Rachel's Table

Mini-Garden for Mom

My mom’s a funny one. I received an email from her this week stating, “Don’t buy me anything for Mother’s Day, just give me a radish from your garden.” Last year, she wanted cucumber salad. And the year before that, she said nothing more than a Norah Jones CD was acceptable “in this economy.”

I usually listen to my mother, but not when it comes to gift giving. Her shunning of gifts makes me think extra hard about that elusive perfect gift. As I contemplated this Mother’s Day, my thoughts meandered to the radish request and gardening. Growing up, my mother’s family owned a grocery store and had a large garden. My mother remembers her mother waking everyone up in the middle of the night to cover plants with plastic in hopes of saving them from frost.

A picture of a picture – my Mom’s Mom

She also remembers taking peonies and homemade candy apples to the local outdoor market and selling them, all day. As a result of this childhood toil, my mom was never much of a gardener. She did enough of it when she was younger, so why garden when she could choose not to? Even so, Mom is entranced by my tiny garden. The radishes, spinach and beets faring so nicely in their little garden home–she’s amazed by their progress.

So my mom is getting a mini-garden for Mother’s Day. Now she can be amazed when her own little potted plants grow and grow. Her front steps are covered with flowering containers, so adding a pretty garden in a pot won’t be a chore for her to maintain. I was at Harvest Market yesterday and saw their lovely assortment of locally grown plants and herbs out front. My mom loves Boston lettuce and chives, so I started there. Inspired by the pre-made basket gardens for sale, I also chose a pretty flower called Carpet of Snow and some lemon basil (so fragrant!).

Now I needed some pretty pots. I crossed the street to Richardson’s Garden Center and found just what I needed along with some potting soil.

Step One: Buy pretty pots

At home on my deck, in went the dirt followed by the plants. I overbought, so I even have some left over for my own containers.

Step Two: Buy lovely plants fit for a queen

Step Three: Fill pots with good dirt

Step Four: Transplant plants to the dirt lovingly and carefully

Step Five: Water the tiny plants well

I hardly think this mini-garden will repay Mom for her years of hug-giving, tear-washing, advice-sharing, prayer-whispering, lesson-teaching and ache-soothing, but I hope she likes it just the same.

Here’s to you, Mom! My first friend and now a fellow gardener!

A favorite photo: my beautiful mother and I posing while my dad makes faces in the background. Pretty typical scenario. Love you too, Dad!


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