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Forestiere Underground Gardens by chateaugrief Forestiere Underground Gardens by chateaugrief
This is Forestiere Underground Gardens, of Fresno California. It’s an underground 10-acre villa & citrus orchard, and it just goes to show, just because you would never think of putting in an orchard underground, doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. Handsome 26 year old Baldassare Forestiere came to Fresno from Sicily in 1901, determined to have a citrus orchard.  He didn’t know much about California’s soil conditions, and the real estate agent took him out on the one nice day a year in Fresno, so it came to pass that he bought this godforsaken piece of land out in the middle of nowhere, determined to make life hand him lemons.  

Life did not hand him lemons. Instead he found that the top five feet of soil was this famous California clay pan that all the farmers use enormous D9 + bulldozers to break up every year. Citrus tree roots aren’t great at pushing through this. So, Baldassare decided to plant his orchard under the clay pan. He began sinking enormous wells in this desert and bricking them in with adobe. As it happens this guy worked on building the New York Subway system when he first hit America and he’d obviously picked up some good tricks. His job there was called being a ‘sandhog’ and it was one of those incredibly interesting dangerous jobs. He’s basically a deep-sea diver on land, working in pressurized atmosphere with explosives and earthmoving to dig these tunnels. Every day he would spend an hour and a half in a decompression chamber before he could go home or he would die of the bends like so many Brooklyn Bridge workers did  as they worked in enormous caissons to sink the footing of the bridge to bedrock. But Baldassare was built of determined stuff, and he was going to have a citrus empire one day. So as soon as he could, he skipped over to Los Angeles, marveled at the orchards, and then headed up to Fresno to start one of his own.  

Over the course of his twenties and thirties and forties, in his spare time, by hand, he built ten acres of interconnected terraces and grottos and rooms and landscaped patios filled with hundreds of fruit trees — twenty feet below the ground. The entire structure is engineered to capture and run off rainwater, to provide light to the trees, to keep them from getting frostbitten or overheated in the Fresno desert. He’s got all kinds of citrus, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, berries, kumquats, grapes, shade trees, peaches and some hybrids that only he could think of. One famous tree has two types of oranges, two types of lemons, grapefruit and tangerine, all on the same tree. He used only hand tools. He had no formal schooling of any kind. The total expense for building this marvel? $300. He even had an overhead aquarium pond for koi in one of the rooms.  

So…what have you done with your spare time today? (read a webcomic I hope…)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconvivimayaa:
ViviMayaa Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I would love to stumble upon this place, lovely, like a secret garden (♥ω♥*)
Reply
:iconleporidactic:
Leporidactic Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist
Such tranquil atmosphere... gorgeous work!
Reply
:iconaklim04:
Aklim04 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
:eyepopping:
Reply
:iconheysani:
HeySani Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2018  Student Digital Artist
wow this one is amazing! 
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:icongigionox:
gigionox Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2018
Clap 
Reply
:iconlonermade:
lonermade Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm a bit tardy on this post but glad I let it linger in my watch until I had chance to read. Beautiful painting and wonderfully inspiring story

To answer your question . . . you are reading it ;)
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  glad you liked it!  
Reply
:iconjust-a-nomad:
Just-a-Nomad Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
the garden spring
an oasis under the earth
life begins again
while the surface carries on
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
lovely poem!
Reply
:iconamberart212:
AmberArt212 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Epic!
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconwilk132:
Wilk132 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2018
WOW.
THIS...
IS...
Awensome!
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:icondimensionaldragons:
DimensionalDragons Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
This is absolutely amazing, so magical looking.
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Than you!
Reply
:iconauthorartistloveland:
AuthorArtistLoveland Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
STUNNING AND INCREDIBLE!!!!!!! I've looked at your other landscape artworks and I in tears Love ShockedI'm on fire!   give me your secretsWhisper sweet nothings in my ear! 
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  Glad you like them!  I don't have any secrets I'm afraid...wish I did I'd put them immediately on patreon...
Reply
:iconhalanlore:
HalanLore Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I have learned something new today! That is extremely cool! I now want lemonade
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  Yeah I could go for a nice cool glass of lemonade myself...
Reply
:iconelectricsupernova:
ElectricSupernova Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018
Would it be alright to use this?
Reply
:iconelectricsupernova:
ElectricSupernova Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018
Fanfic article/
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
What did you want to use it for?
Reply
:iconarthur-ramsey:
Arthur-Ramsey Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018   General Artist
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:icongogomechy:
Gogomechy Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
This is amazing.  Not just the pic, the story.  What an amazing person.  
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  Yes that guy was incredible!
Reply
:iconjtruth9419:
JTruth9419 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Student Digital Artist
THIS IS GORGEOUS :love:
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconganguro666:
Ganguro666 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018
I love the visuals here, the light and dark play well so well off of each other here and the symbolism is fantastic.
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  Apparently Forestiere was into numerical symbology and actually arranged all these things according to some meaning.  I'd love to see a map of the whole place, but I can't find one.  
Reply
:icongnoll-el:
Gnoll-El Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018
Thank you for bringing this unknown gem to our attention.  I am going to rearrange my must see list for it.  And your painting does it justice. 
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  Glad you liked it.  I wanna go too!
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:iconquanb3ll:
QuanB3ll Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautiful! Could you guys look at my gallery and help critique me..it would help so much!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!  Hmm...my critique is that pencil doesn't photograph well.  You have to scan it and clean up the lines, darken stuff.  Takes some digitizing, but then everything looks way more professional.  Best of luck!
Reply
:iconquanb3ll:
QuanB3ll Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much..gotcha! I really appreciate it😁🙌
Reply
:iconplasticmacrocosm:
PlasticMacrocosm Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gorgeous! The soft colours are so pretty.
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconamy-ashes:
Amy-Ashes Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
So beautiful!
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconroseallie:
Roseallie Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018
So pretty! I wish I could travel there.
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconmistermanguyofstuff:
MisterManGuyOfStuff Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018
I hate that I can't favorite it a thousand times.
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconcosmicspider:
cosmicspider Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018
Wow I had no idea this place existed. Lovely image, you did it justice.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:icondancingdemonart:
DancingDemonArt Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful!
Reply
:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconalexfireflyzhou:
AlexFireflyZhou Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing place, very beautiful.
Reply
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Submitted on
July 25
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