Features ~ Sonoma Valley Sun


An inspirational tale of gardening

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Sonoma Valley Sun

By Adelia Gregory | Special to The Sun

There is a house on Broadway that is all but famous for its vivacious garden, surrounded by towering cactuses and exotic shrubbery currently in full bloom. The peach-colored cottage seems itself to be a flower blossom – framed by two large garden plots, divided by a tidy walkway, and adorned with the sensual aroma of foreign flowers.

Mrs. Frank Indelicato – Rosemarie to her many friends – has lived in the charming house since 1968. The ninety-seven-year-old tends the joint sum of nearly one acre of land by herself. “I think it’s what keeps me going,” said Mrs. Indelicato. “There’s something different to do each time I’m out here in the garden.”

A widower since 1978, Mrs. Indelicato’s passions have compromised both traveling and gardening. Currently, she is growing a variety of blooming plants not native to California – the seeds of which she collected on her many travels to places like Africa, Alaska, and Costa Rica. The white Mantilla poppies and “Bird of Paradise Trees” from Costa Rica provide awe-inspiring sights for passersby on Broadway.

The vitality of Mrs. Indelicato’s flowers, as well as that of her vegetable beds which are brimming with bell peppers, potatoes, and string beans, reflects the garden lover’s zeal for life. In earlier times, she enjoyed going on picnics and having lunch with acquaintances, as well as being an active member in the Sonoma Garden Club, which she joined in 1968.  She is no longer able to attend meetings.

In addition to gardening, she has visited places like China, Japan, and Australia, noting that there was “something different and interesting about each one.”

Mrs. Indelicato’s innumerous beautiful plants, like her huge lilies, lilac, and different breeds of flowering cactus have delicate, decorative blossoms that are eye-catching and well known around town. Her incredibly inspiring dedication and passion to her variety of high maintenance plants is humbling and motivational. Mrs. Indelicato added with a smile that, “The key to longevity is hard work.” And the key to a fulfilling life is a passion like Mrs. Indelicato’s.

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