On morning runs through the neighborhood I began noticing a unique home garden. It encompassed a large part of the backyard and it seemed like a new bed or structure was always popping up. I wanted a closer look. I had planned to ring the doorbell to meet the gardeners and learn more about this intriguing garden. Instead, I had the good luck to meet Sy Ahmad while he was in his garden and I was jogging by. I made two subsequent visits and left awe-struck each time by the lovely and thoughtful integration of spaces for gardening, cooking, eating, and relaxing.
This captivating garden is always changing and wherever you look there is some interesting feature to capture your eye and fire your imagination. I am amazed that the garden is only four years in the making and that Sy and his family are not seasoned gardeners or builders. They learned much of what they’ve created from web content, especially videos. Sy kindly agreed to this interview to share his family’s experience and inspiring garden!
Q: Why and when did you start your garden? What did you envision?
We started about 4 years ago in 2014, and we always wanted to build something big on our own; our own creation.
Q: Is it a family endeavor?
It actually started as a father and son project then turned into a 3 generation father, son, and grandson project.
Q: Your garden is visible from a major road and is striking in its size and appearance. What responses have you had from community members?
Some friends actually thought we were building a chicken coop when we started. Our neighbors do admire it and come by often to pick up veggies, but others driving by don’t normally stop by.
Q: What advice do you have for gardeners who are just starting out?
Start small of course, and put up a fence that will keep out deer and last for the long term. Then grow and add on as time goes by.
Q: What type of growing media do you fill your raised beds with?
We use a mixture of materials which consist of 1 part compost, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part vermiculite.
Q: Tell us about some of the crops you especially like to grow and think other gardeners should know about.
We grow many herbs, which can be quite useful in the kitchen, such as, mint, cilantro, basil, rosemary, parsley and more. Vegetables such as butternut squash, various types of tomatoes, Swiss chard, and even flowers such as zinnia.
By Jon Traunfeld, Extension Specialist