Nashville may be It City with a population near a million, but sometimes it still feels like a small town. Like the other day, when I caught up with my landscape gardening friend Peter Anderson.
I met Peter about a decade ago, and I still credit/blame him with sending me down my “path of construction.”
When I was still writing about local food for the Nashville Scene and wanted to learn to “farm” my tiny urban backyard, Peter came to my house and inventoried my sparse soil and sun. Then he launched me on a laughable experiment of urban agriculture.
Among other things, Peter’s plan for my sunless quarter-acre involved a raised bed, herb and vegetable gardens, and, most importantly, a chicken coop, which made me realize what a travesty it was that I lacked the carpentry skills to build my own wooden henhouse. Thus, the journey to construction college, which led to my current job at The Wills Company design/build/handyman firm.
Anyway, all these years later, Peter champions backyard farming at Anderson ECO-logic landscaping firm. When I ran into him at a coffee shop, he showed me an enchanting photograph of an almost-90-year-old client for whom he had recently designed and constructed some raised planting beds with a bench, so his client could sit comfortably while he worked the soil. I was having coffee with my food-and-garden blogging friend Judy, who writes JudysChickens.org, so we passed the photograph around and admired it.
Here’s the small-town part: A couple hours later, my friend Grace Awh sent me an email saying she had just bumped into her garden designer, who told her that he had just been showing off the photograph of her father-in-law’s clever garden.
Turns out, both Peter and Grace knew me, and the gardener in the photograph was Grace’s father-in-law, Bob Awh, so she gave me the whole scoop–and the same photograph that Peter showed me–by email:
“My FIL is an amazing father, grandfather, husband, teacher, and role model. He came to the United States from Seoul, Korea, in 1955 to study for his PhD at the University of Florida. He taught economics at Mississippi State University for 30 years, and moved to Franklin in 2004 to live closer to us. He used to play tennis regularly until his knee replacement surgery a couple years ago, and is a huge Mississippi State football (go Bulldogs!), Predators, and Titans fan. He claims my MIL is a better bridge player than he is… but watch out! He is one of the most brilliant and hardworking men you’ll ever know. Still does all his landscaping and gardening himself. He is truly an inspiration.
P.S. He was very pleased with Peter’s hard work… would grade him an “A” for sure!”
You can find Peter and ECO-logic on Facebook. And you can read the story I wrote about him for Chapter16.org, the literary website for the state of Tennessee, here.