Ah yes, with a misty eye, he drifts back to those halcyon days of yore when the sky was pure blue, the lawn solid green, flowers abloom, and mom was busy in her garden. Her young cherub stays close while she quietly tends plants.
By Chris Cohan
Ah yes, with a misty eye, he drifts back to those halcyon days of yore when the sky was pure blue, the lawn solid green, flowers abloom, and mom was busy in her garden. Her young cherub stays close while she quietly tends plants. He is innocent, attentive, and in complete awe of her.
Fast Forward to Present Day… mom is still quietly working away in the garden. However, the tiny toddler morphed into a grown man. By any definition, he is an adult. Mom, however, either needs her eyes checked or just does not want to get it.
He became a licensed landscape architect. He received various degrees, citations, accolades, and professional recognitions. He designs a wide range of projects, teaches horticulture, and writes a garden column. He is passionate about his work.
Softly backlit by the morning sun she tends her fragrant blooms. The lawn is thick, lush, and expansive. Mom lies in wait. He willingly walks across the lawn and into her web. Oops, I mean garden.
She turns, looks, and smiles at her prey — me. Sure, he knows a thing or two about gardening. However, like the day, he is still young and innocent to her. He is up against a force more powerful and complex than anything one can imagine.
“Hey mom, how are you.”
“Huh, what did you say?” It begins. She’s set the chessboard. Her son a pawn; his moves are numbered. He repeats. “Hey mom, how are you.”
“Oh, you know. I’m just OK.” He’s had.
“Mom, what’s the matter? What do you mean just OK?”
“Can you give me a hand over here?” It is the classic non-answer.
“Sure, what do you want? I just stopped by to say hi. I gotta run in a few minutes, I’m on my way back to a job.” Yeah, that never works. He is in and in until she releases him.
Luckily, he has a good crew that understands what needs to be accomplished. They are able to keep moving even when he is AWOL for extended periods of time.
He finishes carrying garbage cans of garden debris to the compost pile. Then she moves him across her garden chessboard to the vegetable patch. There he is asked an apparently innocuous question about tomatoes.
Unwittingly, he falls for the classic tomato planting question trap. Gently and in as motherly and lovingly a way possible she corrects him. Clearly, he is ignorant of the basics from appropriate planting time, depth or removal of lower leaves. By this time he wishes he had just called.
They wander down the gravel driveway that wraps around the house, past the kitchen to the garage. She parks by the kitchen door and never drives further. The rest of the driveway has been allowed to become a garden. Better than most he has designed.
While others strive to grow Turk’s cap lily and foxgloves, they grow in abundance in her driveway. Fraise de bois petite strawberry, lamb’s ear, youthful butterfly bushes, daisy, and bee balm come up happily through the gravel.
The active part of the gravel driveway is loosely defined by tire tracks between plants allowed to grow where they wish. It is a mix of snow in summer, catmint, and perennial arugula — fresh, peppery, and delicious. She dines on it spring till frost.
Her lawn is perfect. His is patchy. She does not have a sprinkler system. He does. She never allows chemicals near her turf. He does. She only uses natural deterrents like milky spore and corn gluten. She cuts her grass high; he cuts his lower.
The gardens overall are mom. She has added a little of this here and a little of that there. It is an eclectic array of blooming happenstance.
As a landscape architect, he works hard at his craft. He sees all that is in front of him wanting to organize it into a symphony of color, bloom, scent, and texture to charm and please from early spring till late fall. He explains how wonderful it would be to transplant this, remove that, prune those, and buy some of them.
Hello, where does he think he is and who does he think he is talking to?
He gives her a hug and kiss. He says, I love you and waves goodbye. He rushes back to the comfort of the job where he has a modicum of control. Although as sure as the sun shall rise tomorrow he shall revisit mom and fall deep, hard, and complete into her welcoming web again.