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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Parents’ Garden

My parents’ garden in Bulgaria is pretty darn fabulous. Each year they manage to grow an amazing variety of fruits, nuts and vegetables in it. Of course, it’s a lot of work and they spend most of their time doing one thing or another in the yard or taking care of the few chickens and the 30 or so rabbits they are raising (and no, those are not pets). But their garden is definitely their pride and joy and they love growing most of the food they eat. I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t like visiting and looking at or consuming the fruits of their labor. They grow way more than they could ever consume in season, so they preserve part of what they can’t eat and give away the rest.

Since it’s early in the season, a lot of the fruit/nuts/veggies are not ready yet but I thought I’d take you on a tour of their garden anyway.

Besides the sweet and sour cherries, strawberries and raspberries I talked about in my previous post, there’s the vegetable garden with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants. My parents have gotten fancy in the last few years, so this part of the garden is watered by my Dad’s home-made drip-irrigation system.

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Then come the potatoes, onions (mature as well as onion flowers for seed), garlic and zucchinis.

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The veggies are surrounded by popcorn and fruit trees - pear, apple, apricot, peach, cherry and plum.

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There are also a couple of walnut trees and a hazelnut tree that will go into cookies, pies and cakes. Or as Nia exclaimed when I told her what hazelnuts are, “We can make our own Nutella!” I hadn’t thought about that but perhaps we should try.

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I almost forgot the grapes, some of which will be eaten but most will turn into wine and rakia (a strong Bulgarian fruit brandy, kinda like the Italian grapa or the Polish/Czech slivovitz).

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Watermelons and cantaloupes are a must as well.

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There are some figs and a lemon tree too. You can’t grow citrus outside year-round in Bulgaria, so the lemon tree goes indoors for the winter. It’s blooming right now and I just can’t get enough of its sweet smell and neither can the bees.

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Naturally, no garden of my mother’s would be complete without flowers:

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Hope you enjoyed visiting my folks’ garden. I am going to leave you with the view from their place.

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10 comments:

  1. That is really neat. Thanks for sharing it!

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  2. So gorgeous! The fruits especially remind me of a wonderful summer spent in a small village in Hungary, eating cherries off the tree and spending evenings tending the gardens and orchards with my host family. Bliss :-). Enjoy your time there!!!

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  3. Jealous. This shows the result of years and years of tender loving care. Then it becomes a heritage garden for anyone in the next generation willing to maintain it.

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  4. What an awesome garden. Thanks for the tour! It reminds me a lot of my grandparents. So glad you can spend time with your family.

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  5. I LOVE THIS GARDEN!! You can feel the love they put into it throughout.

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  6. That is gorgeous! It reminds me of my grandfather and his yard...he had such a green thumb...

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  7. What a fabulous garden. Your parent's home in Bulgaria is wonderful. I love the view. How wonderful that your kiddos get to visit such a fabulous place. Enjoy eating from the garden! Do they make their own wine or give the grapes to a wine maker?

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  8. WOW!! And...I thought I lived in Paradise!

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  9. What a dream. If my parents yard looked like that I'm not so sure I'd ever have left! What an incredible garden and an amazing memory for your kids. Glad you guys had such a fresh and green break.

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