JoAnne Skelly: A gift of love
My neighbor Mark, now known as “Chip,” after Chip Gaines from “Fixer Upper” on HGTV, acquired his new moniker after building an amazing fence to enclose his wife’s garden (with her help of course!). Since we have major animal challenges in our neighborhood — ground squirrels, rabbits, deer and bears, a strong defense system is essential for successful vegetable production. The impressive garden fence that “Chip” built should keep all the critters out.
The fence, constructed of redwood and fine mesh, is 24 feet by 33 feet by 6 feet tall. Construction was definitely a team effort. First, Roni dismantled the old garden. Then, she dug 12-inch-deep trenches around three sides and lined them with squirrel-proof mesh. They both dug the post holes and set the posts in concrete. “Chip’s” design and building expertise came in handy with his meticulous measurements and construction, keeping everything square and level from posts and crossbeams to the gate and arbor. My husband and I would walk by every day admiring their progress. “Chip” sure knows how to build! I would hear him sawing wood and pounding nails every day after work for weeks. Roni laughingly says “He’s the brains. I’m the brawn!”
He built two additional raised beds to match the only bed remaining from the original garden. There are also two galvanized metal trough planters, a big circular one and a small low rectangular one. Each is filled with humus-rich planting mix for veggies and flowers. Each bed has automatic drip irrigation.
Inside the garden fence there is a fragrant red climbing rose in one corner and a jasmine in another. The round trough sits in the middle of the garden with a unique small trellis in the middle. Roni may plant an edible climber with colorful flowers, or possibly a pollinator-attracting climber. She has herbs and greens growing in the big trough. She is growing tomatoes and cucumbers in the two new beds and perennial flowers and chives in the bed from the original garden. A little wrought iron bench in the garden provides a place to relax and appreciate the beautiful, productive space.
They have worked on the garden fence and new beds since a week before Mother’s Day, using their COVID-19 “stay home” time to excellent advantage. They now have a shared sense of accomplishment as well as a most memorable loving Mother’s Day present.
And, I can help myself to chives and I’ve been promised a few tomatoes!
JoAnne Skelly is associate professor and Extension educator emerita, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Email email@example.com.