'Emelia's Italian Pole Bean' a.k.a. 'Auntie Vi'

aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. CanadaFebruary 22, 2014

I found out where the Italian pole bean I'd been growing since 1965 came from quite by chance. I was talking to a co-worker of DH's one day out at a local flower show. He asked me what I'd been doing since I was no longer growing and showing dahlias. I told him I'd been bitten by the bean bug and it was all the fault of this Italian pole bean given me by a neighbour back in 65. The only information I had on it was that it came over from Italy in the early 1900s and had been grown in our southend neighbourhood since then. Dh's co-worker said they might be the beans his grandmother brought with her when she immigrated to Canada but wouldn't know for sure until he saw them. When I showed him the beans he confirmed that they were one of the beans his grandmother brought with her. The family no longer had them so I was happy I could give them another start.

His grandmother Mrs. Emelia Fulla brought them with her when she immigrated to Canada from the town of St. Peitro in the provence of Udine in Northern Italy. She and her husband lived on the first block of the same street we do only about a mile or so down the road.
I said I had given them a temporary name because I'd started sharing my seed with others but would like to change it, it didn't matter to him but after some thought I have decided to change the name I gave them to 'Emelia's Italian Pole Bean' in honour of the lady who's bean I have been growing and enjoying all these years.

This is the bean that started the ball rolling for me, in searching for the identity of this bean I ended up with many italian beans some I bought plus all the ones you guys have so kindly shared with me :), we came close with 'Uncle Steve's' but no cigar.
Now I'm hooked, I keep searching out heirloom and interesting sounding beans, some rare some not so rare and, if they won't grow for me I pass them on to someone who can.
I joined Seeds of Diversity a couple of years ago, have sent beans to local seed banks and do my best to help others find beans they might be looking for. (Whisper) I think I have upwards of 175 varieties in my collection now. I admit it I'm a bean addict LOL.

'Emelia's Italian Pole Bean' a.k.a. 'Aunti Vi'

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dlsm(Z9b Titusville Fl)

Hi Annette,

That green bean looks like the Rattlesnake variety. Dry it looks like the Pinto bean. In fact it looks like several different varieties.

I would like to try them if you would part with a few. How do you usually eat them, snap, shelly or dry?


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:28PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Luther, they looks like more then several different varieties, one of the crisper drawers in the fridge is full of beans that look similar but no cigar. We only eat them as snap beans, haven't tried them any other way. Email me your addy and I'll see what I can do :).


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:48PM
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rxkeith(z5 MI)


i try not to look for new beans.

even so, i still end up with several new ones to try each year.
i have to trial one or two dry beans each year now, in order to find some good ones that will grow in my area.
bean varieties is in the dozens. i haven't counted them.
for me it all started with uncle steve.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 3:02PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I hear you Keith, I tried not acquiring any more new to me beans, I've failed miserably LOL.

Luther message received. Right now it's snowing again 6' on the ground and still coming down. I have to get some more bubble envelopes so it might be a couple of days before I get them in the mail. I think I have your email address squirrelled away somewhere, if I can find it I'll email when the beans are on the way.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 4:17PM
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dlsm(Z9b Titusville Fl)

Annette, we are worlds apart. You are getting snow and my air conditioner is running full force.

Sent you my new email address. Whenever you can get thru the snow.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:54PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Luther, it's about a foot deep now and still snowing. I'll email you when they're in the mail. It's a good job they're on my grow list this year I've given so many away my supply is getting low.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Congratulations on finding out the true history of that bean Annette!
As you know, I, too, now have the bean 'bug' and keep collecting and growing and sharing them. They are all so beautiful!


    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 7:18PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Annette - thanks for the id on the beans/ This is the first year I've grown them and I made a wee bit of space. I'll keep you posted as they develop - and at least the beans got you off that nasty fushia addiction ;-)


    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:43PM
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Annette, showing dahlias? Are you familiar with the Edna C.? Edna Comstock, for whom the dahlia was named (and bred by her husband, Paul) was my dear friend. I was her caregiver for the last 4 years of her life.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:55PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Deeby, Edna C, a lovely yellow decorative if my memory serves me right, good one for the show bench, won a lot of prizes in my neck of the woods. I did a bit of judging at Dahlia shows back in the day but never went past the candidate stage at Dahlia specialty shows. My favorites were the BB's and Miniatures, especially liked Incurved Cactus. Ornamental Rays was a favorite of mine for basket work, Salmon Rays is almost identical but OR's was just a tad pinker, some couldn't tell them apart but I could. I know oldie's but goodies :).
I ended up taking a general judging course, both flower and veggies just wanting to learn how to exhibit properly. Before I knew it I was roped into judging flower shows up and down the island, did so for many years until the back and legs started giving me trouble. I really enjoyed it while it lasted, especially the fall fairs.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:19AM
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Nice to hear back. The Edna C. is a huge yellow dinner plate dahlia. That's all I knew. Edna was 94 when she died, on November 17, 2006. She was quite famous in the Dahlia Society. You'd have loved her !

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 6:41PM
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What a cool story !!! Great of you to recognize Emelia & keep it going !

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:19PM
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