Patience reigns supreme for the city gardener, photographer | News, Sports, Jobs

ByDavid M. Conte

Jul 3, 2021

Staff Photo / Ashley Fox …… Overlooking his shady garden is Youngstown’s Robert Coggeshall. Whether tending to his lush gardens, taking care of his three rescue beagles or taking pictures of wildlife, Coggeshall said patience is key.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series of Saturday profiles of area residents and their stories. To suggest a profile, contact Feature Editor Burton Cole at [email protected] or Metro Editor Marly Reichert at [email protected]

YOUNGSTOWN – Robert Coggeshall usually starts his day around 5 a.m. when his three rescue beagles, Ruby, Corbin and Shiloh wake him up.

As his day progresses, he spends time tending to the countless plants on his property, which sits against Mill Creek Park.

Throughout the spring, summer and fall, Coggeshall Gardens, which surround his house, bloom in stages.

Coggeshall, 75, said caring for his gardens and the wildlife they bring is possible through “patience and persistence”.

There is constant change, he said. It is also almost impossible to know the amount of different plants, but it has 160 zinnias, seven types of blueberries and black-eyed Susans in the front and side yards.

Last year alone, Coggeshall froze 16 gallons of blueberries.

In the back yard, where his property descends into the park, is a shaded garden with plants including hydrangeas and a variety of hostas.

It was the variety of plants and his love of nature coupled with his patience that brought him wildlife and enabled him to capture it with his Canon cameras.

Covering the walls of his house and occupying storage on his iPad are photos of Buttons, a white deer that died several years ago. The most recent was the white deer that died in calving, which he affectionately referred to as Bella.

Coggeshall has eight multi-terabyte hard drives full of photos.

He has taken tens of thousands of pictures of deer, but in his catalog there are also pictures of eagles, blue herons harpooning fish, “zombie” raccoons and his own reflection in the eye. a bird.

Raccoons led Coggeshall to be interviewed by media around the world in 2018. He was outside with his dogs when a raccoon followed them by walking on his hind legs during the day. Coggeshall brought in his puppies just in time and took pictures of the raccoon as it bared its teeth. After laboratory tests, it was discovered that the raccoons had distemper.

Animals, especially deer, tend to feel welcome and safe around Coggeshall, even reaching out to him. He said he always moved slowly and spoke softly.

For everything, he said, “you just have to be patient.”

In 2005, Coggeshall and his wife Janice moved into the Youngstown home in Ashtabula County.

He grew up in New Hampshire and Janice is from Poland.

They knew they wanted a house in the park, and when the house hit the market, the Coggehalls bought it.

It turns out that through ancestry research, Coggeshall has some sort of connection to Mill Creek and his planner, Volney Rogers.

“Volney Rogers, who created the park, was my eighth cousin twice kidnapped. My eighth great-grandfather was (Rogers’) sixth great-grandfather, Coggeshall said.

In addition to being a retired banker, naturalist, photographer and grandfather, Coggeshall was also a representative for the State of New Hampshire in his early twenties. “I wore a lot of hats,” he said.

“It’s pretty funny because I ran against my sister-in-law’s dad and beat him,” Coggeshall said. Around this time, Coggeshall’s brother also graduated from law school and went to work for the legislature.

While there, he was also a naturalist for the park, where he led tours and lectures at the Ford Nature Center.

Now he will be talking to groups about finding things to do at home, as he took most of his photos within a 10-minute walk of his own home, he said.

Coggeshall has two adult children and three grandchildren.

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