online more photos of the garden
With some care, a bramble of a backyard is turned into
an all-season oasis with global influences
written by regina cole • photographed by russ mezikofsky
Phil and Pamela Parisi began to garden when Pamela suggested they establish a path through their backyard — a copse of old white pine trees, the ground beneath them covered with impenetrable underbrush. It was 1975, and the couple had just built their contemporary- style house atop a lot that sloped to the street in Reading, Massachusetts.
Phil went to a garden center looking for information and was told that the dry shade and acid
soil his property offered was only good for growing undesirable things like brambles. “They told me,
‘ You can’t grow anything there; it’s a waste of time,’” Phil recalls.