Because all gardening is local


It’s all my mother’s fault!

When I was four years old, my mother handed me two packets of seeds and pointed to a row in the garden.

“That’s your own row now. You can plant your seeds there just like I do.”

The pictures on the packages made their contents plain. The one held radish seed. I was sophisticated enough, having watched her do gardening, to realize that you had to put the seeds in the ground and wait for them to grow.

I liked radishes, so that was a hit with me. The second one had a picture of a pretty blue flower on it. I didn’t want to do flowers. I wanted things to eat.

But my mother insisted. “These are bachelor buttons. You are a bachelor, so they are appropriate for you to grow.”

Bumble bee on Bachelor Button

Bumble bee on Bachelor Button

I had no idea what she was talking about; her wry humor was not apparent to me until years later. But I guess she impressed me with her big words and I went along with her.

She helped me, of course. I learned to hand weed, to hoe, to water the plants – all the sorts of things that gardeners do. Both radishes and bachelor buttons were failsafe, and they did well.

The next year I got a bigger section and more responsibility. She gave me some tomato plants, and ever since then, gardening has been mostly about tomatoes.  I soon acquired the habit of carrying a salt shaker to the garden with me during tomato season.

I don’t recall ever growing any flowers again until my “mature” years.

I began planting flowers around and among my veggies when I retired. I was looking for beauty, but moreso for plants for the bees and for biodiversity.

Then, I planted some bachelor buttons. As they came into bloom, and I (and the bees) enjoyed their beauty, I began to be immersed in the memory of those bygone years with my late Mama.

She knew, of course that she’d infected me with the gardening bug; that was pretty obvious.

But I wish I could tell her now, how special and beautiful was that row of bachelor buttons!

3 Responses to “It’s all my mother’s fault!”

  1. June 9th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Susan says:

    That is an awesome story! I remember sitting on the back porch with
    my mom and a few other ladies breaking beans, shucking corn or
    stripping greens. I loved to hear them talk and carry on with each
    other. The other day I sat my own granddaughter in a chair and said
    Olivia, let me show you how to shuck some corn. She hard a blast,
    and so did I.

  2. July 17th, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Speedymarie says:

    That was a lovely story. I have fond memories of gardening with both my parents and I have been doing the same for my little one. She loves shelling peas which makes us both happy!

    I also appreciate bachelor buttons- I used them at my wedding and they remind me of my grandmother who loved blue flowers-that other people gardened. :)

  3. July 27th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Robert says:

    This is an excellent Garden Blog and I would like to exchange Links with you. You may see my blog at I average this summer about 1300 to 1400 visitors a month. Small but at least respectable. I have already put a link to your site regardless if you reciprocate or not.


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