The Garden of Hope

Reader Contribution by Mary Conley
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Dear friends,

How did you spend Mother’s Day? Did you go to church or out to lunch? Your young children may have showered you with homemade cards and small gifts. Perhaps your adult children visited, called, or sent cards. I hope it was a happy and rewarding day for you. I remember spending many Mother’s Days visiting my mother in her home, then senior housing, and finally the nursing home. I miss her and often wish I could tell her what we are doing on the farm, or ask something about the past. This Mother’s Day, I had a wonderful time doing something very special and I wish Mom could have done it with me. I planted the large kitchen garden at the farm.

Larry did the difficult job the day before as he and the Mantis worked in the amendments until I had a gardener’s dream of fine, rich, loose soil. Rain was in the forecast to spoil my plans, so I started that very evening, getting as much planted as possible before dark. The rain held off, and Mother’s Day morning was cloudy, cool, and calm. Perfect for planting! It was a quiet, pleasant, and fulfilling job with only me and the serenading birds. I finished about 1:00 and it still hadn’t rained! Later in the afternoon, Larry and I planted all the vine plants and sunflowers in a different location while working in a refreshing light mist. We finished. Sometimes plans do work out right. Let it rain!

As I planted the garden on such a perfect day, I felt so happy and full of hope. If only everyone could garden and enjoy it as much as I did. I’m experienced enough, though, to know that hope can be dashed with a late freeze, hail, insects or disease. There are occasions when one might wonder why we continue to do it year after year!

I have to leave my newly planted garden for three weeks and place my hope in good weather and a sprinkler set on a timer. Wow! A lot can go wrong. Then there are the weeds. Can you imagine how the weeds will sprout and grow in such a perfect environment in three weeks?

Larry replaced the fence and gate of our 20×30 kitchen garden this spring. A surprised deer visited while I was planting and snorted displeasure of me invading her property.

So, what all did I plant? Well, Larry thinks I planted orange flags because I have them all over marking where one type of vegetable ends and another begins. If I tucked a radish or flower seed in anywhere, it has a flag. Leave it to me to pull out something I just planted thinking it a weed! Mustard greens are my experiment this year, and I’m curious to see if we like the flavor in our salads.

My hopes:

In the kitchen garden: green beans (climbing on the fence), carrots, beets, two kinds of kale, swiss chard, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, spinach, several types of lettuce, cucumbers, zinnias

In a second fenced in bed: cantaloupe, zucchini, butternut squash, acorn squash, sugar pie pumpkins, 1 jack-o-lantern pumpkin, sunflowers

In a third fenced in bed: potatoes, and we still need to plant sweet corn.

Then there are the dependable perennials to give us hope. It has been our best year for harvesting asparagus. The strawberries are blooming and the rhubarb is almost ready. Fruit is setting on in the orchards. The mulberry trees are leafing out. Gooseberries, Russian sage, mint, chives, and horseradish are growing. Next on our to do list is cleaning up the blackberry/raspberry bed.

Yes, it was a wonderful Mother’s Day. Did I mention our children called and sent cards? I even received flowers! Have a happy day filled with hope.