Love blooms in the garden | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | May 15, 2014

I had a lovely Mother’s Day. Directly following church Sunday, I drove to West Seattle for brunch with my daughter and family. After homemade quiche, we visited on the sunny deck.

In a couple of hours, Adam and Abby and I waved their parents off on a bike ride and settled into an idyllic afternoon of playing, gardening, snacking, talking, cooking, running, laughing and generally having the sort of day any grandparent would cherish.

Our favorite activity of the day began when we unloaded a box of plants I kept in the trunk of my car until the children’s mother left on her bike. Even before she rode down the driveway, Adam and I did a fair amount of whispering about the plan I suggested. He could scarcely wait until his parents were out of sight, so we could start our project – a Mother’s Day surprise for their mom to come home to.

Lisa inherited my pleasure in gardening. Unlike her mother, whose current gardening is confined to a 5x15-foot condo deck, she has front and back yards with space for flower beds, lots of perennials, plus quite a few pots of various sizes. Working full time, she feels frustrated at how difficult it is to manage to shop for plants – and to get them into the ground. I figured she would be pleased with whatever pot we chose to fill and with whichever flowers we planted.

Preparing the flower pot the children chose took a fair amount of time, as I wanted them to enjoy the process of deciding which plants should be planted where, digging holes deep enough to accommodate the root systems, placing the plants in the earth, replacing the soil around them – and taking pride in the colorful result. Some activities aren’t meant to be rushed – children’s introductory garden projects take lots of time.

Dirt flew. Water splashed. Hands, faces and clothing became grimy. After each choice of what to plant next, Adam and Abby set to their task of stuffing the chosen pot with blooms. A white dahlia. Lime green coleus. Sweet-faced purple pansies. The children took turns choosing a plant and placing it in the ground. I helped when they needed me; mostly, I watched and smiled.

After the plants were tucked into the pot, I gave Adam a packet of marigold seeds and let him plant them around the edges of the pot—way too many seed for the space available, but that’s OK. His first planting project of the season was two weeks ago, when his mother let him choose any seed from the display at the local hardware store. He chose miniature pumpkins, which by Mother’s Day were sprouting in their big tub in the back yard.

When Adam and Abby’s mother returned – after a 30-mile ride! – Adam rushed her to the front yard to show her the finished pot, bright with blossoms. She was delighted.

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