A friend called this morning and told me of a garden tour being given by a garden club a few towns over. He said "You gotta see Guido's garden, it's fantastic!" I looked it up online and indeed, listed with having over 100 tomato plants I had to check it out. It's too hot to work outside, so I grabbed the camera, left The Student to her books and drove over.
The first thing you see as you approach the house is a grape arbor that spans the driveway (parking pad) between two houses.
I introduced myself, and Guido, a diminutive older Italian gentleman greeted me warmly. He said he's been gardening here since 1976, and all his work unfolded before my envious eyes.
The vines are huge, and they're loaded with grapes. Guido said he eats them out of hand, and gives many away - there are too many to eat by himself. He said he's made wine twice but wasn't happy with the result. So now he just eats them.
Walking up the drive one comes upon the fig trees and some enormous eggplants. Apparently the eggplants are from Australian seed.
As you step through the gate your gaze is drawn to a rustic greenhouse, made of recycled storm windows and railroad ties. Guido said he doesn't start plants out there, he uses his porch for that but moves the seedlings out to harden off before transplanting.
Notice two things, one - the grass is incredibly lush. He must use a lot of water, and two - that bare stick was a fruit tree that was damaged in a recent storm, he won't pull it up until fall and after the arugula that is planted at the base is harvested.
Speaking of trees - he has all fruit trees. I overheard him tell a guest "Why would I plant any other tree than than a fruit tree, I can't eat the leaves!" Looking towards the back of his lawn the fruit trees are many and all in fruit. He has pears, apples, Asian pears, quince and peach.
As if what I had seen was not enough, I realized that this was only the start. After all - he was advertised as having more than 100 tomato plants. "One hundred and one!", he declared with a twinkle in his eye.
Walking toward the rear of the property, a large trellis upon which grows a great wall of beans comes into focus.
I walked to the far end, through the gate and into the back garden; and oh what a garden!
Stretching out before me were the biggest onions I've ever seen in the ground, lush celery, eggplants and cabbages to the rear, a half turn to the left,
was the most orderly plot of tomatoes one can imagine. Pruned and staked, they stood tall and healthy in the hot sun.
The onions are far bigger than my fist.
Celery growing strong.
I don't know what kind of basil this is, but some of the leaves are bigger than my hand.
And the kohlrabi looks like a spaceship.
I walked around a little bit more, listened to the charming Guido patiently answer tourists questions, then thanked him for his time and efforts.
I walked to my car, a little stunned by what I had just seen, appreciative of what 35 years of development can accomplish, and all the more determined to continue developing my little garden.
Until next time, Keep Digging & Eat Well!
The Gastronomic Gardener
Garden blog http://amidwestgarden.blogspot.com/
Cooking blog http://ihopeyouarehungry.blogspot.com/
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