One Foot

One Foot

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Be As A Child

          The seed catalogs are coming in the mail this month and they continue to tempt me as much as they did my farm-bound mother years ago.  My mother was like a child awaiting Christmas when spring beckoned.  Her early poverty suppressed her need for luxuries.  When her love of flowers was unleashed in later years, it coincided with the development of supermarket garden centers.  She was a child granted her best wish. 

           There was an area of the yard where she liked to sit, so her garden design was determined by line-of-sight.   If she found a plant with a striking flower, she bought it and placed it, not where it should grow, but where she could see it.  She often proved garden instinct wrong; shade plants thrived for her in full sun; sun plants did well in shade.  They survived because she loved and tended them devotedly.  She was a rare soul who truly looked at her garden.  She drew up a lawn chair and sat right in front of the flowers and took them in.

          One spring, in the interest of expanding her small shrubs and roses, Mom placed a large catalog mail order.  Planting day was brisk, bordering on unpleasant and she had already dug dozens of holes, was soaking some bare root shrubs, and had planted several before my son and I arrived to help.  She had worked hours already on her project.

          My son was the muscle and horticultural expert.  As we divided the labor, my son gave a questionable sniff to the buckets where shrubs were being soaked before planting.

          “Grandma,” he sniffed cautiously, “what are you soaking these shrubs in?”

          “Water with root stimulator,” she responded.  Already he had the bottle at eye level and read “weed killer” aloud.  Her failing vision had missed the distinction of labels.

          We were a sad family that day as we pulled every planted shrub, washed each in fresh water and dug new holes.  She was deeply disappointed in her mistake, but we pretended that we had caught it in time. 

          The results were dismal as we waited for life to show in those shrubs, but her optimism was contagious and we soon shared her hope and celebrated those that did survive. 

          How can you not love someone who so genuinely loves a flower?  Is this not one of the first things a small child finds to admire as he softly holds a bloom up to be sniffed by a parent?  It is one of the first moments of wonder of our lives.  Mom’s wonder simply lasted a lifetime.

          A small plaque in her garden expressed how she felt –

“One is closer to God in a garden than any place else on earth.” 

She lived that belief.



  1. What a wonderful tribute to a remarkable lady! Isn't it interesting how calamity sometimes produces the best stories? Glad yours had a happy ending.

  2. This post made me smile. I can imagine the day of planting with your mom. Since man's first home was a garden, I am certain that the saying on the plaque in your mom's garden is the truth!