Fast-forward 25 or 30 years: guess whose favorite places are plant nurseries? (Well, along with coffee shops and bookstores, and come to think of it, my mom introduced me to both coffee and books, too.) Though a few decades elapsed before my plant obsession took hold (though there were warning signs in the form of dalliances with bonsais and jade plants), I fully attribute it to my mom.
When I was growing up, we lived in a number of different places, and each is marked in my memory by the plants my mom tended there: the sunflowers she grew in Dallas, the olive tree that exasperated her in Sacramento, her gorgeous tomato garden in Tracy. I also remember her mom's amazing tiered garden, which I think of whenever I catch the intoxicating scent of mint plants in the summer sun.
Some of my fondest memories entail talking to my mom in the yard while she weeded or watered or planted. I only wish I had imbibed more of her expertise when I was younger so that I wouldn't have so much catching up to do now. She is also an expert at plant identification. Two days ago, I texted her a picture of a strange flower I liked. She didn't know it, but googled and managed to ID it shortly after I had given up (osteospermum "flower power," in case anyone's interested).
On Mother's Day, of course, I'm thinking about my mom (and I'm super excited, because she's coming to visit me in my new Zone 5 abode soon!). I'm also thinking about my wife's mom, who passed away a few years ago, and who also loved gardening. Today we bought a plant in my wife's mom's honor--one she used to keep in her garden (I can't remember the name--I'm terrible with non-succulents), and I'm looking forward to making it part of our garden tomorrow.
In addition to wishing you all a happy Mother's Day, I want to share some pictures I took two months ago on a trip to southern California. It was one of the saddest and happiest trips I have ever taken. We were there for my paternal grandmother's funeral. She exited this world far before I thought she would, and I think about her every day. After the funeral, my mom and I spent a couple days together--just the two of us, which we hadn't done in ages. We chose Manhattan Beach and had so much fun. When we weren't in pursuit of coffee or books or red wine or looking at open houses or eating sushi, we were obsessing over the magnificent Manhattan Beach succulent scene.
I couldn't believe the variety and vigor of plants growing in people's yards! Observe, e.g.:
I love you, Mom!!