My sweet mother has been gone from her home on earth for more than forty years, but I still think of her every spring about this time. For several reasons: first my birthday is towards the last of April and that day years ago Mother gave me life. Also, even though she already had four living children and couldn’t afford another, she gave me love and nurturing. And, of course, Mother’s Day is coming up soon.
But more importantly, I think of Mother because spring is the planting season. Mother taught me the love of gardening and how to plant each seed, each bulb and each small, rooted plant. She showed me the way to clip cuttings from geraniums and roses and other plants to start new growth, thereby having a cheap way to multiply beautiful flowers and shrubs.
I recall the first day in early spring when I drove the few blocks to Mother’s house and together we spent the morning browsing in a nearby nursery looking to buy tomato plants. Mother reminded me my birthday would be soon and said she wanted to buy me a gift of flowers that were already in bloom, that I could plant in the yard. A lovely present that lasted all summer! I chose red salvia and a blue flower (I don’t recall the name). Usually I planted seeds and had to wait for blooms. The luxury of immediately having plants in bud or full bloom thrilled me.
When Mother’s Day arrived I gathered a pretty bouquet and presented them to Mother. And so the ritual between us was started. I am happy to say it continued for many happy years. Mother lived to be almost ninety-three and continued to garden on a small scale until about two years before her death.
To this day I enjoy digging in the dirt. It is difficult for me to stoop, so I have purchased large pots I can use outdoors. When spring comes each year I rejoice in the new life of the birds and I never fail to think of my mother and the joy she brought into my life with the love of gardening. I only hope she can look down and share the happiness with me this year. I am passing on the love she taught me to my great-grandson, and I think that as long as the earth stands and plants grow, my mother will not be forgotten.
In a few days I’ll say again this year, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mother. I LOVE YOU!”
~ Verna Simms