Charles Evans grows vegetables in buckets near his shop in the North Yard, tending to them before his shift and during his lunch break. Photo by Ashley Cowan

An Oasis in the North Yard

Published June 15, 2021

Charles Evans (O53) brings his love of gardening to work. He grows vegetables in buckets near his shop in the North Yard. Plants include cucumbers, tomatoes, and a variety of peppers. He tends to them before his shift and during lunch.

“I water the plants in the morning before work,” Evans said. “It’s my time to relax and enjoy the quiet.” He’ll promote gardening to anyone who will stop by and listen. “People seem to like the garden,” he said. “Anyone can come by and pick what they want. This morning I picked two cucumbers and ate them for lunch.”

Evans’ gardening knowledge stems from growing up on a farm in North Carolina. “I’ve always had a garden,” he said. “I learned a lot about gardening from my dad. At home I grow beans, peppers, squash and zucchini. I even have 55 tomato plants. To watch something grow is neat to me.”

Evans has grown his career at Newport News Shipbuilding, working on aircraft carriers for 42 years. He currently hands out material to craftsmen and craftswomen. “I’m one of the oldest shipbuilders handing out material,” he said. “I know exactly what they need.”

Time spent outdoors is one of Evans’ needs. Gardening helps him slow down and relax. “I’ve had open- heart surgery, knee surgery and pancreatic cancer,” he said. “I don’t give up.” Now, he’s thoroughly wrapped up in enjoying his hobby.

“Gardening and shipbuilding have a lot in common,” he said. “Both take a lot of patience and care.”