours host should arrive on time to open the gate and put the “OPEN” sign on the sidewalk by the entry. It would be nice if the host welcomes visitors into the garden and offers to answer any questions. Many people do not realize we are an open, public space. It is also helpful to answer questions about composting; i.e. put only acceptable material into the bins and use the correct bins. Other than that, have a seat and enjoy a couple of hours of peace and fresh air!!
For safety reasons, a member should be physically present in the Garden while the gate is open. Also, if any visitor is not in compliance with our rules, which are posted at the gate, the open hours host should remind the guest politely of those rules. This is not frequently an issue.
Does hosting open hours count as a contribution to the Garden that allows me to harvest?
Hosting open hours is a valuable contribution! Please keep in mind our guidelines for harvesting: first, what you harvest should be in proportion to the work you’ve provided; second, harvest only what is ready, leaving some for others; and third, please don’t harvest in ways that will preclude future production. Please consider that many of our members and stewards regularly contribute several hours per week maintaining the beds and plants. It takes a lot of hard work to keep our garden looking lovely!
Is this really important?
Yes! Keeping open hours is required under our lease with the City. If we break the terms of our lease, the City can initiate legal action to turn the garden over to another group or to developers. Also, part of our mission is to maintain a space for the community to enjoy. Keeping regular open hours facilitates interaction with our neighbors and provides a lovely surprise to folks visiting the area.
As a member, am I REQUIRED to host open hours?
No, the Garden of Union does not require hosting open hours or any other volunteer participation, but generally we find that members really enjoy contributing!! Hosting open hours is a great way to escape your computer and phone, meet your neighbors and enjoy a rare quiet moment.
Are there tasks/projects I can work on in the garden while I host open hours?
A task that always needs attention is picking up trash from the entrance, walkways and beds. Stewards may post tasks at the shed from time to time, which might include weeding or watering a specific section. You can always reach out to the stewards before your shift to see if anything needs attention.
We are lucky to have a good team of stewards who are responsible for different areas of the garden–it is best to check in before adjusting any plants or bedding material as there is usually a reason for how things are organized. There is a map and steward contact list posted at the shed.
What if I see something that really looks like it needs attention?
If something appears to be an urgent safety hazard, please use good judgment. If you are able and comfortable, reasonable measures can be taken to correct the problem. You can also call a steward with questions or for help. If it is not an urgent matter, contact the steward for that area to alert them to the issue. There is a map and steward contact list posted at the shed.
Thank you for helping keep the Garden of Union beautiful!