Monica Lamb-Yorski photo Adriana Calabrese stands beside some of the sunflowers growing in the garden at her Mackenzie Avenue home.

Calabrese keeps late husband’s garden alive

Since Adriana Calabrese’s husband died two and a half years ago, her son helps her keep it alive

While she does not profess to be a gardener, Adriana Calabrese must be doing something right.

Her sunflowers tower above her at her Mackenzie Avenue home and her numerous grapevines are thriving and should be ready for harvesting by October.

“I just water and weed a bit,” the 81-year-old said as she explained that her son Mauro built her some garden boxes after her husband Innocenzo “Inno” passed away two and a half years ago.

Innocenzo was the gardener and he insisted that garden boxes were for lazy gardeners and real gardeners worked directly on the ground.

“My son plants things for me and because of the boxes we had to plant the sunflowers. My husband loved sunflowers because they seeded themselves and regrew every year. We decided we had to keep growing them because of him.”

There is also a variety of purple and green grapes in her garden which all came from friends or friends of friends in Kelowna in 1965.

“We tried making wine out of them but it was too acidic so I make jelly, invite people to pick them, and the deer get the rest,” she said.

Calabrese works as a seamstress, altering wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, hemming and mending even.

She learned her trade as a young woman back in her hometown in Italy.

“It keeps me busy,” she said from her sewing room where she had several projects going, including altering an extravagant wedding dress.

When she has time she also quilts, using up whatever fabric she has leftover.

In 1958 she moved to Wells where her husband was working in the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mine. They moved to Williams Lake in 1965 when he got a job with the railway. That lasted about a year and then he went on to work at West Fraser Sawmill, which in those days was located right across the road from their house.

Innocenzo worked at the sawmill for 25 years and then retired.

Together they raised four daughters — Maria, Gina, Linda and Gabriella and two sons — Nino and Mauro.

When Nino was 23 he drowned in Whitehorse. He had been working up there as a firefighter and went swimming with friends one evening.

“I still think about him everyday,” Calabrese said of her son. “It’s different than losing my husband. He lived to be 89 and had a long life.”

A grandmother of seven grandsons and one granddaughter, she enjoys spending time with them or attending their activities.

“My life is never boring,” she said. ” I’ve always got lots to do and I thank God for that.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 99 closed due to Rockslide near Lillooet

Crews are currently working to clear the road

UPDATE: Alleged firearm threat in Williams Lake Friday aimed at new business owners

The investigation resulted in the recovery of a firearm replica and other edged weapons

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read