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!