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Hallsville’s Robert Wise overcomes handicap, builds a getter garden

Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at 11:41 am

A Hallsville man has raised his love of gardening to a new level.

Robert Wise lives with his wife Louise a few miles south of Hallsville on Mount Zion Church Road.

He has raised cauliflower, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes and assorted other vegetables there for 61 years, almost 80 if you count the time he spent growing up on the Wise family farm a few miles east of where he lives now.

Robert Wise and his wife Louise at Robert’s garden.

There are a few things that make his garden different from others.

One, everything is container-grown on raised platforms.

Two, Wise, who has Parkinson’s Disease, gardens from a wheelchair.

“I grew up gardening,” he said, “on the farm that is what we had to do, raise food in the garden, can it and put it in the cellar.”

As he grew older, Wise, who retired from the Hallsville School District after 25 years as a building, grounds and safety director and a volunteer firefighter for Boone County Fire Protection District, said he began considering ways to garden in a manner that required less bending over.

Then, four  years ago, he contracted Parkinson’s.

“I said I would continue to garden even if I had to crawl down the rows,” he said of his then ½-acre garden. “And I did. Crawling down the rows was not the problem. Getting up was.”

For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.