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Sunday, May 11, 2008

For My Mom

Let me tell you a story. It's a gardening story about my mother and a little about me. My mother never in her 83 years of living tried to give anyone the impression that she liked gardening. She didn't like the hot sun and wasn't the least bit interested in sweating. She was city girl through and through. She loved air conditioning more than fresh air.

My mom moved to a retirement community last year. She loved it; made new friends and participated in most activities. She became part of a group of women called the Fun-shine Group. They were so popular the other residents wanted to sit with them. The tables were set up for four, but they always managed to squeeze in a few more chairs. She proudly told me about how the dining room staff had a special sign made just for their table. I think it said, "The Fun Shine Girls shine here. "

My mom was having a ball. Many times she would be too busy to talk to us. We learned never to call on Friday afternoons....that was Happy Hour in the lounge! We were tickled pink. She was blossoming.



The Fun-Shine Girls...Momma is the cute one in red.


I have no idea how she came to agree to help her good friends Jeri and Judy clean up the Rose beds, but she did. The grounds were lovely, but the roses were looking poorly. Someone organized the day and got everyone gloves and tools. Imagine my surprise, my mom in a garden.

I didn't hear from her that evening, but called the next day in eager anticipation to hear how she had faired at gardening! She told me all about it. How they cleaned out the old canes, weeded the beds and even how long it took. This was a total surprise, I thought my mom would be complaining to me about how bad it was, hating every moment of being in the sun, getting hot and dirty. But not one complaint from her! You can't imagine how excited I was to hear this tale; finally my mom and I would share an interest in gardening. I was off and running with fantasies of garden visits. I was so delighted. "Mom" I said, "so tell me, did you have a good time? Did you enjoy gardening?" "You've got to be kidding" she said, "I hated every minute of it! All the volunteers decided it was too hot and quit and Jeri and I were stuck cleaning the mess out all by ourselves." "You mean you didn't like any of it?" "Absolutely, not!" she replied. My balloon was burst, we weren't going to be bonding over the garden fence.

She supported her friend with out complaining or leaving her to finish alone. She was classy.

Nothing changed her opinion about gardening. She marveled at how much I loved to garden and how many plants I had stuffed into my yard. She told me that there was one plant she loved, it was the Hollyhock. They must have been special for her to even know the name of a garden plant! I planted them for her, but they haven't ever flowered.

This morning I went to the nurseries to see if anyone had Hollyhocks for sale. I suspect my mother liked the old fashioned single Hollyhocks that were around when she was younger. The pretty pinks, yellows and reds. Garden centers don't seem to carry them anymore. I'm going to look for plants or seeds. Maybe I can get them growing here and we can look at them and know she would have loved looking at them....from the house!

Gail

30 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing about your mom. Have a great Mother's Day!

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  2. What a sweet and funny story! I can relate to your mom in terms of cooking--I sometimes manage to do some but I always hate it! Hollyhocks are one of my favorite flowers as well. Anyway, despite the gardening bug, your mom seems to have a lot of fun activities she enjoys and that keep her busy--good for her! (Sorry if that was past tense... I couldn't tell.)
    ~ Monica

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  3. What a lovely post and tribute to your mom. She sounds like a wonderful woman. I hope you find those hollyhocks. I'm sure they'll flourish since you'll be planting them with all of your love for your mother. Happy Mother's Day!

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  4. Good morning and Happy Mother's Day Gail. You have been on my mind all morning as I know it will be a hard day for you but you managed to pull off a great post, that brought tears to my eyes.

    When you least expect those Hollyhocks will be there for you!!

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  5. Tina,

    You, too Tina....thank you for always being here!

    Gail

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  6. garden faeie,

    Thank you... I am sorry, it is kind of confusing, my mom passes away last month and I sometimes tell her stories as if she is still here..BUT do not feel bad, I confused you!


    gail

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  7. cinj,

    You are a sweetie pie...I hope you're having a splendid day with your family.

    Gail

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  8. jean,

    Thank you, dear...Tina is so fortunate to have you as her momma! Your thoughtfulness is always appreciated and thank you for the Mother's Day Card; it's so cool!

    gail

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  9. Gail, what a lovely tribute to your mom, and a lovely idea planting a hollyhock in her honor. My thoughts are with you on this first Mother's Day without her.

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  10. Thanks, that's a really neat story abut your mom.

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  11. garden girl, Oh thank you, you know it turned out to be a pretty good day...I met with a group of women I hadn't seen in a long time and we all celebrated the day together.

    I certainly hope the Hollyhocks will take to C&L.

    Hoping this was a good day for you!

    gail

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  12. Herself,

    My mom cracked me up...she was so funny at times. I am glad you like the story! How did you spend the day?

    gail

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  13. My mom loved Gardenia bushes. I planted one at the old house and need to put one here too. It is nice to have a living memory of them around. I've seen some Hollyhock seeds at the Botanical Seed Company on my site. I'll go see if that's where I saw them. I've ordered from them and love their stuff. I know they take one year to grow and then bloom the second year. I hope you find some. Hugs to ya.

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  14. Thanks Anna,

    I love Gardenia and every time I see one I must stop and enjoy their heady fragrance.

    Hopefully I will get them to grow and thank you for checking I love ordering seeds.

    Gail

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  15. The gardening bug can't infect everyone since we are all different but it sounds like your mom had a fiery personality! It's stories like this that help you to remember her. Happy Mother's Day!

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  16. Dave,

    I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating with your beautiful family! Thank you,

    gail

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  17. When we talk about our parents the funny stories seem to be the ones we remember the longest! I liked reading this one about your mother, Gail - and bet those friends at the retirement home miss her sense of humor, too.

    Good luck with finding and growing the Hollyhocks!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  18. Gail, I'm positive you'd want to have the hollyhocks. Keep looking - they're returning "in favor." Probably because so many of us remember them.

    Do you know that your mom's "stick-to-it-iveness" is an important key in gardening? Perhaps she enjoyed it more than you think. Especially when she was gardening with a friend. :-)

    Best wishes - have a great day!

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  19. This is a warm and wonderful glimpse of your Mom -- thanks for sharing it with us. :)

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  20. annie,

    More of the stories are being remembered by all of us! She really was a funny woman and had a wicked sense of humor!

    I am seeing Hollyhocks everywhere on line so I will be able to get them!

    Gail

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  21. shady, I was telling annie in austin that I am seeing them every where so I know the ones she loved are out there.

    Well, I would love to believe she was into gardening but she really did prefer a/c to fresh air!

    Thanks Shady,

    Gail

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  22. nancy,

    Thank you...she still cracks me up thinking about her! I miss her deeply, of course, but she would appreciate the laughter.

    gail

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  23. Hi Gail, this was a wonderful tale of your mother's gardening adventure. Hollyhocks were played with by young girls who made dolls with them, the flower was the ballerina skirt. Do you think maybe that was their appeal for her? They are easy to grow from seed, just a mixed packet will be fine. Sow them in fall, they will germinate then and winter over with evergreen foliage, then start blooming the next year. Some are best treated as biennials as the japanese beetles are very drawn to them and make lacework out of the leaves. Good luck with them and Happy belated Mother's Day.
    Frances

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  24. What a great story and a lovely memory of your mom. I hope you can find those hollyhocks so you can chuckle at the memory of your mom in the rose bed whenever they bloom.

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  25. Frances,

    I have luck in locating the seeds of what I think are the flowers she remembered. I am buying many packets and giving them to my sisters and other family friends. It makes me smile...

    Thanks for the instructions for sowing the seeds; so far the plants I planted (2 years ago) have made lovely greenery and nothing else. This has been a banner year for flowering so maybe they will surprise me!

    Gail

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  26. Bonnie,

    I have found them. How was your Mother's Day?

    Gail

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  27. Gail, thanks for sharing your mom's gardening adventure ... reminds me of my late friend MB, who much preferred the beauty of a garden from the comfort of her air-conditioned sunroom. I really love that picture of the FunShine Girls. It says a lot about your mom's zest for life and sense of humor, qualities which you've obviously inherited.

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  28. cindy,

    Thank you, I would like to think I have a decent sense of humor and zest for life.
    How are you doing?

    Glad you stopped by. How are you doing?

    Gail

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  29. What a great story about your mom, Gail. She sounds like a lady who loved life and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I'm sure she was a good friend and a wonderful mother.

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  30. Loved the story about your mom, what a great memory. I saw some hollyhocks for sale today, and thought of you and how you are looking for them.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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