Employee Garden at Chesapeake Energy

This area was a barren wasteland with compact, poorly drained soils until it was earmarked as a place for employees to grow vegetables for personal use, with the intent of donating the surplus from personal and the community plots to local food banks. Employees worked the plots in groups to make it easier on schedules. Raised beds were planned and installed with rich compost and well-drained soil — perfect for growing a bounty of veggies. Automatic drip irrigation also was added to help ease the workload and address the continued drying winds and summer heat.

Classes in organic gardening and beekeeping are offered for everyone on the campus. A rustic patio covered with grapevines provides the perfect setting for employees’ outdoor get-togethers and doubles as a beautiful spot for holding gardening classes. The setting, designed by Total Environment’s Linda Horn, is surrounded by a serene and ever-changing palette of colorful perennials peppered with miniature fruit trees, fruiting shrubs and fragrant lavender walkways — a smorgasbord of food for the local bees. The resulting honey is delicious.

Those who enter the garden on the north or south walk through mature arbors of apple and pear trees that are beautiful spring (with massive displays of flowers) through fall (when they are covered with fruit). The base is planted with sunny daffodils that bloom in early spring and return without fail every year.