One of my longest gardening friendships has ended with the passing of Bob (Robert J.) Stiffler this morning. From the time I met Bob, while creating education programs for Norfolk Botanical Garden, I enjoyed his laughter and his gardening companionship. He and his beautiful wife, Dottie, were the "cupids" who campaigned for the marriage that my darling partner, Rob and I have enjoyed for what now seems like only a brief moment in time.
Bob was always determined to keep gardening realistic and practical and, although he and I disagreed on the merits of some plants and on the use of garden chemicals, we both supported common sense gardening methods over fancy theory. Both Bob and Dottie loved the Norfolk Botanical Garden and were true supporters of community and private gardens throughout Hampton Roads. He loved coming out to our nursery to see what new fruit plants Rob and I were growing - and was suitably amazed when varieties he swore would not be worth growing here flourished and bore fruit. He would shake his head at my folly and determination and we would both laugh - at ourselves and at how amazing plants can be. I don't think he ever quite forgave me for having no vole and no deer problems!
Safe passage, old friend - you will be very missed at this farm.
Longtime Pilot Gardening Columnist Dies - PilotOnline