Gossip in the Garden

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My mother and my garden

Rebecca&Linda1967Boy, did I hit the jackpot when I was born.

I’ve always felt that way, even in the midst of my rebellious, bratty teenage years.

When my other friends would band together and badmouth their parents to see who’s was worst, I could never bring myself to join in because I knew in my heart just how lucky I was. And believe me, I gave my parents a run for their money and plenty of opportunities to temporarily step down from her ‘Parents of the Year’ post, but they never wavered in their awesomeness.

On this Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share with you a bit more about my mother and her impact on me and my garden.

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My parents are in their seventies, but garden like they’re in their twenties.
Through the decades, they’ve transformed not one, but two gardens into breathtaking slices of heaven.
They build fences, arbors, and gazebos. They dig and haul spine-crushing boulders out of the ground. They use pick-axes to break up the rock-hard soil.
‘Slowing down’ isn’t part of their vocabulary.
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IMG_2877 Over the years, my mother has often helped me in my own garden doing dirty and un-fun garden chores when I was either too busy or too sick.

You can imagine how dependent I was on her last year when I was going through chemo. She would stay with me for long stretches of time, and when she wasn’t busy being my nurse (or running a million of other errands for me) she would escape outside to bury her hands in the soil.

There was one particularly frigid morning last winter when she went outside to divide a huge clump of goldenrod for me, and while doing so accidentally sliced through an irrigation line. One thing led to another, and when I finally went out to check on her a few hours later, I found her on her hands and knees, covered in mud and frozen to the bone, trying to fix a broken pipe – and cursing like a pirate. While I can’t repeat what she said, we both ended up laughing at just how awful this simple task turned into, and what a champ she was.

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When it comes to giving gifts, my mother has given me the most amazing things that only a gardener at heart would know another gardener might appreciate.  For example, she knew that I would find just the right home for this beautiful hanging basket, and she was right. This blank section of stucco wall always bothered me and definitely needed a little sprucing up.

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She knows I love hearts, so for one birthday she surprised me with this succulent container, complete with cuttings from her garden and a little metal heart tucked in the corner.

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For another birthday, she surprised me with this stone she had inscribed by an artist she had met at a craft fair.

Do any long-time readers remember the robin’s nest she gave to me one year for Christmas?

 

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But this year, her creativity topped the charts.  Here’s the story…

Twenty-five looong years ago, on a beautiful summer morning, I was married at the end of a Lake Tahoe pier.

My mother, being in charge of decorations, found two perfect willow plant stands that would be topped with two beautiful, giant fuchsias, strategically placed at end of the pier.

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While my first marriage came and went, these willow stands stood tall through the decades, following me from home to home. For the past 15 years or so, they’ve been gracing the entrance to my office.
Growing more and more fragile with each passing year, I’d shore them up with pieces of rebar, attaching them to the wall, and doing anything I could to save them.

I knew, however, that this year would be their last and watched with sadness as they precariously leaned this way and that, literally crumbling in my hands whenever I tried to re-position them.  We looked everywhere in vain to find their replacements, but came up empty-handed each time.

A few months ago my parents were pruning an overgrown ornamental cherry tree in their garden, when my mother noticed all the unusually straight branches that had been growing on the tree. A light bulb went off, and with my father’s help, she made two new stands and gave them to me last month for my birthday.

Just look how beautiful they are, with their gentle curving patterns.

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Complete with the little silver declaration of love discreetly nailed on the side.

 

So on this Mother’s Day, I acknowledge that the best Mother’s Day gift I could ever receive is my mother herself.

And for that, I bow down in gratitude. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

30 Responses to My mother and my garden

  1. What a lovely story you’ve shared with us. Your mother’s love of gardening shine in you, as well.

  2. Thank you for your wonderful story about your mother. I was thinking of you today as we noticed two plants in our circle bearing many more blooms after this last rain. And i successfully trimmed back the Euphorbia so that the new growth is lush. It all looks so artistic next to the new driveway! You inherited your mother’s creativity. The new stands are so unique. Happy Mother’s Day.

    • It’s so nice to hear from you, Sylvia!I’m so happy to hear your garden is thriving and rewarding you with lots of beauty. Happy, happy mothers day to you!

  3. What a heart warming story…your mother does indeed sound wonderful…maybe that’s why you are such an awesome gardener and share your knowledge so generously! I bet she’s proud!
    Donna Jones

  4. what a WONDERFUL Mother’s Day story, thank you for sharing such special memories and photos!
    Today I will also celebrate my own mother’s love and support she has given to myself.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you also Rebecca.

  5. I have no doubt that Emily feels the same way about you, Rebecca. What a legacy of love and caring your Mother continues to pass along to the world… through you. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. How touching…enjoy your day…I know who you’re spending it with! My mother and I didn’t have that special relationship you have but I am working on it with her now as well as with my daughter from now.

    • I realize most people don’t have the relationship like I did, which is all the more reason why I’ve always felt so grateful. I’d see some of my friends’ mothers and quietly thank my lucky stars. I’m glad you, your mother and daughter are working on things and hope you all reach a peaceful and happy place. XO

  7. A wonderful story and perfect for Mother’s Day! You are lucky indeed in many, many ways and those of us who know you are also very lucky to have your knowledge and unlimited enthusiasm for what you do and share. Thank you for being in our world. Happy, Happy Mother’s Day to you and your mother and ALL mothers who read your posts.

    • Thank you, Suzanne, what a lovely thing to say! I was just thinking about you the other day (I walked my dog by your home but it looked like no one was home) and hope you’re both doing well. I hope you have a beautiful day today – take care! XO

  8. How lucky to have such a wonderful mother…my mother did not come close but she did the best that she could and now that I am 70 and she is gone I miss her every day. Treasure your gift.

    • It’s so nice that you’ve come to a point of acceptance, realizing she did the best she could and am sorry you miss her every day. I have no doubt it’s got to be hard, especially on days like this. Thank you.