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

Mother Sun performing live at arts centre Friday night

A psychedelic sound fresh from Kamloops will make its lakecity debut on Friday, Feb. 21

UPDATE: One dead after multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on Highway 97

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

Sweetheart Cup Co-ed Soccer Tournament loved by all participants

Two Goals wins thriller in final over Victorious Secret

Close-knit community: McLeese lake Farmers Market embraces Knit in Public Day

Square by square, vendors and community members pitched in to make three blankets to give away

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Pipeline talks got B.C. railway open, can work again: Horgan

Premier says protest excesses damage Wet’suwet’en case

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

Most Read