Last week along with 35 of my fellow Master Gardeners, I spent the morning visiting Roger B. Swain’s personal Victory Garden. As I got out of the car, I saw a boot hanging over his mailbox causing me to smile, grab the camera and know that a gardening adventure was about to begin.
It was beyond my wildest imagination although I hadn’t arrived knowing what to expect. Manicured lawns? Flower beds landscaped like a magazine? Vegetable gardens with plants all lined up? Or was it more country like a person who wears suspenders?
Roger lives in a lovely home in the southwestern part of New Hampshire. It is a large property that covers acreage on both sides of the road and has been in his family for over 50 years.
He has a constant battle with every type of critter you can name and as a result almost everything is fenced in with one or two layers of fencing.
It’s almost a full-time job for him.
He has plenty of flowers for native pollinators including two day lilies that were named after him.
But his main focus is fruit and vegetable gardening, and he does it well.
The sour cherry trees have to be totally encased in netting and his air blown inflatable snake shoos birds off the grapes, pears, kiwis, raspberries and blueberries not even mentioning the many apple trees. And, I’ve probably left something out because I was on sensory overload.
If there is a vegetable, he is growing it. There was no way I could take a photo of all of his vegetable gardens because they are just too big. They are somewhat on the size of a CSA. Did I mention he processes all the food – canning and pickling? I’m not sure when he finds time to sleep or if he does.
Spending the morning in Roger Swain’s presence was a learning experience by fire hose. This man knows more about gardening that half the country put together. He is amazing, and did I mention he has a wicked sense of humor?
He shared his gardening expertise with us for two and a half hours and answered many questions. He is a very common sense gardener and works around the clock to grow his large variety of produce.
Roger said for those who don’t want to work that hard to remember when we go to the Farmers’ Market – whatever the price is, it really is a bargain. 🙂
While thanking us for coming, he mentioned that he lost his wife of 31 years, Elisabeth, seven years ago. He then had some marital advice for us – live dangerously and go first. 🙂