Tag Archives | What Our Mothers Taught Us About Gardening and Life

What Our Mothers Taught Us About Gardening and Life

Benjamin Vogt lives in Lincoln, Nebraska where he writes and gardens and garden coaches. He has a little memoir entitled Sleep, Creep, Leap: The First Three Years of a Nebraska Garden, and blogs at The Deep Middle. Visit him at his main website,  bevogt

As a lot of you already know, Ben is an exquisite writer…both his poetry and non-fiction. I’m delighted that he’s participating in this series. Fran Sorin

Did your mother pass down any stories about herself,  family members, neighbors, etc. that have to do with gardening?
My mother loved to visit her grandmother’s home. There she learned to pick and can vegetables, admired morning glories, and swung beneath a large weeping willow. It is then no surprise that some of her favorite plants include morning glories and willows, which she has begun planting in earnest around her new home.

Mom and I at PhD grad (2)

Knowledge of the above certainly wasn’t just handed out. In my family, silence is the norm. Not library silence, but free giving up of information is something that is earned with age and time. But even more so, such stories and knowledge come from my mother connect—with a tough sinew—to a history of childhood abuse and poverty. I’m sure one reason my mother connected so deeply with the plants of my great grandmother’s house must surely be that it was an escape from her stepfather, and a home where she was a second mother to four younger siblings.

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What Our Mothers Taught Us About Gardening & Life

Steve Asbell is a writer, illustrator and photographer based out of Jacksonville, Florida. I’m a big fan of his writing and his love of gardening is inspiring. You can find more about him at his blog, The Rainforest GardenFran Sorin

In Steve’s words:

I’ve only been a gardener for the last three years, but my mother has been preparing me for a lifetime. It was only when she lost the ability to walk and became the proud new owner of a power chair that I planted my first garden. It was meant to be a gift to the woman who taught me to live and celebrate each day, but it was only through her garden that I was finally able to appreciate all of the lessons she’s taught me through life. Gardening was a little difficult for an army brat like me, but the lack of space never kept me from learning. ‘Bloom where you’re planted’ was a common saying among military wives, but for my mother those words stuck and became a mantra that defines and empowers her to this day. She didn’t teach me how to garden in the usual sense but instead gave me gifts much more enduring and profound. My mother taught me how to cultivate my sense of wonder into adulthood and to savor life wherever it can be found. She was teaching me to be a gardener all along.


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What Our Mothers Taught Us About Gardening and Life…with Denny Schrock

I was lucky enough to spend time with Denny Schrock a  few years ago on a trip to Holland  for gardening  journalists. I quickly discovered that he is a multi-talented individual filled with curiosity, a plethora of knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, and a gentle and humble soul.

Denny has been with Meredith Publishing for 9 years. He has edited over 30 books and provides garden content for Better Home and Garden’s website and the digital edition of their magazine and has a Doctorate in Horticulture from The University of Minnesota.

He describes himself as a plant nerd with a low-maintenance landscape that features more than 1500 different perennials, trees, and shrubs on his half-acre in suburban Des Moines.

This is Denny’s story about his mother.

About what she taught him in the garden and life.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  Fran Sorin

 Did your mother pass down any stories about herself, family members, neighbors, etc. that have to do with gardening?

My mother wasn’t much of a storyteller. I think it mostly had to do with her busy life, raising 6 children, trying to eke out a living on our farm. Mornings started for her at 6 a.m., when she would wake up the boys to go out and help Dad with morning chores. (He was up at 4:30 or 5:00 to start milking the cows.) The boys would finish the morning chores while Dad left to make the rounds with the school bus. We were the last to be picked up on the route. After school, Mom always had several piano students to give lessons to before evening chores.

Denny’s Mother and  Father

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