Gardener Story: Cynthia Chiplis

Year: 
2014
Neighborhood: 
Tremont

Jeff and Cynthia Chiplis have lived in Tremont for over 30 years. They met when they both worked for the Tremont West Development Corporation in the 1980’s. They own the homes and garden which many people visiting Tremont will recognize because of the interesting stone wall that runs along the boundary of the property at the corner of Jefferson and Professor Streets. Jeff cannot resist collecting dressed stones and architectural artifacts that are discarded on the tree lawns and in demolition sites in his neighborhood or the West 25th Street neighborhood. When the Central Market was demolished he acquired many of the stones that later became the wall. The bricks and other stones on top of the wall were placed to discourage people from loitering around their home and sitting on the wall. This was more of a problem in the “rowdy old days.”  The garden is decorated with two beautiful old chimney pots and stone benches, ornamental iron structures have become fences that separate the vegetables from the rest of the garden. A Burr Oak is contained by an art installation made out of rebar that Jeff acquired from the artist many years ago. A 24 inch colorfully decorated fish made from wood hangs from a tree next to their house, an old shoe hangs from the fish. A huge  50 year old Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree dominates one part of the garden with its beautiful twisting branches and deep green leaves. This is an unusually large and old specimen of its kind. Other trees in the yard include two giant mulberry trees, an ash, oaks, maples ,a “Forest Pansy” red bud and a green leafed Red Bud tree,  and two large locust trees. Jeff  is in charge of planting and digging up a bed of red flowered cannas and Cynthia takes care of the dalias. Other flowering plants in the garden include Chinese lanterns, forsythia bushes, asters, money plants, a gay butterfly weed, irises, roses, wisteria and a quince.The vegetable garden contains cilantro, horseradish, carrots, asparagus, eggplant, sage, rosemary, mint and tomatoes.  They also have a black fig tree, Concord grapevine, red currants and red and black raspberries. This is a garden to be viewed with care so that you see don’t miss any of the “treasures”.