Italians & Plants

(Note - The following page has nothing to do with Missouri flora, it is just here as
an entertaining aside.)

For thousands of years many cultures have cultivated plants. Whether it be for survival or personal enjoyment is immaterial. The Italian culture, however, seems to be blessed with the innate ability of plant propagation. More so than any other people, Italians seem to have a welcomed addiction for growing plants.

Dad and figs

My dad, for instance, is the finest gardener I will ever know. He has a godlike ability to nurture the most pathetic of plants into lush green foliar marvels of the gardening world. He started the figs you see in the picture from 3 inch stem cuttings brought home from a trip to the old world.


Look at that grapevine, (which dates back to my birth), any questions?

All of my Italian family has the instinct to cultivate. My grandfather always had a fine garden. My grandmother grows the finest peppers on her side of the Mississippi. My sisters all keep potted plants. The real proof, however, that Italians are born to garden, is my brother.

Rik in Garden

Perhaps I was just dense growing up but I would have never suspected my brother to be such a fine gardener. Yet, here he is, looking as "paesano" as ever, and bearing a frighteningly similar appearance to my grandfather in his youth.

My family isn't the only example I will use here. Take a look at the gent in the picture below.


Perhaps no other picture better typifies the Italian mentality about plants. Here is a true Roman - picking wild strawberries off the side of the Aurelian Wall and dressed in a wool suit. The wall was built around AD 271.

When's the last time you ate plants off the side of the road?
Just a thought.