In Their Own Words – Sharing Experiences

In Their Own Words – Sharing Experiences 

Ellen Di Nardo, blind since the age of four (more recently she lost her sense of smell), uses touch as the primary way she navigates the world. Ellen is in sole charge of her upstate New York garden where she grows 60-­70 tomato plants a season, 40 hot peppers, 60­-70 sweet peppers, garlic, basil, cucumbers, broccoli, lettuce, and more.  Here is her story …..

How I became a gardener. By Ellen Di Nardo

I have been blind since the age of four. My biggest help in getting started in gardening was my grandfather. He came over from Scotland around 1910 and worked as head gardener on an estate for about 60 years. When he retired in 1959, he and my grandmother moved near us and he took care of our yard. So at the age of seven until I was 12, I followed him around the yard every Saturday. He gave me jobs to do, encouraged me to have my own vegetable and flower garden, and taught me the best hands ­on things one can ever learn. He wasn’t afraid to let a little kid go in and pick beans. He just walked with me and let me feel what was a true bean and what wasn’t. Once my grandfather was too old to work, Dad took over. He taught me the rest of what I needed to know so now it just comes naturally.

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