The Flower Girl

flowers-and-plants-498597-m“You’ll find an old peanut can in the garage, use it to measure the dirt.” …were my mother’s instructions to me. Sure enough, I found the peanut can, circa 1966 or so. No other can would be as precise. My mom is into precise.

Summer after summer my whole life, my mom has carefully planted her flowers in June. Annuals. Never in the ground, always in pots. She loves this ritual. Summer after summer my whole life I have never participated in this event until last week.

I was too busy, she was too picky and at this season in both of our lives, I realized it was time to finally be an apprentice to my mom’s version of master gardening.

Don’t get me wrong, I always display flowers on my patio too but my method is more or less to wait until the last-minute to purchase them when they are mostly wilted (and greatly reduced) and then to stuff them in pots and “hope for the best.” No vintage peanut cans involved.

“You start with a spike in the middle…” I observed her carefully placing that spike like it was the crown jewels. I was antsy already but hung on for the next step. “Place the begonias like this…” as her alignment seemed impeccable. My role was still measuring the dirt and watching carefully. I thought we would be done in about 10 minutes, it took nearly 60.

A few begonia plants were left and she suggested I take them home (on the 4 ½ hour train ride!) to make my own planters. So I did, hoping the touch of my mother on those plants would cause them to thrive. A few days later I got around to planting them.

I forgot to buy the spikes, didn’t measure any dirt, but tried to do the careful placement. We’ll see what happens.


Me and my Mom with her mother’s flowers.

Like with a lot of things, I wish I had paid more attention earlier. At nearly 89, there are no longer decades left to catch me up to all my mom’s life-skills I always took for granted. Sometimes it is the little steps that make all the difference. Let me know if you have an old peanut can to spare.

Hope for the best,


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2 Responses to “The Flower Girl”

  1. 1 Linda Sylvester June 22, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    Precious memory and beautiful flowers!

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