Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hi Ma

There isn't much I can look at in my garden that doesn't remind me of my mom.

From the asparagus, rhubarb, black currants and raspberries that she tended and we sold as kids at our little stand on Hwy 6 in Flamborough.  Her herb garden with it's mix of the usual and unusual.... horehound, sweet cicely, rosemary.

The flowers. Peonies, lilies and her beloved rhododendrons.

My mom grew it all....heartnuts, walnuts, osage oranges.  Ground cherries, tomatillos, heirloom tomatoes.  A new old favourite I introduced to her, Cuban Yellow Grape.

She had many of her own horticultural adventures.  She volunteered at the Royal Botanical Gardens for a good 40 years.

She was a compulsive seed collector, cutting taker and volunteer seedling collector.  I have chestnut trees she started from chestnuts she found on her walks, maple trees from seedlings she found growing and unloved.

We had our horticultural adventures together too.

In the fall we faithfully made the trip to the fantastic Guelph Arboretum for the sale of unusual plants and trees.  In February, up to William Dam Seeds in Flamborough to check out the seed selection for the upcoming season.

We went to Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa to be a part of their annual convention and wander their seed saving gardens.

Our biggest horticultural adventure together was her decision to move closer to me to help in the gardens after my dad passed away.  Planting in the cold weather, transplanting, writing tags, harvesting in the rain... if the weather was good enough for me to work, my mom worked too.

I have been thinking about my mom a whole lot today.  It has been exactly three years today that she passed away of breast cancer.

Sometimes I have the urge to pick up the phone and say as I always have "Hi Ma". If only I could.

My mom like all people was far from being uni-dimensional.  But after her diagnosis of terminal cancer, it was the garden that gave her optimism and kept her going.  She was not ever one to wallow in pity or to be fussed over.  She was thoroughly annoyed when she was assigned a visiting nurse who stopped in twice a week.  The nurse soon learned that mom wasn't coming in from the garden to talk to her.  The nurse would have to meet with her in the garden.

And as long as she could, she stayed in her garden,watching seed grow and believing in life.

Miss you, mom.


Buttons said...

I am so glad that the gardens bring you such great memories of your Mom. This is a lovely tribute to her memory.Take care.

Linda said...

Thanks Buttons. I couldn't let the day pass without writing about her. She was, and is still, inspirational.