Franco’s Nursery in Madera had a long history before it ever sold a plant here. It really had its beginnings when a group of 40 Italians gathered around an old gentleman to have their family picture taken. It was one of those bittersweet days that life yields. Signore Franco sat beside his son, Gino, who had returned to his ancestral home of Compassi after a 10-year sojourn in America.
Now, in 1932, the son was back and had taken a bride, but he was going to leave again. This time, however, he was going to take his children, 11-year-old Anna and 10-year-old Ernesto, with him back to Madera. He was determined to give them the better life that he had promised.
Little did he know when he left this time, however, that with his new wife he would bring his unborn child. That child, conceived in Italy but born in America, would be named Carlo Franco, and he would one day establish Franco’s Nursery in Madera.
Gino Franco had left Compassi the first time in 1922 to go to America where his brother, Allesandro had settled in Madera. He told his first wife that he was certain he could better their life in the New World and felt secure that his small family would be safe in their tightly-knit village until he returned. Anna was just a year old and Ernesto had just been born...