Urban Gardening

From November 2008 E-newsletter

Letters From Readers

William, your story about Carl Walton warmed my heart! Thanks for writing with such warmth. My dad planted 400 hills of potatoes this spring, and last week he and my mom froze 104 pints of snap beans. He's 86. Gardening definitely keeps him going!

Barbara Richardson


Thank you for the article about Mr. Walton and his garden. It made my day.

M.L. Broderick


Hey William:

Loved your story on Mr. Walton. He reminds me so much of my father who was also a wonderful urban farmer. Before he died in 2000 he always had a wonderful vegetable garden that supplied produce for our family and many of the neighbors. I believe that he also was blessed with long life because of his gardening and connection to the earth.

Vernon R. Bryant


Thank you so much for the peek into Mr. Walton's garden. He and others like him are a national treasure and are rapidly disappearing. I hope you will consider getting this article published in a major newspaper or on a major TV network. Or maybe in a documentary for public TV.

Blessings and thank you for your work!
Sara Rose


Mr. Walton reminded me of my grandmother. Originally from Poland, she came to America, alone at eighteen, in the latter 1800s, and she brought the expertise of generations of polish-style planting. She taught me to graft fruit trees, to deal with pecking chickens and nasty, biting ducks, and most of all to love plants. She had over 50 different rose bushes, grown in rising rows up a hill, going from blood red, to pinks, salmon, yellows, and white.

Hostas and Chinese lanterns lined every path; grape arbors, mulberries, gooseberries, etc., and the vegetable array filled the table all year-round. She grew potatoes in a barrel long before yuppies decided that was cool. Canned almost everything, except the 'Green Gage' plums from the huge tree outside the back door. Made her own wine, and sold it, too (oops).

About the same size as Mr. Walton's property, her lot was on a hill, bracketed by houses. Every wall had hanging flowers or vegetable vines, and the adjoining house or shed of the neighbors had bushes or flowering vines growing up the side. I wish I could do the same, but I do as much as I can on a 50-by-100-foot lot. Most of my plantings are done to lure butterflies, bees, and birds. This is the legacy left me by my grandmother, and one Mr. Walton can proudly leave for his grandchildren. Thanks for the article and the memories it brought back.

Mary Anne Kazlauskas


I enjoyed the article about Carl Walton's garden. We can all learn something from his methods. In ancient times water was collected from the house and reused! I saw a fabulous example of this in the new architecture of Lady Bird Johnson's Wild Flower Research Center in Austin, Texas! They generally collected enough water to take care of all the research center gardens. I, too, use a garbage can to collect water that I use on all the plantings by my house.

Again, great article. Gardening does keep us young, although there are times my body rebels.
Nora Paul Budziak


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