4/25/13

Be Good to Mama | Mother's Day Inspiration

Up until my mid-20's everything I knew about gardening I learned from my mother (pictured above snorkeling in the Bahamas). She's no expert by any means, but she did teach me how to correctly plant store-bought impatiens, and tomatoes and that knowledge will get you pretty far.

My mother catching a snooze.











You don't just plop them in the ground. Oh, no. You carefully remove them from their containers by turning them upside down and tapping the perimeter and bottom of the pot until it is jostled loose, making sure not to "tug" on the stem. You massage the roots and then place them in a hole twice the root-ball size with a 1:1 mix of garden soil/compost and the dirt that's already there, plus a pinch of fertilizer. The roots should be fully sub-merged and level with the rest of the garden. The plants get watered immediately and the dirt gently compressed around the plant, as you would tuck in a toddler.

Mom, fishing in Grandpa Dursch's canal.
Gardening requires a gentle touch, finesse and patience. From the first time helping her in the backyard plant annual flowers along the woodland border, I was hooked.


Eventually my love for gardening, landscaping and the outdoors led me to help found an urban garden collective, sow my home-grown vegetables from seeds, and experiment with all kinds of growth habitats and plant species from shade container gardening (I love my ferns), to raised bed vegetable patches. I've never owned a home or cultivated my own land, but I've always had an outdoor garden and sitting area of some sort wherever I've plopped my bags. 

I think our love of plants and pretty-manicured gardens is genetic; my great grandfather, Frank Dursch, was a landscaper and gardener who maintained the Dupont's estate in New England. I never met him, but I did get a chance to visit his lovely estate in Pennsylvania (that our family unfortunately sold) complete with a full English rose garden, a hand-diverted canal stream with waterfalls, and canoe dock.



In honor of my humble beginnings in horticulture, I pay homage to my mother each year by treating her to a garden-themed Mother's Day. It is something special we share, and my little way of showing her how much she means to me.

A few years back I bought tickets to the 2nd Annual Mother's Day garden tour. Last year we enjoyed Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's spring plant sale and walked the grounds. This year, albeit early, I took her to Fredericksburg for Historic Home + Garden Week. Over the course of the day, we visited 5 historic sites including Belmont, Snowden, Chatham and Kenmore Plantation.



The first part of the day was overcast and chilly, but by 2 P.M. the clouds parted to reveal a brilliant blue sky and bright sun. We had so much fun walking the grounds and peeking into the past through guided tours. Living vicariously through others is priceless, and while only one of the properties we visited still remained a private home, it was a thrill to the imagination to picture life on one of these estates; definitely worth the $30 price tag!



Whether it is a delivered flower arrangement with a special note, Sunday brunch or handmade slippers, make sure you be good to your mama this year, and show her just how much you appreciate her. After all, we wouldn't be here without 'em.

Mother's Day is May 12th; do you have your gift procured, your plans figured out?

If you have the time and want to bypass the pre-arranged florals this year, plan something fun and unique! How about packing a stellar picnic and heading to Maymont (*Their annual Abbey Mother's Day Tea is already full) or lunch and a container gardening class at Lavender Field Farms? Splurge on champagne brunch at The Jefferson, or if you're short on dough, head to Agecroft Hall on May 12th for free admission and evening concert by the Richmond Concert Band.



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