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Photo by Kelsey Grau
Longboat Key Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2014 3 years ago

Your Neighbor: Joe Zampino

by: Kelsey Grau Community Editor

Neighborhood: Gulfshore of Longboat Key
Your neighbor since: 2009

To an avid cook, the view from the kitchen window can be an important one.

Joe Zampino and his wife, Annette, moved in 1986 to Florida from New Jersey, where Zampino worked at a catering company and delicatessen for most of his life, save the 15 years served as a police officer.

When their daughter encouraged them to move to Gulfshore of Longboat Key, the couple decided to give the Key life a try. Only one thing was wrong: the view.

“It was a mess,” said Zampino of the elevated fence outside his window. “All rocks and stones, and everybody threw their garbage in there. So, I started with some flowers.”

Today, the greenery and blooming flowers rival even the best Florida gardens. With everything from birds of paradise to geraniums, the little garden along the wall at Gulfshore has taken shape.

“I’ve got a gardenia tree with buds on it, and, come Easter time, that thing is just gonna bust out,” said Zampino with a quick hand motion.

The orchids and hibiscus are his favorites, but the garden has new variety on a consistent basis because Zampino’s neighbors have joined the effort.

Together, they share the upkeep, weeding and watering of the section of the fence nearest to their homes.

“And, before you knew it, when people were going away, they’d say, ‘Gee, Joe, would ya put this flower on the fence,’” Zampino said. “And bing, bang, boom, it grew into something beautiful.”

And with that garden, Zampino can look out his kitchen window while preparing his favorite Italian dishes and see color.

“Come here, look out the window,” said Zampino with a quick wave. “Could you get a better view than that?”

Contact Kelsey Grau at [email protected]


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