designed for the way women work.

vaccinating a dog

A Tribute to Mom Who Gave Me a Love of Gardening by Dorian Winslow

Category: Flower Gardens, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

[This is a story I published several years ago on Mother’s Day. My mom is now nearly 98 and is still enjoying her garden at her cottage in Salisbury, Connecticut where she lives with a companion, though she has hung up her garden gloves and tools.  The story speaks to a love of gardening instilled by someone we love.]

My mother is a vigorous lifelong gardener with a variety of gardens on her property in Sharon, CT in the northwestern corner of the state, and a small pond which provides a focal point behind the house. She also has a raised bed vegetable patch which produces broccoli, brussel sprouts,  lettuce, tomatoes and beans.  She finds that the rule in her garden is ‘one for me and one for the rabbits.’  Sometimes it’s two for the rabbits to her one.Mom_Screening_Compost

Recently I spent an afternoon gardening with my mother. When I got there she had her shovel deep in her compost bin.  Then she dropped the compost on a screen positioned over her wheelbarrow and began rubbing it through the screen.  The result was the most perfect soil I have ever seen.

When ambling through her gardens she points out the lavender that came from a friend, or the iris she transplanted from their former home in Weston, CT.  There’s one small plant I divided last season and gave to her, a chocolate-y heuchera caramel. In my garden half of the plants are from my mother’s garden, divided over the years and dropped in a pot or wrapped in wet newspaper for transporting to my garden.

It’s part of the fun and the ritual of gardening, sharing and recalling where our plants came from.  My mother’s sister in Minnesota has poppies that came from my great uncle’s garden in Emmetsburg, Iowa.  He died at the age of 97, over 30 years ago, but his poppies still live.  When we look at the poppies we think of Uncle Harold.  I have asked her to collect seeds for me so I can try propagating them in my garden.

I remember many years ago my grandmother showed me a somewhat tattered photo she had of her perennial garden, established along a high riverbank back in Iowa where my mother and her sister and brother grew up. Although the picture was in black and white I could tell my grandmother saw all the colors in her garden when she looked at it.  She loved looking at that picture.

Gardening is about the past, the present and the future—and the connections we make between them.  A love of gardening is a wonderful gift to pass on to others.  Thank you Mom, and Happy Mother’s Day!MomGarden8

[This story was first published for Horticulture in May 2012.]


7 thoughts on “A Tribute to Mom Who Gave Me a Love of Gardening by Dorian Winslow

  1. Susan Dollard says:

    My grandmother and my mom were avid gardeners. I shared their love of gardening and became a coordinator for the Master Garden program in my county. It enabled me to share my love of gardening with all the Master Gardeners I trained.

  2. Dear Dorian,

    I just love your mother! Though I haven’t lived in CT for almost 6 years now (hard to believe!), I remember Biz as though it were yesterday. Such a kind lady with her sparkling blue eyes, ready smile and an interest in those around her. And a good bridge player to boot! Please give her a hug for me and let her know I too wish her a Happy Mother’s Day!

    Warm regards,

    Wendy Summer

  3. Sandra Macdermott says:

    Nature and gardening is somewhere we can put our faith and trust in its inexorable quest to birth life from rich fertilizer, seeds with nourishing sun and watering.

    We are of the same stuff as flowers and trees. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and calcium,
    Nature is so much more powerful than we can possibly imagine; wonder, awe and gratitude are the emotions we feel when we are present. So on this Mother’s Day be inspired to start or expand your own love of gardening to your children, friends and community like Dorian’s Mom. Digging in your own rich soil and see the gifts your gardens produce does wonders for your soul!
    Dorian give a hug to your Mom the next time you are to together!
    Love to all the Mom’s ,

  4. Lenna hall says:

    Thank you for sharing yr mom’s passion for gardening & passing it on to u & yr readers. I especially remember wrapping starts of plants frm mom’s garden, wrapped in wet newspaper! And we rushed to plant them when we got home, 2 hrs later. Those were the days!!

  5. What a beautiful and suitable tribute to the wonderful Biz and to the meaningful delights of gardens composed from loving gifts.

  6. Thank you Sandi!

  7. Thank you so much Wendy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ok ask black house