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.”
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!
This entry was posted on Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at 12:39 am and is filed under Garden philosophy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.