As the Mother's Day gifts and cards appear in the stores, I've been pondering the link between mothers, Mother's Day and gardening. Maybe it is just the time of year, or maybe it is the connection between nurturing children and growing a garden, but spending the weekend celebrating motherhood and digging in the dirt seems a natural fit. And, as far as I am concerned, gifts related to growing, blooming, beautiful things are perfect for any Mom.
We give my own mom a container garden for her front steps every year. Truth be told, it was my husband's idea originally, and it just goes to show why I married him. It is really a perfect gift for her -- she waters and feeds and fusses over it all summer, and watches it grow into its true beauty. Its very presence on at her front door reminds her of our love and admiration for her, and we love knowing that every time she returns home there is something pretty to greet her. It has boosted my husband safely into "most-favored-son-in-law" status, and he thinks it is a fitting tribute to the woman who blesses our children with her zeal for life and endless enthusiasm for her grandchildren.
For me, I like to receive a stunning arrangement as much as the next girl and, as I already said, Mother's Day gifts are best when they are related to blooming and beautiful things, but I really like to spend the day planting a garden.
Over the years we've developed a nice tradition of heading to McArdle's on the day before Mother's Day to pick out plants for my vegetable and herb garden. On the Big Day itself, we pull on new garden gloves and head outside. There is a peace that comes in watching my children prepare the soil, and tenderly plant lettuce, peas, beans and beets. Some of our herbs are back, so we groom the chives and mint and plant the annual herbs as well. My rhubarb will be almost ready for the first pie, and the strawberries will be full of blossoms. The kids weed and mulch and invent new ways to keep the birds from stealing all our blueberries and raspberries.
The days are gone when my kids bumbled and tumbled through the garden. They are becoming men and women, with capable hands, strong backs and artistic flair all their own. Maybe it is because they are nearly grown now that it is so sweet to work with them planting fragile new life. Together we nurture, protect, nourish and encourage growth in something that becomes infinitely more beautiful than we had dared imagine.