Gardener Story: Bernd & Civita Blaske

Detroit Shoreway

Bernie and Civita met in an English language class shortly after they had both emigrated to the US. Bernie came from Germany at age 19 and Civita from Italy at age 16. They have been married for 52 years and raised 5 daughters in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.

The most unusual feature of their garden is the back yard that is entirely taken up by train tracks and settings for Bernies extensive electric train collection. Bernie constructed an elaborate replica of the Matterhorn mountain in Switzerland complete with an overhead gondola and a ski village. Buffalo and dinasours graze on the slopes of the mountain and this year Bernie will add a water feature with ottors and also a miniature windmill. There is another set of tracks on the ground at the very back of the yard. This set has two electric trains traveling on the tracks.  The sight of this set- up will delight all train enthusiasts and small boys who may be obsessed by trains.

Civita's gardens occupy two areas behind the garages that used to be the back alley. Here Civita has many different varieties of berries and vegetables in a garden surrounded by a blue iris. The other garden has strawberries and cammomile under two very old fig trees planted by Civita's mother at least 50 years ago. The trees are protected from the winter's snow and frost with carpets stuffed with leaves.