Urban Garden Denver Blog



Mom, thanks for sending me outdoors

Many of my childhood memories are related to the outdoors. As the youngest of 3 children, living in a small suburban subdivision populated with lots of other kids and surrounded by fields and woods, “Go outside and play,” was my mom’s regular command. From my perspective it was an invitation to explore and imagine, from her perspective, likely a way to take the volume outside.

My mom was an avid gardener, and participant in the local garden club, because that’s what the suburban moms did in the early 1960’s, along with bridge club. But I don’t really remember doing lots of gardening with my mom. The garden was her domain to shape and plan. We did get roped into weeding at times, and I remember the large rockery that was on the slope between the upper yard and the lower yard. Weeding it was a big project, but the reward was the lovely scent of “pinks” (dianthus) that grew among the rocks. 

Even though I don’t have lots of memories of gardening with mom, I do think my appreciation for the beauty of flowers comes from her. I remember the flower arrangements in our mid-century home. There was a strong Asian influence, since we lived outside of Seattle. The flower arrangements would often have just a few flowers, branches and foliage, be asymmetrical and include perhaps a small piece of driftwood or stones from the beach at the base of the arrangement.

I do have an iris in my yard from her garden (the yellow one in the picture). It wasn’t from the original home I grew up in, but from a few moves later, the house we moved into when I was in high school. Last year it didn’t bloom, but I was thankful to see the blossoms this year. I know it won’t live forever, but it is nice to have a flower from my mom. But even more important than flowers, I have the legacy of an appreciation of beauty and the importance of family and friendships that were hallmarks of my mom’s life. Mom, thanks for sending me outside to play.

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