My Mother’s Garden

A redhead with two green thumbs?

Born and raised in New York City, a feisty redhead sprung into action the day after tulips and daffodils poked their heads up after a long winter’s slumber. Small welcoming patches of color bordered sidewalks along our street. The hard as a rock soil didn’t deter her. She jumped at the first opportunity to plant a few fragrant roses before we waved goodbye to the city and said hello to summer in the Catskills. Many stories linger in my heart and mind. They’re rooted deep in my soul, like glorious mountain sunrises, and of course, my mother’s garden.

River rocks and Hollyhocks

With smooth hands that denied she’d spent more than a minute digging in the dirt, she worked her magic. Her slender fingers, the perfect backdrop for nail polish or diamond rings. I remember how my sister and I helped my dad gather river rocks from a nearby stream to outline several flowerbeds for my mother’s garden. She claimed not to be creative but managed to create a masterpiece plot filled with pastel patches of what I could only describe as heaven on earth. My mother loved pink and white begonias, hollyhocks, orange speckled tiger lilies, petunias, and the irresistible multicolored pansy. I loved flowers, and everything summer—like swimming in frigid waterfall pools, building forts in the woods, collecting rocks, or riding friends on my bicycle handlebars or back fender. Memories and tall tales still mingle with my dreams and greet me in the morning.

Sunflowers, tomatoes, and childhood memories

Warm winds blew. Lavender roses, blue snowball hydrangeas, and yellow sunflowers lifted their heads and smiled at the sun. When the weather changed, my mother’s garden did too. She called on my sister and me to help with seasonal chores. We deadheaded petunias, pruned roses, and raked huge piles of leaves. Dad and my ancient-looking Italian grandpa tended the 12X12 vegetable garden teeming with beefsteak tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and zucchini. While I always say mom introduced me to the love of gardening—it was a way of life for my entire family. Together, we created random sized patches of heaven on earth. Those were precious moments that shaped me into the garden girl I am today.

Mom didn’t play with my pet turtle, Tommy, or my Barbie dolls, but whenever we dug in the dirt together, she shared the innermost parts of a mother’s soul. One day, while planting, I watched her wipe tears from her eyes. “They help the flowers grow,” she said. And I believed her.

Mother’s Day in a daughter’s garden

I’ve inherited her love of gardening. My husband and sons don’t share in that love as much as I do, but over the years they’ve constructed arbors and forts, and with my design and instruction, they created vegetable and rose gardens. After many years of laughter and tears, these labors of love are the best Mother’s Day gifts I’ve ever received.

I REMEMBER ~
Remember her life when you see a flower. Each petal, a reminder of every sacrifice and every tear she shed for you. All the colors that she displayed bloomed into faith and unconditional love. Leaving all who touched her . . . memories of endless summer.

Joann Claypoole

Poetry I wrote and originally posted on August 23,2009 at http://www.joannclaypoole.wordpress.com

Sowing seeds with an eternal purpose

My mother told me there would be a day with no more tears, pain, or fears. Today, I live in that hope, and I share it with others. I look forward to the day when I will see Jesus face to face, and I hug my mother and father again. We live in a fallen world where half-truths and lies read like truth. There are days when it’s harder than others to hold on to hope. We miss our loved ones. Have you ever let your mind see a brand new day? A day with no more suffering? And amazing flowers, mountains, and streams everywhere? Until that blessed moment in time, let’s trust in what we can’t see. After all, a spoonful of blind faith might help us believe in undeserved miracles.

I want to be thankful for yesterday’s joys, sorrows, and scars. With a humble heart, I hope to share about God’s gift of grace and how He delivered us from ourselves. Without His unconditional love, I wouldn’t stand on His word with such confidence. So, my friends, as Mother’s Day draws near, let’s embrace all the memories that flood our minds and water our gardens. For it’s not only the laughter but the tears, that guide us to become who we’re meant to be.

Don’t forget to join the conversation in the comments section below this post, or share it with your friends. I’d love to hear your stories about your mom.

*Feature image by Jill Wellington on Pixabay

Love and hugs ~ Joann

Happy Mother’s Day.

Joann Claypoole

Joann Claypoole is an author, speaker, master stylist/colorist, and former spa-girl entrepreneur. She's a wife, mother of four sons, “Numi” to four grandbabies, doggie-mom of two. The award-winning author of The Gardener’s Helper’s (ages 5-9 MJ Publishing2015) would rather be writing, hiking in the mountains, or inviting deer and other wildlife to stay for dinner near her western NC writing retreat. Visit her website: joannclaypoole.com and WordPress blog: https://joannclaypoole.wordpress.com/

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4 comments

  1. Joann – you did it! This is really good. I’m forwarding it on to both of my girls. Love, Doris

  2. Dear sweet friend,
    These nostalgic reflections and tender childhood memories help me better understand your love for gardening. Although your mom isn’t with you here on earth anymore, you feel close to her as you dig, plant, and watch your flowers grow and bloom. No wonder your flower gardens are so beautiful. You labor in love knowing she may well be watching you as you implement what she inspired you to do. As the song goes, “Precious memories, how they linger. How they ever flood my soul.”

    Much love dear friend,
    Vickie

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