By Karin Glendenning
Community News Writer
Bill and Chris Prigmore began to garden seriously in their North River home several years ago. “We decided to stop traveling and work on our yard,” Mrs. Prigmore said.
The couple had Marty Hilliard of H and L Nurseries design their front yard, but they did all the work, planting lots of azaleas, hostas, astilbes, lirope, daylilies, hydrangeas, stokesia, spirea, rhododendrom, ferns and peonies in what was formerly a lawn, creating a lush and interesting landscape full of plants, sculptures and walkways. They added arbors to the front of the house, trained wisteria to grow over them and have built a gazebo on one side of the house.
Around the gazebo, Mr. Prigmore, now 87, planted hundreds of caladiums that he grew from bulbs and then panted in the beds surrounding the outdoor room. Interspersed among them are hydrangeas and mahonias. The interior of the gazebo is furnished with a table and chairs and a swing, and fabric is draped across the top and sides of the structure.
According to Mrs. Prigmore, there is always a breeze in their yard. They enjoy the gazebo especially during Riverbend, because they can hear the musical acts from their perch on the ridge. They also look forward to watching the fireworks from their private spot.
Mrs. Prigmore has added to the front yard what she calls her “little ball field,” a group of statues of children playing all sorts of ball sports. She said they represent and remind her of her grandchildren.
An arbor, bordered with weeping hollies is across the front of the house and was Mrs. Prigmore’s inspiration. “She got the idea from an arbor at the Eastman Kodak home in Rochester, N.Y.,” said Mr. Prigmore.
Mr. Prigmore had a greenhouse erected several years ago where he grows many plants from seed. On the day we visited, he was preparing to plant Inca marigolds that he started in the greenhouse in mid-April.
“They have large yellow flowers,” he said, adding that by August they will be fully blooming. He plans to plant them around his vegetable garden where he raises tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and also grows yucca, iris and canna lilies.
According to his wife, Mr. Prigmore works in their yard about 10 hours most days, beginning at 8:30 in the morning. When she’s not cooking meals or working inside the house, she helps him in the yard.
“It’s a labor of love for Bill,” Mrs. Prigmore said, and her sister Ernestine Mancuso added, “Bill communicates with God in his garden.”
The Prigmore gardens were featured last Saturday on the Chattanooga Food Bank’s annual garden tour, a cause Mr. Prigmore has supported for many years.
E-mail Karin Glendenning at email@example.com