Other than growing your own food, the most rewarding part about being involved in a community garden program is the connection you make with fellow gardeners throughout the season. From seeing folks out in the gardens to sharing a meal with them at one of our annual potlucks, it is always a joy to see familiar faces. Especially when you bump into two of BACG’s senior most gardeners, Clem and Sylvia, who never miss the chance to join together with their fellow community members and share in the festivities.
Clem, who will be 95 this coming June, has been gardening for his entire life. He was born and raised in Burlington and was lucky enough to grow up with a big back yard perfect for a garden. When he and Sylvia moved to Canada, however, they were not as lucky and had to seek out space elsewhere. This began their journey with community gardens, which for a time had them juggling gardens in both Canada and Vermont, but eventually led them back to Burlington at the Winooski Valley Garden full time!
Clem will be the first one to admit that his way of gardening is a little unorthodox compared to most. He has never gotten any sort of garden training but has evolved as a gardener over time and has come up with his own system that seems to work just fine for him. According to Clem, he starts off each season with “radishes, carrots and beets all mixed in together. So who knows what I’m going to get but they all come up and boost each other along. I’ve been doing that for years. I don’t even mark my rows. I plant the seeds and when they come up I know what they are. It’s always a mystery. It’s more fun that way.”
It is such a pleasure to have Clem and Sylvia as a part of the BACG community and it is always wonderful to see what beautiful mysteries pop up in their garden each season. They are very much looking forward to the Spring Potluck on April 14th, and would love to meet and chat with any other community members who attend. But if you ask Clem what he has learned from gardening for his whole life, he will tell you, “I haven’t gardened for my whole life yet!” and that he always has more to learn.