My daughter, Katie, told someone the other day that she is everything she is today because of me. My heart swelled. A few days later, I was driving up the long driveway at my mom’s house and, as I admired her beautiful gardens, I thought, I am the person I am today because of her, and my heart swelled.
My mom smiles through adversity. She is patient, thoughtful and kind. She is strong. She is a gardener. And at 84 years of age, she still gardens.
I was sorry she wasn’t home to walk with me, but as I moved through her yard, a lifetime of memories accompanied me.
Her gardens of hostas reminded me of our many plant addiction phases. When she collected irises and daylilies, I got hooked. When I was bitten by the hosta and conifer bugs, she got hooked. We went on garden walks and studied catalogs together. We shared plant divisions.
I smiled as I noticed bits of my dad throughout the gardens. A model airplane from his collection was nestled in the garden and…
…some old signs from his days as a realtor were used as stepping stones. I imagined my mom talking to him in the garden as she worked.
Never one to complain and never one to give up, my mom has found new ways to garden despite arthritis. She mows her large yard over a few days instead of all at once. She moves bags of mulch throughout the gardens and then opens and spreads the mulch a few bags at a time. To remove rock edging from a border that lined the entire length of the driveway, she drove her car down the driveway, filled the passenger seat with rocks and then drove them up to house. When I asked her why she didn’t ask for help she answered, “I can do it. I just do it a little at a time.”
The two-acre property once boasted two huge vegetable gardens, an orchard and grapevines, and borders overflowing with annuals and perennials. This was where I learned how to garden. Today, the orchard and grapevines are gone, and the remaining vegetable garden is just large enough to grow Mom’s favorites. But there are still flowers, lots of flowers.
Her cutting garden provides bouquets for her church every Sunday.
As I admired the dahlias, larkspur and snapdragons…
…I noticed a pair of scissors wired to a post in the garden, waiting to cut some flower stems. What a great idea!
A trumpet vine planted near the front door attracts hummingbirds.
Surprise lilies, divided and moved over many years, dotted gardens all over the property.
The tiger lilies were almost finished blooming.
She always has something new rooting in or growing from seed. She digs and save tender bulbs and tubers in fall. She overwinters plants indoors. She is a gardener.
Thanks, mom, for teaching me about being a parent and a grandparent. Thanks for showing me how to smile through tough times. Thanks for always being there when I need you. Thanks for teaching me to work hard and never give up. And thanks for making me a gardener.
Who taught you how to garden? Have you thanked them? And, more importantly, with whom are you sharing your love of gardening?
Garden with me (and my mom)!