Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fresno's Underground Gardens

Last week we did a little sight-seeing and visited a place where a man spent around 40 years digging under the ground. He built rooms, dug a well, built a sort of underground orchard, an aquarium, bed chambers, chapel, and much more. 

Unfortunately, most of it was filled in when 99 was built. His name was Baldassare Forestiere, and he had immigrated to the U.S. from Sicily in the hopes of growing oranges in California. He initially worked digging subway tunnels in New York, then traveled out to California where he bought 80 acres--only to discover it was too hard to grow anything in. So he dug deeper, down below the hardpan. 

The place was pretty neat, and obviously, Baldassare was onto something, because it was much cooler and many of the trees he planted are still growing down there. We got to see many citrus trees and a 100 year old grape vine he cultivated and made his own wine from. You can check out the website HERE if you're interested in more information. 

People from all over the world visit the gardens. 

He built skylights and planted citrus trees so that they would grow up and above ground. 
Many of them still remain and bear fruit today.

He was very religious and built a chapel complete with a bell tower.
There are many references to the number three and seven all over the place.

His outdoor-underground courtyard was pretty. 
To get to it, we crossed over a little pool where he would keep his catch of the day. 
It was cool and lush and a great place to relax in a tub.

It was an interesting tour. Grace was amazing and barely made a peep the entire time. We enjoyed it! 


Gigi said...

That tour sounds cool. I hope you're getting some good relaxation time too. I love the family picture. Grace is already too cool for vacation pictures with Mom and Dad, I see. She better change her attitude when you guys get up here because I'm going to be taking a TON of pictures.

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