Tips from the wise women of the P.E.O.

Some of my favorite opportunities while working with Dutch Bros Coffee were the incredible connections and relationships I was able to create with our customers. I have a long list of amazing individuals who began as customers and are now my dear friends. One of which is a wonderful woman named Phyllis who introduced me to P.E.O.

I am passionate about education. Although getting my bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon was very challenging at times, both financially and energetically, it is one of my proudest accomplishments. I supported myself and paid my way throughout my college career while maintaining a full-time position at Dutch Bros Coffee (among other internships). I would have loved to have the support of the P.E.O. at the time, had I known about it.

“P.E.O. was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. This circle of kindred spirits – bonded by their enthusiasm for women’s opportunities – eventually expanded to include women off campus as well. Through membership, the P.E.O. Sisterhood has brought together more than a half a million women in the United States and Canada who are passionate about helping women advance through education, while supporting and motivating them.

Friendship is the cornerstone of P.E.O. – it is the legacy left by our Founders and it thrives in our unique Sisterhood. P.E.O. exists to be a source of encouragement and support for women to realize their potential in whatever worthwhile endeavor they choose.

True to the mission of promoting educational opportunities for women, education continues to be the primary philanthropy of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. In fact, the P.E.O. Sisterhood proudly sponsors six international philanthropies, or projects, designed to assist women with their educational goals.

As a result, P.E.O. is clearly making a difference in the lives of women all over the world. More than 113,000 women have benefited from our organization’s educational grants, loans, awards, special projects and stewardship of Cottey College. As of April 2020, P.E.O. has awarded Educational Loan Fund dollars totaling more than $221 million, International Peace Scholarships are more than $42.1 million, Program for Continuing Education grants are more than $62.4 million, Scholar Awards are more than $28.2 million and P.E.O. STAR Scholarships are more than $12.8 million. In addition, P.E.O. has owned and supported Cottey College, an independent, baccalaureate-granting liberal arts and sciences institution, since 1927. In 2019-20, 70 percent of Cottey students were enrolled in a 4-year program.

Grant, loan and award recipients – as well as Cottey College students – need not be members of P.E.O. With the exception of international students who receive International Peace Scholarships, each recipient is sponsored by a P.E.O. chapter. This allows the chapter members to be a meaningful part of “their” student’s life.”

The women associated with chapter BV here in Eugene, OR are some of the best souls. They truly care for one another as sisters as well as the scholarship recipients and raising money for more scholarships. Women supporting women in all their endeavors.

Many of these women have beautiful yards and gardens, so I was compelled to get their input for part 2 of our Garden Series! Here’s some tips from the pros:

Laurie:

Gardening feeds your soul as well as your tummy and the tummies of those you, in turn, feed around your table.

Gardening “grounds” one, turning you to an earth-centered being.

Gardening demonstrates the generosity of Nature – witness a single Blueberry bush giving luscious berries, year after year, allowing you to share the bounty with others, a generous act itself.

Gardens teach:

  • That tomatoes and basil are “friends” (plant them together)
  • That peas and beans make their own nitrogen (need less fertilizer)
  • That garlic and shallots planted in the fall need little attention and are ready for harvest in June
  • That asparagus roots and rhubarb rhizomes burst bountifully every Spring after winter’s rest
  • That a small garden patch can grow herbs with delightful flavors, fragrances, and flowers.
  • That a little garden bench is perfect for mindful contemplation and creating a joyful spirit.

Go Garden 🙂

Marilyn:

Having lived in N. Calif., I had some knowledge with gardening in Oregon.

But the big surprises were:

1. Bleeding Hearts, as well as their native counterpart.

2. Heucheras too! So many different leaf colors and blooms. Heucheras are also very easily divided.

3. Hellebores, ditto!

4. Rhododendrons: Such a variety of colors!

5. Roses: I quickly learned that pruning time was much later than I was used to!

6. Insects, diseases, etc. change so dramatically from season to season, re/ day and night temps/ humidity, rainfall.

7. Hostas were also a new plant to me.

Love them, but they need vigilant snail bait.

Jean:

I prefer to go to Lane Forest Products to get mint soil to mix into my vegetable and flower gardens. Lane Forest Products is very helpful when you tell them what you want to plant and they can advise you what dirt you need for the best results. I like to plant tomatoes every year and they can grow in your garden or pots. I love dahlias so my flower garden has a variety of dahlias with a few other types of flowers to mix in.

I love to be outside working in my garden starting in spring and into the fall. Sometimes it’s work (but good work) but most of the time it is very relaxing. I especially love tending to my garden on warm/hot summer days… blue sky as the background for the beautiful green trees and listening to the birds.

I don’t have much success with seeds so I buy starts. I check out the tired plant area 1st …. they’re less expensive and with a little love they thrive.

I fertilize my gardens a few times a season with a granular fertilizer appropriate for the plantings.

Diane:

Be sure to check the requirements for whatever you plan to plant, and keep the life of the plant in mind. And be sure your planting area is LEVEL. Herbs or peas are a great option if your planting space is limited. Green beans are the easiest thing I grow every year. I garden annually for the exercise, sunshine, feeling of accomplishment and GOOD EATS! I feel happy and satisfied when gardening. The biggest mistake I’ve made when gardening is underwatering. Be sure everything gets watered daily. Watch for “companion plants”— things that benefit from growing together. Seed packets are a wonderful source of information and will increase your success, so, grow from seed when you can. I love shopping at Wilco in Springfield — great prices and reasonable selections. My must-have tools for the garden: Trowel, shovel, cultivator, rake.

Linda and Stan:

On Growing Blueberries

When planting blueberries, some of the more important things to consider are:

1. Planting blueberries in full sun is ideal, though plants will tolerate partial shade late in the day.

2. Blueberries have very shallow root systems like rhododendrons and like acidic soil. Fir sawdust is the preferred mulch to place around the base of the plants every couple of years. Cedar sawdust is not advised.

3. Pruning can take place after three to four years. It is important to remove the older canes each year along with twiggy, woody branches which are the ones which have produced berries in the past. Prune bushes so they are more open to allow for better air flow. *During the first few years of your plants, pinching off a good percentage of the blossom buds will lead to faster growth and better yields more quickly.

4. Watering is more important in some areas than others but especially important to new plants. Some suggest that watering with a soaker hose rather than overhead is the preferred method. We have not had problems with overhead watering, however.

5. If you only have a few plants, there is often a problem with birds eating the berries. This may necessitate netting over the bushes.

6. We fertilize with a light application of triple 16 in November and again in February.

7. Plants can produce for many years. When we built our home in the middle of a blueberry farm in 1996, most of the plants had been there for 50 years. We removed every other row to allow for more air flow and better access for maintenance. Many of our plants are over 80 years old and still producing beautiful berries.

8. We do not spray our berries and they may go directly to the freezer from the field. We do not wash them before placing them in Ziploc bags to freeze. It is not necessary to place them on a cookie sheet to freeze before placing them in a bag. Of course, there is nothing better than eating them fresh, but there are many delicious ways to use the frozen berries. They are great in smoothies with a banana and other fruits and milk or juice. We always add a bit of dry oatmeal to the mix for added protein. And, there is nothing better than three berry pie with marion berries, raspberries and blueberries! Blueberry muffins and pancakes are yummy, too!

In the last few years, there have been new challenges in terms of insects and disease such as mummyberry and spotted wing drosophile. If you suspect a disease, more information is readily available online searching for blueberry disease.

An excellent resource if you are considering planting blueberries is:

Grow the Best Blueberries: Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletin A-89

Thank you to my dear P.E.O. sisters and their spouses who contributed to this blog. Go out, get dirty, and enjoy gardening!

Please comment here if you have questions or would like to have the opportunity to receive support from the P.E.O.

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