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A Gardening Life – May 12

As I walk around my garden on this Mother’s Day I count my blessings and know that so many of them have come to me from my mother. Some of my abilities are inherited from her and are undoubtedly genetic, but it took the greenhouse of her care to allow those traits to grow and flower.

“I want to make something…what can I use to make something?” I used to repeatedly ask as a child. She would come up with paper to draw on, macaroni to color and string, and shoeboxes for dioramas. Once she gave me her sanitary napkins to take apart and use for snow in the miniature village I was constructing.

One of the biggest gifts my mother gave her children was the love of books and language. When we were small she read books to us aloud, delighting herself in the rhythms and rhymes of A.A. Milne’s poems or Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. “Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees…” she read, and we both could picture the lush and slimy waterway.

I’m so grateful that my mother gave her children such freedom in the outdoors. Kids had the run of the neighborhoods at that time and it was wonderful to be allowed to make our fun in the bower of the bushes and the canopies of trees.

My mother passed along her love of plants and nature and nurtured my creativity and appreciation for the written word. Although she can no longer travel to see what I’m growing, Mom is with me in my gardens, this morning and always. She is largely responsible for my ability to create beautiful landscapes and the desire to write about them.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom…with appreciation and love.

My mother's apartment in assisted living is filled with plants. She still takes pleasure in the things that are important: nurturing life, family, and nature. When her door is open those that pass by delight in the greenhouse atmosphere as well. I am so grateful to the staff at Emeritus at Oakridge, where my mother lives, for acknowledging the importance of Mom's plants and for valuing who she is as I do.

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