University of California

California Friendly Gardening

Title California Friendly Gardening 11
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Photo Information Birdhouse Nestled in Sacramento Avocado Tree
Rakich, Cathryn: UC Master Gardener Vol.
Description My husband and I would walk our dogs in the evening and pass one of our elderly neighbors hand watering his front yard garden. Sometimes he would sit in a chair and fan the hose back and forth. The yard was full of colorful funky birdhouses. Then we stopped seeing him. A few months later, the same house was having a yard sale and selling all the birdhouses. I inquired about the man and his daughter told me he is not doing well and won't be coming home. Then the family told me all about the man. He was a fighter pilot in WWII and then became a member of the Italian mob in the 1960s in New York. He hung out with Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. When the mayor decided to clean up the city, the district attorney told the mob to leave the state or go to jail. So the man retired to California and started building birdhouses in his backyard shed. We bought one in memory of the man and nestled it within an avocado tree that I grew from the pit of a tree growing in Carmichael.

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