Master Gardener Interview – Nick Nicoll

Nick Nicoll was born in Scotland and lived there with his family until arriving in Boston at one year, 10 days old. He lost his two sisters at an early age and his father passed away at an early 47. His mother and brother are still living in the US.

Nick’s wife, Vicki, works in an accounting office and they have three children ages 29, 25 and 21. Two are working in art and the youngest is studying microbiology.

Nick returned to Scotland for a year when in the fourth grade and remembers his grandfather’s Victory Garden, the smell of the soil, the garden shed with all the tools and watching plants grow. He also traveled all over the world while in the Air Force, opening new ideas and learning from different countries. He likes to take classes and happened to see one advertised for Master Gardeners about six years ago. The information he gained about soil, amendments, compost and trees was just what he was looking for. He very much likes science and learning.

Nick is also a people person and enjoys meeting and working with other gardeners at field trips; classes; and the gardens at the Zoo, Metra, St. Andrew’s; and judging at the Billings Clinic Science Fair. He is a “tree guy” and found the classes from Master Gardeners on pruning, growing, planting and seeing the “old survivors” in Billings very useful.

Insects and disease are the most challenging aspects of gardening for Nick (you’re not alone). To have everything growing well till one morning you see white (powdery mildew) on the zucchini is disheartening. Nick has kept a log when gardening. He notes what was planted, when, where, problems and harvest. Is the plant worthy of trying again or not?

His favorite garden vegetable is Sweet Baby Girl tomatoes – the sweetest cherry tomatoes. He has also been growing Globe Thistles so that he can use their likeness as part of the logo for his business. The garden area and compost spot have had to move a couple of times in the past years to make room for sheds to hold wood that will be made into furniture and other items, his first creative passion. Nick is an artist and has recently started painting. I just had to ask the question from PBS’s “A Craftsman’s Legacy”, “Do you consider yourself an artist or a craftsman?” He is artist first and as a craftsman is able to bring his inspirations to life.

We are very lucky to have such a knowledgeable person as Nick with our Master Gardeners group.

Submitted by Sheri Kisch