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  • MJ Rodriguez

Mama loved her flowers


Mama loved her flowers. No matter where we lived or how busy she was (with cleaning, laundry, cooking, nursing, and teaching twelve children, of course she was busy), she planted flowers. From the time I remember, we always lived in rural areas, and she had room to plant gardens and flowers. Planting a garden was important because we ate what we raised, but her beautiful flowers were her heart.

At the first hint of spring, she was outside working, preparing the earth for her plants and looking for the first sight of green peeping through the ground. To her delight, yellow, purple and white crocus, bright golden jonquils, and purple wood hyacinth often appeared early enough to bloom through snow covered ground. Bright yellow forsythias and the red fire bush were among the first bloomers to bring color to the drab winter gray. Bulbs for spring blossoms were put into the ground in the fall to ensure spring tulips, lilies, irises and a variety of hyacinths and daffodil. Dahlias, cannas, begonias, and gladiolas along with many others were planted when the days were warm to create a kaleidoscopic vision around our yard.


After the danger of frost, Mom planted her annual seeds. A variety of zinnias, marigolds, cosmos (Dad’s favorite), periwinkle, bachelor buttons, bells of Ireland, and many other varieties grew in her flower gardens for the butterflies and birds to enjoy. Flowering shrubs such as the sweet- smelling lilac, flowering almond, crepe myrtle, and rose of Sharon bloomed every spring. She loved to raise a variety of roses and gave special care to the beautiful, aromatic blooms.


We enjoyed fresh cut bouquets on the family dining table and always wore corsages of red roses on Mother’s Day. One of my sisters dipped green bells of Ireland in wax, kept it in the refrigerator, and on Sundays wore it in her hair. It looked stunning in her brunette waves. Two of my favorite flowers were the bleeding heart and the sweet pea.


I’ve often wondered why Mom had to raise flowers. It takes a lot of work to maintain them, especially the large flower gardens she made. She put her heart and soul into loving God, loving her husband, raising her children, and in her flowers. Her life was not easy. It couldn’t have been easy to bear that many children and daily care for their needs. It wasn’t easy to sew their clothes, raise their food, nurse their illnesses, and be their counselor, lawyer, teacher and housekeeper. She did all that and more. However, she always had time for flowers, inside and outside the house.

Everything she did was for her husband and her children, but her flowers were for her. Then again, maybe those were for us, too. I can imagine her praying for us kids as she pulled weeds and cultivated the ground around her plants. Maybe she thought of how to guide her family in correcting character flaws as she inspected blossoms for insect damage. She could have been considering how to help her children develop their talents as she applied plant food to encourage her blooms to reach the fullest growth and beauty. As she caressed each petal and gazed at each variety of blooms, she might have thought of the differences in the abilities, demeanor, looks and temperaments of each of her children.


I wish I had questioned her about the thoughts and feelings she had when she worked in her flowers. I know she loved beauty, and she considered inner beauty more important than outer beauty. She not only taught us kids the importance of living right, but she lived with such a loving attitude that she was beloved and honored in our community.


I plant flowers in my garden, and I pray to have a loving disposition and Godly attitude like my mama had. If I can accomplish that, I will be successful.

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