Please support the Valley News during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, we are asking for your support. Please consider subscribing or making a donation today. Learn more at the links below.

Thank you for your support of the Valley News.

Dan McClory, publisher


Lifelong gardener transforms a corner of Enfield Village

  • "I try to get everything to bloom as long as possible," said Angela Gow, 57, while tending the flowers in front of the apartment building where she lives with her cat, Topaz, in Enfield, N.H., Wednesday, August 28, 2019. She moved to the building three years ago and her simple container garden has grown to encompass the parking lot at the corner of Main Street and Shaker Hill Road. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Angela Gow tracks an incoming storm so she can get some of her more delicate annuals undercover before the rain in Enfield, N.H., Wednesday, August 28, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Angela Gow, of Enfield, harvests tomatoes in the garden outside her Enfield Village, N.H., apartment, Wednesday, August 28, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Angela Gow grows a full assortment of vegetables in containers around her Enfield, N.H., apartment building's parking lot including cabbage, beans, salad greens, tomatoes, leeks, cucumbers and more. Wednesday, August 28, 2019. "We have too much here for this building," she said. Gow shares the produce with her neighbors, passers-by, and donates to a local senior citizens lunch. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • "I try to get everything to bloom as long as possible," said Angela Gow, 57, while tending the flowers in front of the apartment building where she lives in Enfield, N.H., Wednesday, August 28, 2019. She moved to the building three years ago and her simple container garden has grown to encompass the parking lot at the corner of Main Street and Shaker Hill Road. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • As her garden has grown, Angela Gow has attracted the attention of passers-by who honk and wave, or stop in to talk. She tries to send her visitors away with some of her produce. Gow waters her vegetables Wednesday, August 28, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2019 10:00:22 PM
Modified: 9/6/2019 10:00:10 PM

At the corner of Main Street and Shaker Hill Road in Enfield Village sits an apartment building, and next to the building is a parking lot for the residents. Between the lot’s asphalt and the sidewalk is a narrow grass border.

For years, that little patch of lawn and a couple of ornamental trees were the extent of the greenery at the busy four-way stop. But three years ago, Angela Gow moved into one of the apartments, and as soon as spring emerged, the parking lot began a steady transformation. That first spring, she started planting flowers and tomatoes.

“Each year it just grows a little bit more,” Gow said in an interview.

This summer, people driving by know to stop and say hello and receive whatever Gow is harvesting. She often places vegetables into grateful arms reaching out a car window.

The garden now consists of several raised beds, more than a dozen pots and buckets for tomato plants, flowers planted in tubs and pots and in the ground. Around the post that holds the Main Street and Shaker Hill Road signs are petunias and datura, with its long, white, trumpet-shaped blossoms. A stern, black-painted street lamp is surrounded by tall sunflowers, like gentle protesters around a cop in uniform. At the far corner is a small fabric pavilion, the lot’s only shade, which Gow calls her “she shed.”

For Gow, 56, the garden serves multiple purposes. First, it’s an old pastime. She grew up gardening with her parents, who still live in the same home on Poverty Lane in Lebanon. She progressed from “weed hauler” to “weed puller, and then I got to plant,” she said.

It’s also a kind of spiritual practice. “It’s very calming, very soothing,” Gow said. “And you can be very artistic with it.”

She works a couple of jobs, loading packages overnight at UPS and running a small cleaning business. Gardening is for pleasure.

And people appreciate what she does, beautifying a corner of her village. Even in early afternoon on Thursday, a steady stream of cars passed through the intersection, a sign of the Upper Valley’s continued growth. The garden’s value to passers-by is inestimable.

“I think it’s great,” said Jerry Judd, who lives in another of the apartments in Gow’s building. “When I got here it was nothing, just a little piece of grass that the town mowed.” Outside his door is a pot of herbs that Gow planted that Judd picks from to cook with.

Most important, the garden gives Gow a reason to be outdoors in the summer. The season is so brief, and she doesn’t want to let it slip by without enjoying it. Her cat, an orange and white “22-pounder” named Topaz, follows her around and sleeps in the sun.

Gow gets her plants at Edgewater Farm in Plainfield. Every year, there are more tomato varieties to choose from. This year, Gow opted not to choose and got more than 15 varieties. In addition to such classics as Early Girl, Beefsteak and Big Boy, she planted Cherokee Red, Black Beauty, Pineapple, Lemon Ice and Oxheart, which is pinkish, heart-shaped and big, “a pound or better,” Gow said.

Among the flowers are fuschia, gazania, zinnia and orange Mexican sunflowers, in addition to the others mentioned above.

But vegetables are the main event. Gow gives them to other residents of her building, but the garden produces more than they can consume, so people driving by reap some of the harvest.

“We don’t hold up the four-ways too bad,” she said.

Next year, Gow hopes to place a box at the garden from which people can pick up vegetables to take home.

“You need a tomato, you need anything, you’re more than welcome,” she said.

When she started the garden, Gow hauled four watering cans from her apartment. At first she turned down her landlord’s offer of a hose, then reconsidered. The plants grow thirsty on the sweltering pavement.

So far, the only plant that hasn’t quite worked out for Gow is squash, which didn’t like the confines of the raised beds or the hot asphalt. Next year, she’s planning to plant summer and pattypan squash on the other side of the parking lot, facing the Mascoma River.

And so the garden grows.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3207.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2019 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy