Romantic New Garden | Alitza and Alfredo Vallejo |Central Texas Gardener


– [Narrator] After over 50 years Alfredo Vallejo
continues to romance his wife, Alitza. Always, they’ve woven gardens into a family
album of raising children, losing parents, and gathering new friends. In 2017 when they left a beloved garden in
the Houston area for brand new ground in Austin, it started another chapter in their book of
memories. – The children had been wanting us to move
from Sugar Land to here, because they all live here. One of our children actually lives in the
same subdivision. Our daughter lives in the subdivision right
next to this one. My wife is not in very good health, so they
come by. We first moved here, they had not finished
the house nor the houses around here, so I could see the dirt that was here. They had used fill dirt to make the hills,
but it’s not good for gardening. It’s the worst soil that you could have, because
it’s mostly rock. It’s chert. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m kind of
shy about buying plants now, because I realize that I have to dig a hole and it’s not easy. There was nothing in the backyard other than
just grass. I’ve always found ways to eliminate the grass. In the front yard, I have just the two strips
that are right by the curb, and then I have a very, very small little circle, and I call
that my country-club circle, because it has that kind of a little putting tee look to
it. The water in Sugar Land is much less expensive
than it is here. Here they almost kind of give you a choice
of, do you want to eat, or do you want to pay for water bills? Now I don’t have to water as often because
the plants are established. – [Narrator] But in heavy, fast rainfalls,
they used to get too much water between the driveway and front door. – It was horrible because it was full of water,
and mud. And then I said, “Oh, here is a perfect space
“for a dry riverbed.” I brought the big stones that you see in there,
I brought those with me from Sugar Land, and even the black small river stones. That solved the problem completely. It eliminated that water standing there. The neighbor right next to me has the exact
same problem, and he’s gonna be doing the same thing to eliminate that. Then he laid its rippling flagstone pathway. In the side yard, he patterned bricks. He carried them around along the back of the
house. Originally, he wound bricks around the garden,
too. – Then on both sides I had blocks of limestone. And it looked good, but from the first time
that I saw it, it just for some reason did not do the trick. And I looked at it, and I lived with it for
a few months. And then this spring, I said, “Okay, I have
a different plan.” So I removed all the brick, all the stone
and I started to put the brick down the path. – [Narrator] He found his yellow brick road
of promise and discovery. – What I enjoy is being able to get a cup
of coffee, and to me, this is probably one of the most important parts of the day. I will walk through the garden, and I don’t
have to get dirty, or my feet wet, or anything. And that has made my morning. I repeat that again every evening, before
it gets dark. And my wife always tells me, says, “Are you
going to go look at all your girlfriends “in the backyard?” And I said, “Yes, I’m gonna say goodnight
to them, “and see that, make sure that they’re happy “and that they’re all doing well.” I don’t mind getting dirty, let me tell you. I have some old blue jeans, and some old shirts,
and my straw hat. And I get on there, and I spend probably 40,
50% of my time down on my knees, digging up things, and moving them. But I like to get dirty when I want to get
dirty, not when I’m having my cup of coffee. When we moved here, the very first thing that
I wanted, was I wanted to have another pond here. And there’s something about taking care of
a pond that almost makes you go back to the time when you were a small child. I always feel like I’m actually playing in
the pond instead of working on it. – [Narrator] In past gardens, Alfredo dug
the family’s ponds. This round, he let someone else pound through
the hard rock. – [Alfredo] It gives me a lot of pleasure. It’s the little simple joys of life, I think,
that make a lot of difference. – [Narrator] Alfredo embraces the hardscape
with flowers and foliage, including richly-hued cannas that he’s recently come to love. In this new garden, already he’s got divisions
and cuttings to share with global friends and family. For 20 cousins, he even propagated butterfly
vines for everybody. After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. William Welch
took a cutting of a rose that survived in Mrs. Peggy Martin’s Louisiana garden and brought
it to growers. – I had a Katrina bush in Sugar Land, and
I took cuttings, and I brought them to my daughter and planted them here. And her Katrina rose is absolutely huge, it’s
beautiful. And when we moved over here, I told her, I
said, “Now I’m going to need to get some cuttings from yours.” And I did that, and I planted them, and I
have them all around. They’ll eventually cover the whole backyard. – [Narrator] Alfredo weaves the family’s history
into every step. – [Alfredo] We have a pair of identical twins. So each one of those represents one of the
twins. And we have snapshots of the children when
they were little, smaller than the statues. The small boy, which is the youngest of the
three, is Omar. And he’s the one that’s the little boy on
a dolphin. And then off to the side we have Julissa, our
daughter. And then on the other side I have a statue
of a cherub that I gave to my mother 56 years ago, actually, when I was still in college. – [Narrator] His maternal grandfather made
the container. – I have a small concrete slab there that
my sons gave me for Father’s Day one time when we lived in Alabama. I went to work one day, and they said that
they didn’t have any money to buy a Father’s Day present. So they got together and they decided to build
a large barbecue pit out of brick for me. And when I got home, it was already dark,
and they took their flashlights and they said, “Dad, come and see what we got you for Father’s
Day.” And I went out there, and they had made this. They were like 12, 13 years old. So, if you go through the garden you’ll find
a lot of little mementos like that. They’re things that are special. That’s what makes I think a garden personalized. My wife was born and raised in Guatemala City
in Central America. And her mother is buried there, in a family
mausoleum. – [Narrator] When the mausoleum was remodeled,
they took off the marble slab, including the one commemorating Alitza’s mother. – [Alfredo] And I asked my wife, I said, “Would
you like to take that back with you?” And she said, “Oh, I’d love it.” She comes out in the morning sometimes, and
she’ll look at the marble slab. And she will say a quiet little prayer. I’ve seen her actually walk up to it and touch
it, and just kind of, she communicates with it. Although she says that she’s not a gardener,
she has a real good eye for looking at things, very artistic, creative mind. And she’ll come out, and she’ll bring me my
big thermos full of ice water. And she’ll look at something, and she’ll say,
“I like where you had that plant before, “or the way that you had it in a container.” In the front yard, there is a goose, a real
pretty goose that a friend of mine gave me. We’ve had him always in the front yard. But this time around, I thought it’d be interesting
to put him in the backyard. And my wife came out and she said, “Oh no,”
she said, “He’s always been the person “that greets our guests, and kind of almost invites
them “into the house.” I think that a lot of times, we’re so busy
with other things that we have, problems and things like that, that beautiful simple things
like that aren’t actually appreciated. – [Narrator] To celebrate Alitza and Alfredo’s
50th anniversary, their sons’ band Vallejo recorded their parents’ love song. – When we met over 50 years ago, we heard
this song, we fell in love with it. And the name of the song is “Adoro” which
means, I adore. For 50 years, when I give her a card, or I
sign a letter, or whatever, I always sign off, and I put adoro on there, and then my
name. And so, I thought that, here that we have,
which will probably be the last home that we will live in. We’ve done this garden pretty much together,
I said, “What would be more appropriate “than to give the garden the same name of Adoro?” I selected that particular rock, and I brought
it home, and I painted it, and put it right there on that little bench, right in the middle
of the garden. And then I went in the house, and I called
her out, and I tell her I said, “Look,” I said, “This is your garden, in your honor.”

19 thoughts on “Romantic New Garden | Alitza and Alfredo Vallejo |Central Texas Gardener

  1. lovely man, talking about how he cherishes reminders of his family and friends. What a surprise at 7 minutes 56 seconds. I have heard his children's rock band. They're pretty good and obviously take pride in their heritage.

  2. I absolutely loved this video, thier garden and thier love for each other. Thank you for sharing this uplifting video. Paul from Texas

  3. How terrible that Developers are allowed to build houses on such terrible chert. This gentleman has done a marvellous job under very trying conditions, not to mention the cost of water. Amazing effort and a love-ly story.

  4. 3.20 wife says "are you going to look at your old girlfriends in the backyard?" 😂😂😂 husband replies "yes I am going to say goodnight to them."☺

  5. Truly I'm in tears listening to your love story of wife kids and garden..oh you just made my day such a beautiful beautiful story thank you soooo much your family is soo very blessed to have you ..

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