Gardening Tips from My Mom

I don’t feel like talking about much today.
I just keep looking out my window at my garden.

And remembering when my mom was in it just a few short weeks ago.

How she jumped straight into my jungle of weeds, dirt and veg, and made it seem perfect again.

I keep thinking about how she dug some holes and then threw in the fish carcasses, to help my garden thrive.

I keep thinking about how strong her hands are, veiny, with beautiful pink nails with white tips, not too long. Not too short. And how she still wears her high school ring with the deep blue stone on her ring finger.

I’m remembering how she just throws herself into the dirt. Never worrying that her knees might get dirty, or her hair might be a tangled mess. She just jumps in. Feet first. Full force. Task at hand. Mind and spirit in tune.

I can remember her mumbling to me, “Come here, Nicole. Now look. I’m cutting down the basil. It’s flowering. You need to cut it down into shorter bushes.”

And the peppers. “They’re not getting enough sun. Let’s move them over here.” As she gestures to me to help out. But I just take out my camera, and I snap, snap, snap away. Not helping her one bit. Because I want to remember this moment forever. Her in my garden. Light shining down. Sweat on her brow. Dirt on her knees. Beauty in it’s simplest form.

As she tugs on old vines, and replants new ones, tiny cherry tomatoes fall. She carves out a tiny hole for them and covers them up as if it’s a tiny vegetable burial ground. “Why are you doing that?” I lean closer.

“Oh. Maybe one day, it’ll come back for you. Maybe one day, it’ll grow into a plant with sweet juicy fruit.” She grunts, squatting and leaning over to pull another weed.

Eternally optimistic. She has the soul of a gardener. And the patience of whoever has a lot of patience.  I would have thrown that bad boy away, and called it a day.

By now it’s 3 weeks later. . . . . . and that darn cat has stolen 6 of the seven new tomato plants she sowed. There is one left, and of course, because it was touched by her it is thriving. Along with the other tomato plants that I could have sworn were dead. They weren’t. They just needed her. And now look at them. Giving me juicy fruit every few days.

And my hanging baskets that my mother religiously watered everyday, are shriveled up due to the heat, and not enough water.

“Remember to water the hanging baskets!”

Ooops. My bad.

But the squash that she planted, have grown by leaps and bounds, and they are flowering, no doubt benefiting from the fish guts she added to my soil.

My silly little girls are just awaiting for the cucumber plants that Nana helped me pick out, to flower and grow.

So today, I think I won’t write so much.
I think I’ll channel my mother and Neil Sperry and go stake my cucumbers.
And I’ll mark any seeds that I might plant (which I usually don’t do) with a stick I have lying around, so that when the seedling emerges I know it’s my veg, and not a weed.

Cukes. Grass clippings courtesy of Mr. Woo and his wacky weed eater. I know, I know. I should mulch.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email