Mother’s Day in the Garden

One garden here at the old farmhouse is extra-special. 

Partly shaded by a large red maple, it has two dogwood trees, two purple lilacs, a Japanese maple and a forsythia shrub. The Japanese maple was stuck there “temporarily” but was somehow forgotten and has outgrown its spot.

Blog Photo - Spring Trees and Flowers

“One of these days, I’ll have to move it,” my husband says. But that tree is so big now that I suspect it’s not going anywhere.

Hydrangea shrubs and tree peonies also flourish here.

Blog Photo - Lilacs and forget Me Nots

In front of them are smaller plants: Solomon’s seal; ferns; the intriguingly shaped “Jack-in the Pulpit”; the occasional trillium (Ontario’s official flower); may apples and another woodland plant whose name I never learned.

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal

Pink tulips come up every spring, as do daffodils, astilbe, and hosta. It’s the only garden bed that’s home to such a variety of characters: woodland, shade, and sun-loving plants.

Blog Photo - Mama's Garden1

No wonder it’s called “Mama’s Garden”.  The children she mothered are a variety of characters too.

Throughout the spring, pink lamium borders one side of Mama’s Garden, while blue forget-me-nots border the other. Recently, though, they’ve both strayed into the path.

“Your garden would look better if I could weed the path regularly”, I apologize to Mama.

And I can hear her voice saying: “Ah, m’dear. It’ll get done. Right now, there are more important things on your plate.”

Blog Photo - Mama's Garden front arbor

My husband named the garden in tribute to Mama’s great love of gardening.

Blog Photo - Mama's Garden - CR and mug of coffee

My mother died several years ago.

On every Mother’s Day since, I head out to Mama’s Garden, no matter what the weather, no matter what condition I’m in. I bring a sturdy mug of coffee, walk through the entrance arbour and down the short pathway, looking at the growing things around me.

I sit on the stone bench at the back of the garden.

“Thank you, Mama,” I say.

Blog Photo - Clematis on Arbor

There are so many things to thank her for.  

So I thank her and I thank God for her, and sometimes the talk with Mama gets mixed in with the prayer and it feels like the beings I am talking to are one and the same, but I don’t think either Mama or God would mind.

I give thanks.

Blog Photo - Mama's Garden CU of CR

For a mother who loved and tended her family.  For a mother who taught us the importance of growing things.  And for a mother whose love and faith live on in our hearts.

Blog Photo - Tulips Hosta and Forget Me Nots

Garden photos by Hamlin Grange. Photos of Cynthia by Dale Ratcliffe.


This post is dedicated to my mother and mother-in-law, who mothered not just their own children, but all our cousins and friends when they needed mothering too.

Happy Mother’s day, and happy belated Mothering Sunday, to all women who tend and care for children.




Filed under A Good Home, Family, Family Matriarch, Gardening, Gratitude, Home, Inspiration, Life in canada, Lifestyle, Mothering, Mothers, Non-fiction writing, Parents, Raising Children, Relationships, Spring Bulbs, Thanks, Tulips

71 responses to “Mother’s Day in the Garden

  1. Nice tribute Cynthia. I’m glad that you have a special place in your heart and garden to treasure your Mothers. My mother gave me the love of garden too. Happy Mother’s Day,

  2. A lovely space to be on Mother’s Day. Beautiful.

  3. ❤ So well said, and such a beautiful garden.

  4. Georgeina

    Wonderful, Cynthia. It seems mothers and gardens somehow always share a physical and spiritual link. Of all the Mother’s Day tributes I’ve read, yours brought feelings that made me cry.

  5. What a lovely tribute and heartfelt post, Cynthia! Enjoyed the photos of your beautiful garden. So natural. 🙂

  6. Gail

    Beautiful tribute Cynthia and thank you for sharing those lovely pictures. My own mother was not a gardener but she loved, nurtured and tended her children unconditionally. My own garden is a tribute to her.

  7. What a pretty garden – the flowers in the path just add to the beauty of it all I’m sure. Lovely thoughts expressed so well. Happy Mother’s Day!

  8. Thank you for sharing this lovely story! My mother also instilled in me a love of growing things. It’s such a wonderful gift!

  9. What a fine tribute to your mother. My mother is also a gardener, and when you ask her what she wants to do on Mother’s Day every year, she says, “I wanna plant some stuff!” And eat wilted lettuce. Every year. Beautiful post, lovely pictures, and you look so serene sitting there on that bench, conversing with your mother and God.

  10. That’s a lovely tribute. Good to read today.



  11. Beautiful garden and lovely tribute to your mom! Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  12. I’m speechless at how beautiful this is–truly. It makes me wish I could have the same. But I know well the time and care a garden like that one takes! Amazing. I may just have to combine Japanese maple and lilac–I love the colors together!

  13. Oh, Kay. (I just realized that sounds like OK…) Thanks for this remark. It’s had no care in nearly 2 years!

  14. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    Belated Happy Mothers Day…
    What a beautiful garden and tribute to your Mother….
    there is such a peace-filled energy flowing through your photos…I enjoyed wandering there in my mind…Thank you for sharing….
    Take care…You Matter…

  15. What a lovely, lovely garden, and what a nice tribute to your Mom. Thanks for sharing this, Cynthia.
    On a more humorous note, one thought I had as I scrolled through the photos was, “Cynthia must not have deer up her way.” That garden wouldn’t last a week here in my county. Another thing to be thankful for. 🙂

    • Hi Jeanne:
      We have deer, alright, but not near our present home.
      What we have is an army of wild rabbits. Worse than deer, so we have to plant judiciously.

      Thanks for liking the garden and the tribute to Mama.

  16. We have Mother’ s Day in March but what a lovely tribute to your Mum. I enjoyed the photos of your lovely garden.

  17. My mother died before I turned 2 but my grandmother was a fanatical gardener who passed on her love of plants to me. This post reminded me of her, so thank you for that. Happy mother’s day!

    • Strange, growing up without your mother, I imagine. I’m sorry to hear that, Allen. Yet, how lovely to have a grandmother who passed on her love of plants and I’m very glad this post reminded you of her.

  18. A beautiful tribute to your mother, Cynthia. Yes, gardens have a physical and spiritual link, no question. My mother has been gone for 8 years now. I hear her in the garden.

  19. Your writing about your mother in your book was full of love and it looks as though this garden is full of love as well. You look so at home among those beautiful flowers! Thanks for the Happy Mother’s Day wish and Happy Mother’s Day to you also:0)

  20. Lovely and poignant post, Cynthia. happy Mother’s day to you too, Johanna

  21. Nice post, my mother is gone and I still talk to her while in the garden, mainly because I think she can hear me there..
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  22. Sitting with tears in my eyes as I marvel at the beauty of your garden and your ritual. Particularly as I read your book and feel I know a bit more about your mother. That forsythia shrub alone is a tribute! Beautiful.

  23. Beautiful post, beautiful garden. Your Mum would be so proud ..

  24. I think Mama’s Garden looks perfect just the way it is! Your post is lovely, too.

  25. Mama’s garden is lovely, Cynthia. Having read about her in your book I can imagine the conversations you two have had and have when you’re in her garden. I see love and generosity in every photo! You look very content sitting among Mama’s garden with your coffee.

  26. Love this!!!! What a tribute and her legacy lives on in you and your children!!

  27. I commented last year but I just had to say how much I enjoyed re-reading this post. I am fortunate in having my mother around still. She enjoys working in her garden but because of her arthritis and bad eyesight she can’t do as much as she would like. The one good thing that has come out of my brother’s separation and divorce is that he now lives nearby and has started visiting Mum regularly and is helping her with her garden.

  28. Oh, how very sweet! There is nothing better than sitting spell with a good cup of coffee and visiting with God and remembering our special loved ones.

    Mama’s Garden is beautiful!

  29. A beautiful story and a beautiful garden. It’s so lush. I can feel the Ontario spring air just looking at your pics even though I’m far from home 🙂

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