Log in Subscribe
Garden Guru

Stories from the past

Jim Boxberger
Posted 12/24/21

So it’s Christmas Eve and cold. No one is doing much gardening right now and there is not a lot of gardening knowledge that I can bring to you in late December. So instead I have two stories …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Garden Guru

Stories from the past


So it’s Christmas Eve and cold. No one is doing much gardening right now and there is not a lot of gardening knowledge that I can bring to you in late December. So instead I have two stories from my past that are quite amusing and worth writing about.

The first has to due with a childhood friend that I have had since I was twelve and lived in New Hampshire. My friend’s name is Ross and we used to live in the same neighborhood in Merrimack, New Hampshire back in the late 1970’s. I moved away in 1980 and we lost touch after that until Facebook came along.

We reconnected after almost forty years and last year we planned to meet up while Vicki and I were up in New Hampshire for the Nascar race at Loudon. We stopped by Ross’s house and he gave us the grand tour. He knows my gardening background so he wanted to show me his very nicely landscaped backyard. While looking around I noticed a very interesting vine growing all over his stone chimney for his fireplace.

I asked him if he knew what that vine was as it was very intriguing. He said he was not quite sure as he did not buy the vine but instead found it many years earlier and it grew wonderfully on the chimney. I had to chuckle when he told me this as I knew what the vine was, he had in fact planted a lovely poison ivy vine by his chimney many years ago and just let it grow.

Luckily he didn’t get any of the sap on him when he planted it and never really touched it again. It just goes to show that even unwanted plants can serve a purpose too.

The second story has to do with a friend from college in Vermont. After moving around the country multiple times for work for over twenty years, my friend Mark finally settled down and bought a house only about an hour from where we went to college in Castleton, Vermont.

He bought the house back in 2012 when the market was down and he got a great deal. He and his wife had been remodeling and relandscaping for seven years before we had the chance to visit in 2019.

Of course being in Vermont the deer problems are similar to here and Mark has a fair knowledge of deer resistant plants, so the landscaping was relatively deer proof. He then took us out back to look at the large garden they had put in. Mark mentioned that this part of the backyard had just been filled with brambles that they had to clear out to make room for the garden.

He mentioned how tough it was to keep them out as they would just start to regrow from the roots if you didn’t get them all the first time. The garden was quite impressive as Mark loves to watch Youtube videos of gardening to get new ideas. He had raised bed plots from some square foot gardening videos, PVC trellises for vine crops and even some straw bales for straw bale gardening.

The garden was well protected with an electric fence and everything was growing great. He then wanted to show us the berry section of the garden. He had strawberries, complete with half inch mesh hardware cloth covers to keep the chipmucks from stealing his strawberries. Blueberry bushes with bird netting over top to keep the birds from stealing the fruit and then came the part that I had to laugh at.

Next to the row of blueberry bushes was a row of raspberry and blackberry brambles. I asked where he got them from and he told me he got a good deal on them many years ago from a garden center in Rutland. He was told that these varieties were cold hardy varieties grown locally, that could withstand the cold Vermont winters.

I took a leaf from one of the raspberries and brought Mark over to some brambles that were still growing on the edge of the woods behind the garden. As I placed the raspberry leaf next to the bramble leaf, I asked Mark if he saw any difference.

He said, “No, not really”, which is the correct answer as the brambles he had been cutting away for all those years were raspberries and blackberries. These brambles grow wild throughout the northeast, yet I am not surprised when we sell out every spring in our garden center.

So hopefully these stories gave you a chuckle like they did for me. Merry Christmas.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here