In her later years, when gardening became too difficult, her small back porch became her garden. It was a small ... just big enough for a couple of chairs. That was her world of cool breezes in the summer heat and the joy of flowers blooming on her porch. When I stopped by to see her, I would often find her on the back porch rocking in her chair, reading a book, or just admiring the beautiful flowers
Her porch was surrounded by a wooden railing that she topped with narrow flower boxes. There she would put her green thumb to work. Every year we would head out to the nursery to buy flowers for her porch garden. We would walk the aisles with our cart and she would choose her flowers to plant ... begonias, impatience, lantanas.
She would also get baskets of flowers and hang them from the roof of her porch ... bleeding hearts, vines, geraniums.
As the years went by, it got harder for her to fill the pots with soil and plant her flowers. We were there to help her. She would direct us, like the expert gardener she was. We would mix the soil, fill the pots, and carefully place each new plant in its place.
As her mobility wavered, she had a ramp built off the back porch. She expanded her garden and lined the outside of the ramp with standing pots with more beautiful flowers.
I cannot remember my mom without flowers.
The summer she passed away, she spent most of her time in the hospital. She had just finished her porch garden before her first stay in the hospital. When I came to see her, I would tell her how beautiful they were. Because I live out of town, that summer I stayed at my mom's house so I could easily make trips to the hospital to see her each day and, of course, care for her garden. When I went to see her, she would say how much she missed her flowers. Sometimes I would snip a few blossoms and bring them in a small vase to her hospital room.
One day, I decided that I needed to take pictures of her flowers so she could see them for herself. I snapped away with my camera trying to capture the beauty she so missed. I couldn't wait to get the pictures printed. I placed the pictures in clear acrylic frames and brought them to her hospital room. She smiled like I had never seen her smile and she sighed over how much she missed them. But when anyone walked in her room, she would proudly show them her precious flowers.
She didn't make it through that summer. It was heartbreaking that she never made it back home to sit on her porch and enjoy her flowers. When we closed her casket, we slipped those pictures in with her so she could admire them in heaven. Not sure if there are flowers in heaven, but if there are she is planting them and making the place beautiful.
I planted 80 bulbs last fall. Crocuses, daffodils, and tulips. I am waiting patiently for them to break through the mulch and announce spring. And with each blossom, I will remember mom.