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Gardening on Mother’s Day, and other Travels with Mom

The nautical look.

The nautical look.

My mother was very well organized, and we all knew what that meant on Mother’s Day. Plant the garden. Never, the rule went, plant before Mother’s Day because, sure as shootin’, if you did, you’d lose all those fragile young plants to an overnight freeze. This was St. Cloud, Minnesota, after all, and both my parents were born there. So they knew.

Zinneas in back, snap dragons in the middle, and marigolds in front. That’s the section I worked on. Mom lined up the seedlings and marked the spaces evenly with a little scratch at the dirt. My job was to follow behind with a trowel, scoop out a little dirt, drop the plant in, and press the dirt back in, enough to support the stem. My Dad’s job was to plant geraniums and petunias in the window box, and more geraniums along the back yard fence. We always had a lot of red geraniums, and I wondered how there were any left at the store. After flower duty, Dad could focus on his real passion: tomatoes.

Mom followed behind and watered everything as she inspected our work. She was also the chief pincher of dead blossoms, not so much a job as a summer-long pastime, like hanging the laundry outside. I learned to love weeding the garden, careful to pull out the weeds and not the flowers. It was easy to see my progress, and refreshing to get caught in the sprinkler afterwards.

For Mother’s Day, fellow blogger Catherine Sweeney posted a round-up of essays, including mine, on travels with our moms. I hope you enjoy these vignettes and the memories they bring to you.


6 Responses to “Gardening on Mother’s Day, and other Travels with Mom”

  1. You crack me up….

    Posted by Rkc | May 10, 2014, 10:59 pm
  2. I see the geraniums and can imagine the orderliness of it all. I just want to know if Eric did his job or was he pulling out the flowers instead of the weeds. He had a way of doing that in my garden. 🙂

    Posted by hellfireraku bonnie henning | May 15, 2014, 5:36 pm
    • Haha, Bonnie, I imagine that was a result of his attack approach to gardening. I do know that we broke off many geranium flowers over the summer, playing in the back yard. We’d usually prop the stems up in the plant so it would look like they were just fine. Deceit-R-Us!

      Posted by khenning | May 16, 2014, 12:51 pm
  3. Beautiful picture! I enjoyed your story! It made me think about my parents’ house and our garden! Thank you!

    Posted by Mary Preston | October 24, 2014, 4:10 pm
    • Thanks, Mary! I’ve been on the move and didn’t see your comment right away. While leading the nomadic life, one of the things I miss the most about home is poking around the garden! And my hometown of Minneapolis, MN (based on photos posted by my friends), had an outrageously beautiful autumn.

      Posted by khenning | November 2, 2014, 11:15 pm
  4. You have to visit your hometown! It’s important for your family story!

    Posted by Mary Preston | November 6, 2014, 6:50 pm

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