Urban Gardening at a Coworking Space: CoWork 414 has the newest community garden on the block

When I moved to the City of Bethlehem from the suburbs, I needed to find a garden. Urban gardening at a coworking space hadn’t crossed my mind, but it was yet to come.

Jennifer had already got me in on the ground floor of CoWork 414. Next, she welcomed me to dig up the dirt in the back “yard.” Presented as a way to help – it is truly a gift.

An urban garden buds among coworkers

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Hot pink roses and petunias at ESSA Bank called for color.

So I figured I’d try out urban gardening. Growing plants, especially edible ones, seemed tricky in the hustle and bustle of the city. But I do enjoy harvesting lunch between client calls.

We walked to a patch of weeds. Small, though, just two manageable beds and a Japanese holly bush already took up most of the one on the left. Among Jennifer, Gary, Donna and me … we predicted to be done within a week.

But “done” is not part of any gardener’s growing vocabulary. A garden is a work in progress

It started in the middle of summer. The heat wave enticed me to the air-conditioned office, but one afternoon, before our 4th Friday Celebration, some of us couldn’t resist the outdoors.

The soil is so easy to work with here. Weeds wiggled out effortlessly after one of our many thunderstorms. 

We discovered that the bed on the right buried tree roots. Surprise! I didn’t dare touch them. In a battle between a human and a tree, the tree usually wins.

But with Jennifer’s tug on a trowel and stomp on a spade, she lifted them right out.

Conversation sparks an “emergency marigold run”

community garden at coworking office cowork 414 bethlehem
Marigolds, and more margiolds.

A sunny Saturday prompted us to plant, finally! Jennifer mentioned, “I’ve looked everywhere, and this late in the season I just can’t find any marigolds.”

“Leave it to me,” I said.

I called up Ray and Vicky at Pharo Garden Center. A flat of marigolds – reserved.

Bright and early, I flew to Pharo.

“Thanks, Ray, I had to do an emergency marigold run.”

“Where are you gardening today?” he asked.

As Ray knows all too well, I have four gardens: my window, the courtyard behind my apartment, a plot of vegetables at the NCC East 40 Community Garden … and now a landscaping task at CoWork!

CoWork gives GrowIt dianthus samples a home

dianthus growit samples in Pennsylvania garden
Thanks, GrowIt, for the dianthus samples!

Next, we need mulch (and more flowers).

My apartment buzzer rang on cue. GrowIt gifted me these samples of pink dianthus, all boxed up and ready to go. It was like Christmas morning in the Christmas City.

I scrolled through the GrowIt mobile app. Dianthus need lots of sun. With a few minutes to spare, I thought, I’ll just pop them in at CoWork.

Four bags of mulch greeted the four dianthus. These pink ladies found their way in line with the marigolds … and one thing led to another, and I weeded and mulched the beds. In a small space, you can actually get tasks “done.”

Growing a productive, creative environment

community garden coworking space bethlehem pa

Now, the marigolds line our entranceway, up to the red door, and create a striking contrast of orange, yellow and pink blooms.

Jennifer and Gary sourced some really interesting varieties, ones I hadn’t ever noticed before. Two shrubs, Blue Baron Rhododendron and Valley Rose Pieris, and a new basil for all of us – Pesto Perpetuo, which is both beautiful and edible. Sweet Lemon Mint, oregano and sage top off the collection.

More edible plants have joined the herbs outside. Jennifer sprouted basil in a red bowl, which served as a centerpiece in our conference room and now rests among the sage and pesto perpetuo.

Purple bush string beans, from my seed collection, are towering over the marigolds. Sebastian who works next door at ESSA Bank donated anaheim pepper seedlings. (Donna found four peppers today.)

verbena and lantana spillers urban gardening
Lantana and verbena spill over our parking lot bumper.

In the front of our humble space, verbena and lantana spill over a parking lot bumper. Turns out urban gardening is pretty easy. I love this spot. We took a barrier and gave it a purpose. I’ve learned that cultivating a space, whether in the city or the country, means using the resources available in the most productive, creative way possible. Together, that’s what we do at CoWork 414.

Read our full story here: https://cowork414.com/bethlehem-cowork-community-garden/

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