Our Lady of the Flowers.
When I was growing up, my mother planted flowers.
There were hills of sweet alyssum, larkspur of all colors,
towering sunflowers,sticky nicotianas, lantana bouquets,
and my favorite, the gomphrenas.
I insisted on calling those little globe amaranths "strawberries," and I'm positive that I never helped my mom plant or care for a single one of any of those dear plants. My memories are of us spending a lot of time outdoors, Mom sweaty with trowel in hand and me dancing gaily around her.
I was too busy poking things with sticks and singing in my pajamas.
But oh, how I enjoyed those flowers. She knew I did. We all did. They, along with the myriad other plants that filled our backyard gave a magical quality to my play, my understanding of the world--my entire childhood. Watching my mother catalog the timing of her okra and keep that somehow endlessly perennial mountain of parsley lush made an indelible impression on me.
It's not been lost on me that I found my way to farming only after a growing-up that included chickens, corn and canned goods in the closet, all in the suburbs.
Yet, I have to make my way back to those flowers. Mom, you really spoiled me there. I took for granted that playing fairy was easy with so many available daisy crowns, and that anywhere you looked you could find some beautiful living thing staring back at you, often with another beautiful living thing sharing it with you. Butterflies filled my world.
And so it is, with Mother's Day upon us and oh-so-many flowers bought and sold and chilled and shipped and doorstepped that I think of my mother as we reap our first harvest of flowers here at the farm.
We didn't time it this way---although it is brilliant that we'll have our first bunched ladies available on this most floral of days. The sunflowers, marigolds, celosia and zinnias just decided this was the time to pop. Nearly anytime I see groups of flowers I think of my mother, and this morning was certainly no exception.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, no matter if they give two hoots about flowers. You're our mothers---you're part of us.
And to my mom, know that the flowers will always be ours.