The Accidental Gardener or Amateur Botanist

As I sat on my deck resting after mowing the yard and now grilling a steak for dinner this evening a lot weighs on my mind, you see I lost my mom on this day 10 years ago. I was golfing with Mark Yager, Tod Gordon and Tom Kmak at Tom’s club Shadow Glenn. Mark, Tod and I were heading to Maryville after golf for a tournament the next day. We were on the ninth fairway and I decided that at 4:30 on this Friday the 23rd of June I could shut off my phone. As I reach for the phone it ringed, the lady on the other end of the call explained she was a social worker for the Cameron Hospital and wanted to know the last time I had spoken with my mother? The time was 4:31 and I’ll never forget it. I told her that we had talked the day before and asked her want was wrong? She explained that she had called 911 that afternoon and was having trouble breathing. When I asked how she was doing her reply was that I should get to the hospital as soon as I could! Its 98 miles from the course to Cameron or about 1 hr 38 min’s, I made it in just over an hour! The doctor told me that she was in a induced coma and was having congested heart failure, this was a shock to me for all of her ailments over the years she had never mention any heart related issues, but as we would find out over the next few days she had been seeing a cardiologist in St Joe.

After making the phone calls to my brother and two sisters I went to mom’s house to gets some rest, as I pulled into the drive I could see all the flats of plants and flowers lying around on the deck, I suddenly recall my last phone conversation with her, mom’s birthday was coming up on the 29th and for her birthday she said all she wanted was for me to come up this weekend and help her get catch up on her planting. We made plans for that Sunday to take on this (as she called it) small project. Now those who knew mom also knew that when it came to her flowers nothing was small! There was over 30 flats of flowers awaiting my help. Mom and I have had the talk many time of her buying habits on flowers, now I didn’t care if she spent all her retirement on flowers (as it turned out she almost did) but that she needed to limit herself to a few flats at a time because she never could get all of them into the ground or pots in time and always had a large number of plants wasted. I have been mom’s yard boy for a number of years and have installed 3 water gardens and planted over 5,000 tulips alone! These photos are a few of her yard.

I spent the next 12 days between the office, hospital and her yard, looking back I think I knew in my heart she was never coming home but I still felt I needed to get the yard in shape for her return. Mom passed on the 5th of July and I believe she waited till then knowing that my favorite holiday is the 4th and she didn’t want to ruin it for me. It was this time I spent in her flower gardens that I became “The Accidental Gardener or Amateur Botanist” I am today, all of my taste in my yard came from her, even some of my hostas are off shoots of hers. In fact a lot of the flowers at her funeral were plotted plants from her yard and we encouraged friends to take them home and transplant them in their own yards.

Now those of you who have seen my yard and praised me for it you now know how and way I take such pride in it, these are a few shoots of my yard this year.

After all it’s for her enjoyment too!   

 Stew

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