Briar Patch opens amid fragrant and colorful blooms

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MEXICO — Elizabeth Wasson potted begonias at the grand opening of the Briar Patch Greenhouse on Thursday amid a colorful and fragrant display of flowers.

The greenhouse is part of Hope Association’s effort to engage its participants and the community, and produce a profit. The association, based in Rumford, offers programs and services for people with intellectual disabilities and brain injuries.

“Everyone loves it here,” association staff member Kim Anctil said. “How could you not? Look how beautiful it is here, and it smells good.”

She said many of the participants working in the greenhouse have been part of the program “for a long time and they’ll visit with people that come in. The customers come to look for them, too.”

As the women work on potting begonias, association participant Maggie Farrar pointed to a pot she filled with red and purple petunias to give to her mother on Mother’s Day, Sunday. With some help from the staff, Farrar selected the flowers and planted them in the pot.

“We have different groups (of Hope Association participants) that come five days a week,” Community Support Manager Mell Moore said. “Some participants come three times, some come one time a week, so it just depends on what they want to do.”

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Moore said she is still learning about how to care for the plants.

“We’re all just learning together, right, Margie?” she asked.

Waiting on customers, greenhouse manager Sandy Witas said the week before the grand opening she and the staff had “a lot of getting ready, cleaning and organizing” to do. “The participants that have been here the longest, they really know their jobs and I rarely have to give them instruction, except that this is what we’re doing today and then they do their thing.”

The Briar Patch Greenhouse is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.

mhutchinson@sunmediagroup.net

The Briar Patch Greenhouse in Mexico held a grand opening Thursday, with Hope Association participants, from left, Margie Farrar and Elizabeth Wasson assisting Community Support Manager Mell Moore. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

The Briar Patch Greenhouse in Mexico held a grand opening Thursday, with Hope Association participants, from left, Margie Farrar and Elizabeth Wasson helping staff member Kim Anctil pot begonias. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

The Briar Patch Greenhouse in Mexico held a grand opening Thursday, showcasing its vast inventory of plants. The business is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

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