Meet Bob Jamison, a gardener for all seasons

Meet Bob Jamison, a gardener for all seasons

A visit to a community garden is a wonderful way to observe local vegetable gardening. Another way is to talk with a member and experience their connections and relationships to such a place.

A conversation with Robert (Bob) Jamison, treasurer with the University Place Community Garden (UPCG), took place Dec. 12 at his home in Fircrest. Bob lives a quarter of a mile from the Evergreen Primary School-located garden and enjoys walkingto work. He is one of the primary people who have taken up the specializedtask of weeding the garden paths. He considers it one of his main contributions.  

It is common to see Bob in red jacket and baseball cap, on his hands and knees, making a path look pristine. He has removed the spent raspberry canes and invasive blackberry thorny branches found in the community berry patch. His family members, upon visiting, arrive at the garden with hats and gloves, assisting in widening paths, weeding, and even addressing fencing to keep out the rabbits and deer. “The deer were tipping their heads,” he says, into his 4 x 12-foot garden bed until his daughter, Leslie, helped him lay some one-inch chicken wire over the top.  

Bob’s son, Dennis, discovered the garden on a walk. Soon after, Bob had a bed. Growing tomatoes and strawberries at home, he considered himself new at gardening at the time, but willing and “one of my better decisions.”

Bob is 92. His advice: Walk! He is grateful to have created a focus to stay healthy. Last May, he hiked in Yosemite with his brother Bud and son Brian.

Bob was invited to be the treasurer of UPCG, a non-profit organization, and has been on the steering committee for three years.

“My goal was to be mistake-free in the tracking and reporting. I think I was successful in that,” he said.

Leading many maintenance projects, he has provided significant support for UPCG to be a functional garden. Taking off the heavy garden shed door to reset the hinges with his son, Brian, is noteworthy. His attention to the hose bibs and hose maintenance has kept down on leaks and reminds us of our water stewardship in the hot, dry summers of our Mediterranean-type climate here in the Pacific Northwest. “Water the roots, not the leaves” is our mantra.

Kale is Bob’s favorite vegetable. The curly leaf variety is thriving this winter. Beets come in as a close second, especially the greens. You will also find strawberry plants as they continue to flourish in this season. The variety is a through-red. A longtime friend gave them to him years ago and have been transplanted from his yard to his full-sun community bed.  

Native plants at the garden have been a particular interest of his as he helped lay and monitor soaker hoses.

Earth Day 2019 had over 500 children from 24 classrooms visit the garden. Bob and the Evergreen principal planted a Douglas fir seedling at the north end of the garden. Flourishing as a habitat for birds and insect pollinators, this area complements the edibles.

Bob is pleased with his gardening experience and still supports the community. We are deeply appreciative that he found and took the path that led to University Place Community Garden. 

Judith Thierry, who wrote this article, is president of University Place Community Garden. Information about the garden is available at universityplacecommunitygarden.0rg.