Rob Chaunce and Wendi Goldfarb eloped in February 2020. They experienced discovered just one a further at an art exhibit in 2015, turning out to be very good friends. It’s ideal you read their heartwarming tale in their have words and phrases (see zola.com/wedding day/robandwendi). Rob experienced a design and landscaping small business, and especially enjoys bouquets, although Wendi had labored at Middletown Nursery and Oak Leaf Landscape with Roxanne Capitan, specializing in edible gardening, and aiding take care of an all-natural and organic manufacturing nursery for edible vegetation, amid other work opportunities and ordeals. Concerning the two of them they have additional than 30 many years of gardening knowledge, with a concentrate on connecting men and women to the land and the foods they grow.
Very last fall, I visited them at their West Tisbury household and at any time-shifting backyard garden shared with a pet, two cockatiels, and 3 cats, beside 30 outside chickens. It was the very first working day they had been dwelling immediately after a two-week holiday vacation in the Southwest, and just after that nameless nor’easter in late October 2021. While I had met just about every of them separately, I also had the enjoyment of assembly them as a couple as they were being slipping in like and started out operating together, when they attended quite a few month to month Seem Journeys 3 decades ago.
Rob Chaunce moved to the Island in 1991, and to the property where by they reside in 2011. Right before Wendi moved in with Rob three many years ago, there were numerous bouquets and shrubs, even fruit trees. But Rob’s backyard garden blossomed with Wendi’s arrival, increasing to five times its first dimension and starting to be considerably far more diverse.
Wendi tells me, “Rob began beekeeping in the spring.” It has been anything they required to do, and they’ve had a lot of help from Nina Lisa Marie, beekeeper, artist, and Kulture Club MV founder (read through about her garden listed here: bit.ly/gollisamarie), and from Juli Vanderhoop, beekeeper, Orange Peel Bakery founder, selectwoman, and tribal elder. Prior to the pandemic, Wendi frequently attended Northeast Natural Farmers Affiliation wintertime conferences and seminars, exactly where she learned “putting bouquets with vegetables attracts more pollinators, and you have a larger produce.” Prior to Wendi’s arrival, Rob admitted he hadn’t experienced “an abundant garden” now abundance sees them by each period.
As we ongoing conversing, Sheldon, a large basset hound, sauntered in excess of to say hi. I experienced just met Sheldon a 7 days previously on Lucy Vincent Beach with his pet sitter. We commenced our stroll close to the household very first — it was Nov. 9 and 61°, the camelia was blooming. Rob and Wendi make clear, “It occasionally blooms in January and seems to be so rather in the snow. We have a great deal of flowering shrubs, azaleas, roses. We just planted this, a ‘New Dawn’ rose, for our anniversary.”
Though they ended up away, the rose started growing by the windows on 1 facet of the dwelling. “Scent and the glimpse of flowers” are crucial to them. They hope the ‘New Dawn,’ a fragrant, gentle-pink, climbing wide variety, will climb up and about that aspect of the house. When I point out a e book about scent gardens, they have it, and examine it for the most scented selection of any bouquets that interest them, like their modern narcissus acquire, “the most aromatic variety for our zone.” Also they have a significant dahlia collection, which Wendi planned to dig up ASAP, considering the fact that she could by now see stalks withering right after one particular frost in their absence.
Rob has a tender spot for sugar maples one particular in the garden is practically three periods its initial height considering the fact that Rob’s father gave it to him when he moved into the property in 2011. As a teen, Rob’s very first position was weeding and pruning in his Pennsylvania community. Then he remembers his father commencing to expand roses, 1 a blaze rose, “a beautiful purple cluster rose,” an additional climber that Rob brought again from his relatives residence to the Island. Wendi grew up in Tenafly, N.J., but states her Bronx-born and -bred mother and father took her regularly to the metropolis and the Bronx Botanical Backyard garden. Wendi shared the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Yard with Rob, who wasn’t acquainted with formal gardens, and fell for the scents and splendor of a garden that offers more than 650 varieties of roses. Rob feels strongly they “need extra roses in their everyday living.” They’ve been producing a rose back garden for two many years, normally including new types.
Thorns make me a little unpleasant. Wendi has to perform with thorns, and has built peace with them, but explains that Rob has a unique romantic relationship with thorns: “He has a particular partnership with thorns, he’s pals with the thorn, he’ll just go up and touch them.” She adds, “We were just in Arizona in a desert botanical yard, and he’s just heading up and touching the cactus, intrigued.”
Although it was late slide on our check out, their residence even now experienced a magical garden feel. Wendi states she added a lot of crops, like echinacea, ‘Rozanne’ geranium, poppies, indigo, and much more perennials. We handed a Rose of Sharon, a lot more roses. They like to go away the rosehip seeds for the birds, and prune back again the roses and most other plants in the spring so they can love “the texture and colors.”
We proceed all around the again of the house, which has rooms produced by planted regions. Rob claims, “Some of the [plants] I bring household from work when people today want to get rid of them or have as well several,” like a small crop of goldenrod and splendor bush we go. New for them is developing mushrooms, and we carry on all-around to a log stack they inoculated a calendar year back in the slide, although it was as well early, so they did it once more in the spring, but reported, “You actually have to wait around for a calendar year for the mycelium to colonize the logs.”
Wendi, a purple lover, notably likes ‘Rozanne’ geraniums, 1 of the longest-blooming bouquets, from early spring via late drop or early wintertime. We prevent so Wendi can feed the fish at a superb koi pond Rob developed. He points out an spot earlier mentioned exactly where stonework has begun to insert a larger drinking water element that will movement down into the existing pond.
We continued going for walks by the hen house and its enclosed area, constructed just after their owning had a bit far too a lot flexibility even though Wendi and Rob ended up away. We handed beneath a crabapple tree and a couple of cherry trees, with yellow cherries. I inquire when Wendi was introduced to gardening and farming, and she claims, “I was 22 and lived with a family on a coconut farm in Thailand for a calendar year, and then stayed one more two a long time to work on the farm.” She continued her yard education when she moved to the Island.
It turns out Rob’s dad and mom lived in Boston when he was born, so he began coming to the Winery at age 1, when Wendi’s relatives bought a position and she started shelling out summers in a condo on Lake Tashmoo from the age of 3. Her mother and father acquired land in Vineyard Haven, and they designed a home when she was 15 many years aged. Her link to food stuff improved when she used a semester overseas at John Cabot University in Rome, tasting the big difference that arrives with ingesting “fresh food” for the initially time.
Wendi and Rob consider to increase most of their meals on their own, and Wendy adds, “We do a large amount of pickling, canning, preserving, and freezing fruit and tomatoes” they do not have the time to get ready until finally the winter season. The addition of a separate freezer has only greater their capability to feed on their own. Rob expanded the fenced-in yard region for Wendi, and even however there are continue to tons of bouquets like roses, dahlias, and zinnias, Wendi has extra garlic amongst the flowers. There’s a compost area together one particular border, a handful of apple trees, lavender, a valerian seedling, and recognized valerian Wendi has grown from seed for the previous four yrs. They have a medicinal herb region that consists of motherwort, nettles (they make pesto from it), and a lot more.
In advance of leaving on their trip, Wendi cover-cropped the garden beds soon after pulling out all the potatoes she set down pea seed, furry vetch, and clover to keep and improve the soil in excess of the winter season, while “competing out the weeds.” Wendi gave up cardboarding the beds with seaweed on best right after a few yrs, and then tried out “cover-cropping in the spring in 1 planting place with peas and oats” the benefits produced her considerably happier. There are continue to peppers, tomatillos, and marigolds, even after the initial frost.
Exactly where their back garden is planted was once all sand in addition to having dirt brought in by some close friends above the many years, they concur, protect-cropping and introducing rooster droppings, beside the range of planting, has turned the soil around, making balanced dust. Wendi enjoys Rob’s bamboo-and-string rigging for tomatoes that produces a tomato alley just one can walk by way of, particularly due to the fact it can be moved and established up any place. Just about every time there is a distinctive planting plan. Just one can still see stalks from early morning glories, moonflowers, and ‘Grandpa Otts.’ There’s only one particular sunflower stalk remaining, with most of the seeds currently eaten. I beloved staying introduced to a red and orange strawflower that “blooms with the dryness,” creating it best for dried flower arrangements.
A person rationale for not only enlarging the backyard garden but doubling the hoop dwelling increasing spot is that Wendi grows almost everything for their backyard garden, as effectively as her clients’, from seed. By the middle of February, Wendi is occupied in the hoop house planting seeds for her onions and peppers, as effectively as her perennials. She likes the Substantial Mowing catalog for its New England organic and natural seeds, or Johnny’s Picked Seeds, which developed a form of ginger that grows nicely in Zone 6. Rob has designed hoop residences for purchasers as properly. It turns out if you’re working with plastic tubing, paint is required, so he makes use of a rainbow design, each hoop a distinct shade, even further brightening the indoor space. There’s plenty of arugula, a huge purple mustard plant (very spicy leaves), flat-leaf parsley, kale, and some lettuce, because they favor spicy greens. They mature tomatoes and watermelons during the summer months in the hoop property. They largely take in greens all wintertime Rob provides he learned some tips gleaned by Solviva, where by Rob labored when he initially moved again to the Island, even dwelling in a bus on Anna Edey’s property that initially winter season.
Wendi was joyful to see their passionflower made it by the freeze, and place that on her list to deliver inside of. There’s a massive peach tree Rob grew from a pit that gave them far more peaches than they necessary. Their cilantro has turned to coriander. They had a few of artichoke plants, but nevertheless no artichokes however “because it’s so sturdy [they’re] hoping for artichokes next 12 months.” They nevertheless experienced purple-veined sorrel that “tastes lemony.” They have a lot of currents. Just one prepare for future yr is a netted berry home. The chickens appreciate the myriad of wineberries. There are Brussels sprouts, a several apple trees, mixed inexperienced plums, Asian pear trees, and much more distribute all around the backyard and home. Even although it is November when I stop by, their yard feels lush and plentiful, particularly inside the toasty hoop houses. Rob is reverent and Wendi moves involving a deep mental comprehension and complete joy they the two share in their dwelling gardens and their do the job. They invited me to pay a visit to in the spring, and I will undoubtedly acquire them up on their offer.
For far more information and facts about their offerings, see mvediblegardens.com/index.html,