Recently, I received this heartwarming letter from Amy Serlis of Lake Grove about her father's love of gardening. He has a birthday coming up this month.
After reading all your articles week after week, I just had to write in about my dad, Nick, and his extaordinary garden. He was born and raised in Greece and came to the U.S. in 1947 when he was 14 years old.
While growing up in Greece during World War II, his dad was working here in the states to be able to send for my dad, his mother and younger brother.
My dad's grandfather had a huge farm with every kind of fruit and vegetable you could imagine, as well as olive and fruit trees. During the war when food was scarce, they pretty much lived off of the land. My dad followed him around and learned everything about every vegetable, fruit and tree. It was amazing that such a young boy could absorb all that.
We have been residents of Lake Grove since 1968. From the moment we moved here from the city, he dreamed of having his own garden. He has maintained this for over 40 years. He is known as the "Mayor of the block" and when asked, he gives his gardening advice. We say he missed his calling, as he has been in the restaurant field for 50 years.
It is his pleasure to share his garden delights with the neighbors. And everyone says, "There is nothing like Nicks' tomatoes". One tomato can reach 3 pounds. I can vouch for that, as I am his official garden photographer as you will see in the photos. He is so organized and meticulous.
He also has had the same fig trees for over 20 years. He brings them into the garage every fall and back out in the spring. They are the sweetest anyone has ever tasted. These are also his pride and joy.
He is out in his garden from the minute he gets up until sundown. He grows everything and we appreciate all his efforts and are so very proud of him.
Happy birthday, Mr. Serlis! You should be very proud. Keep on digging!