A mother’s ode to wayward green children

As I dig in the dirt and plant seeds, yank weeds, water and watch things grow, I can’t help but consider how gardening is so much like raising children…the trials and the joys.

I’m disappointed in my tomatoes.

I started them from seeds.

Watched amazed as they poked through the soil and cheered them on as they pushed their way up and stretched toward the sunlight.


I watered them. I transplanted them, careful not to disturb their fragile roots, but knowing more space and more fertile soil would help them grow tall and deep.

I saw them through the gangly, awkward stage when the strength of their stalks didn’t yet match their enthusiasm to reach higher. When people looked at them and doubted how they would turn out, if they would thrive or even survive.

I saw them through less than ideal conditions…an unseasonably cool and rainy spring and early summer.


Slowly I got them used to the outside world, the one past the window they looked out each day. Into the inconstant temperatures and beating rain. A little at a time to toughen them up, be able to endure the still cold nights.



I turned some over to the world, to friends who looked appreciatively but doubtfully at me, like I was handing them a runt puppy. While some of those struggled in strange hands, the others finally flourished in mine. And I watch them grow, take off, scorn the supportive cage I put around each one.


But they haven’t flowered. I can blame the seed or the environment or the conditions or my lack of skills. Instead I alternate between nurturing their mocking greenness and prolific shoots and sitting helplessly, wondering, where–when they were small–I went so horribly wrong.

I resort to a prayer. Yes, a prayer over my tomato plant. That God will help it flower. This is for my pride, yes, but more because I desire for them to be fruitful.

I want you to feed bees. Feed me and others. Fulfill what was programmed in you by creation.

Even when nothing seems to change, I continue nurturing, pruning, feeding…praying. And hoping.

Then it happens, in time, it happens. Flowers, fruit, purpose.SAM_0238

DSCN2118Some more photos of the progress as of July 10.

Sultan’s Golden Crescent beans–JuneSAM_0118Sultan’s Golden Crescent beans–JulyDSCN2148Lettuce–early JuneSAM_0115Lettuce–early JulyDSCN2145Chamomile–still indoors in the springSAM_0050Chamomile–early JulyDSCN2150Kale recovering from wormy predators (which Mackenzie and I squashed methodically every day for a week)DSCN2146Beautiful Swiss chardDSCN2147Baby peppersDSCN2120

4 thoughts on “A mother’s ode to wayward green children

    1. Thanks, Leigh. Glad you stopped by. Your blog is a respite for me from the Chicago suburbs. We can’t wait to have our own 5 acres. And don’t let that black soil fool you. It’s so full of clay sometimes I think I should switch to making pottery


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