The women of the Dunn staff: Carolyn, Quill, Beth, and myself, another Beth, drifted into a conversation about Mothers’ Day. It then drifted into a discussion about flowers that come to mind when thinking about our grandmothers and mothers. This was an unsurprising progression of topics since we work in a garden. Below we share our conversation and invite you to share something back with us.
Carolyn associates her grandmother with violets. Her grandma started with a few and let them grow around and around her home till they were a purple abundance. Carolyn’s grandmother was quite the gardener of large spaces as it turns out. When a strip of land in the middle of the family farm in Oregon was appropriated to build Highway 22, she grieved over the slash of road that intruded on the view from her house. Her response was one that gardeners’ can applaud; she planted daffodil bulbs between the highway and the farm fence and let them naturalize. They can be seen right to this day during spring. How is that for classy?
The tea rose, "Tropicana," with its voluptuous orange bloom was the flower of choice for Carolyn’s mother. One particular plant followed the family around in successive moves and is now in the home of Carolyn’s brother.
Quill has two particular memories. She indicated a pot of cheeky geums she had waiting for planting in the Dunn. “My mother grows those,” she said. “Hers were red. I have a picture of myself and my sister when we were toddlers sitting eye level with the blooms.” The other memory is of a crabapple tree Quill saw her mom plant. The two, tree and little girl, grew up and into the world together. In winter snows the red fruit of the Malus kohankie looked to her like Christmas ornaments.
Beth told us her mother favored anything yellow and that simplicity made us giggle.
My mother had a particular fondness for hydrangeas. I have memories of Mom constructing a hydrangea bouquet for a school event when I was eight. The nature of the event is now vague but those blue flowers massed in a bunch bigger than myself have not lost their magic for me.
Carnations were also favored in my mother's garden. Their botanical name of Dianthus caryophyllus means divine flower. Carnations come in any color, except blue, and each has a particular significance. My mother’s favorite was pink which means, happily, “I’ll never forget you.” As an aside, it turns out the blooms are edible and the plant easy to root. All you have to do is take a healthy non-flowering shoot, place around the edge of a pot and put in shade. The latter feature appealed to my frugal mother.
I’m sure we could have managed some more flower memories with a bit more time but we had enough at hand to make us smile. Now it is your turn to honor your mother with memories of the flowers she loved. Love to hear your stories too.