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An Afternoon in Italy in California

Sometimes when we spend time with gardeners, we feel transported across the world to Italy.  Such was the case when we spent the afternoon with Domenico and Rosa Bellocci and their family in Orangevale, California, just outside of Sacramento.  From the moment Rosa opened the front door of her house, we were greeted not only… Read more »

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The Garden of Domenico and Rosa Bellocci

Orangevale, California Born in Mola di Bari, Province of Bari, Puglia, Italy. Domenico immigrated to the United States in 1969, and Rosa immigrated in 1985. Click on the photo to enlarge and read the caption.   Prickly Pear Picker The Bellocci’s teach us how to use the prickly pear picker that they got in Italy…. Read more »

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Italian Gardeners Bloom Wherever They are Planted

  Italian gardeners never shy away from hard work, add to that their keen knowledge of growing and you’ve got a powerful combination. Their wisdom and tireless spirit were the keys to success in their adopted country, and nowhere is that more evident than in the case of Cesare Restani, one of the most successful nurserymen… Read more »

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On the Road: New York

Each summer The Italian Garden Project™ heads to New York City and the surrounding area to seek out and document Italian American vegetable gardens.  We have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful New York gardeners who welcome us into their homes and gardens, generously sharing their knowledge and love of growing and preparing food. … Read more »

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Tomatoes at the Diamond

The final game of the 112th World Series is tonight, so we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on how Italian gardeners have left their mark on baseball. Italian gardeners don’t let a good patch of dirt go to waste, so it’s no surprise they have a history of growing even at the diamond…… Read more »

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Wrapping a Fig Tree – Savinell Style

  Alan Savinell of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a master at wrapping his fig trees. The two 20 foot, highly productive trees he cares for in his back yard were passed down to him from his grandfather an immigrant from Santa Maria a Vico near Naples, Italy. Alan credits all his gardening knowledge to his grandfather,… Read more »

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Are You Stuck with a Tree Full of Green Figs?

A fig lover’s nightmare is to have a tree full of small, hard figs sitting stubbornly unripe on the tree at the end of the season.  It is often tempting to pick this end of season fruit before it’s fully mature, but will these figs ripen off the tree, or will you be stuck with… Read more »

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My Father’s Garden – A Memoir

  We are proud to share that our volunteer Mary Ann Pietanza-Cloonan’s memoir of her Italian American father has been published as part of the online archive, Community of Gardens. This digital archive, which is part of the Smithsonian Gardens, aims to preserve American gardening heritage by providing a platform to share the stories of gardens… Read more »

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Squash Blossoms Three Ways

  We’re coming to the end of summer, but there is still another week or two to enjoy the last squash blossoms of the season before the cold weather sets in.  Fiori di zucca, as they are known in Italian, can be picked from almost any variety of squash including summer varieties like zucchini and… Read more »

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A New York Treat: Pane con Ciccioli

  On her way out of New York, Mary made a stop at Addeo and Sons Bakery in the Bronx where she found a traditional bread she hadn’t seen since her childhood.  Pane con ciccioli is bread baked with the crispy bits of pork meat that are the by-product of rendering pork fat into lard…. Read more »

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