Making the Most of the Gardening Off-Season

Being a gardener in the Berkshires is a seasonal gig—a challenge for some, but a great perk in my opinion! For me, the winters have always been a time for me to rest after a season of hard work, reflect and of course prepare for next season.

Some ask me, “Why not plow?”

And in my opinion, plowing and snow removal is not the job of a gardener, nor is it something that I want to do!

Instead, I use this time to explore other passions and interests of mine—and I encourage my employees to do the same with their winters off. 

Rice field in Bali

Why I Travel

One big passion of mine—that I am lucky enough to have winters off to pursue—is travel! The world has so much to offer, and I find it really important to keep a broad perspective, with influence and inspiration coming from outside the Berkshire bubble as much as possible. Traveling offers so much inspiration and education—and especially as it applies to gardening.

Generoso circa 1996 in Italy
Generoso in Campania, 1996

Travel has been a big source of inspiration for me for my entire life—my parents are immigrants from Italy, so growing up I spent summers abroad with my family. My family’s village is in rural Campania, and they very much live off of the land. This gave me a deep appreciation for the earth, and by helping on the farmland in Italy I fostered a connection with the earth that little did I know, would later translate into gardening as a profession!

Learning from the Land

In more recent years, I have continued to learn from the land—all over the world. I frequent the fertile land of Italy bi-yearly, and have been venturing to the Far East in more recent years—always learning and absorbing. 

Generoso Learning about Rice Farming
Learning about rice farming
Generoso in Rice Fields in Bali
Rice crop in Bali

It is so inspiring to learn what kinds of crops and plant thrive in other parts of the world with far different climates than ours—and the methods in which the local communities have learned to utilize their natural resources to live off of their land. What’s also fascinating is learning about cultural traditions, and meaningful plants and nature can be—I love how cultures are can be so integrated with nature and take their connection to the earth to a spiritual level.

Generoso with Banyan Tree
Generoso Channelling the Energy of a Banyan Tree

Inspiration for Berkshire Greenscapes

When I travel, I am always paying attention to the plants—it’s fascinating! Everything from being wowed by plants I’ve never seen before, to seeing annuals (for the Berkshires at least) thriving in their natural environments.

Verbena in Jungle
Finding Verbena in the Wild
Coconut seedlings
Coconut Seedlings

I am always looking for inspiration from the source—like how plants appear in nature, and even how plants are paired together in other parts of the world where the thrive. Seeing certain plants thriving in specific environments can be applied directly to incorporating annuals back home in the Berkshires.

Cordyline and Heliconia
Tropical Color Inspiration
Shade Garden Colors
Colorful Shade Plants

Keeping it Fresh

For me, traveling during my off-season is a guaranteed way to keep things fresh—whether it is with my garden designs, or even with my mindset. The winters off offer an opportunity to do something different and exciting with my time—and usually my clients can’t wait to hear about it when I return. 

See you in the Spring!