Friday, May 6, 2011

What My Mother's Garden Taught Me

best trail in El Yunque
 El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico

My mother never went home to Puerto Rico after I was born. Instead, she fulfilled her primal urge for the land of her birth by raising a jungle in the center of what was in the 1960's and '70's white middle class suburban Whittier.

In high school, I didn't need to give an address to find my home. "The jungle on Cornishcrest" was all any stranger needed.

To an adolescent wanting desperately to fit in, it was disconcerting. Embarrassing.

When the dashing Gerry put a ring on my finger, he was proud to have rescued me from the jungle. Not long after, he presented me with space to garden, to develop my signature style.

Hardware, paint and geraniums enliven an old mailbox
As my mother had her vision of paradise, I have mine. This is not my mother's garden. I have no qualms about whacking off branches and I don't let philodendron reach inside the house from windows left open. However, I have come to understand my mother's quest in her garden and the lesson left me.

The 'Graham Thomas' Rose is tall as a small tree
She and her garden taught me not to be afraid to not conform. To be authentic to the inner voice of what is a reflection of the gardener's soul.

Roses, tomatoes and herbs in pots discourage hungry rabbit- raids

The first bloom welcomes visitor's at the curb. My garden is filled with roses. Birds and bunnies help themselves to food and water. Our forever-puppies give chase. And now that the ostrich egg-sized blooms of Matalija Poppy have flowed past the boundaries of civic planners, I am happy.

Look closely. A bunny has discovered it can limbo in and out under the gate
I have no expectations for future generations will know my name. But in every future May, the beautiful "fried egg" appearing blossoms will put a smile on future residents' faces as the California native weaves its way through our canyon.
'Reno' waiting for the bunny to come back. Matalija poppy forms a backdrop
Future generations of Diamond Bar may not know my name or why these beauties popped up in the little canyon behind my home. But because my mother taught me with her garden that that it is okay to be different, in May they will be reminded of the happiness that comes when flowers let out a loud laugh from the land.

Puerto Rican Rain Forest Imgae by Rainforest Inn


  1. My Dear Friend Lydia,

    That was just beautiful. You made a point that I'd never even thought of before............when we are gone, our yards, flowers and plants will remain. What a wonderful thought.

    Love and Hugs,

  2. Your garden sounds just lovely, Lydia. Oh, to be a bunny hopping about enjoying the snacks you leave out ;-) You have made your space really inviting.

  3. Dear Jeannie- Your angelic hand will leave its touch with all the beauty you have created in your own garden.

    Dear Nikki- If I were a bunny hopping around in the dry chaparral- I would choose the juicy goodies here over what is on the other side of the fence):-

  4. Lydia,
    What a lovely blog in honor of your mother on this Mother's Day weekend. I love visiting your home and garden and sitting on the patio just taking in all the blooming sights. It all looks as if they just "happened" but I know how hard you have worked to make it look that way.

    Lovely blog!
    Hugs, Trisha

  5. I love this, Lydia....To have dotted the landsxape with such great beauty is definitely a legacy, whether your name is known or not. I would have loved to have seen your mother's garden. It sounds simply splendid---even the things growing right in through the open window...!
    And, a Very Happy Mother's Day to you, my dear.

  6. Back from the Hill Country in Texas and attending among other things, the Lavender Festival at Becker Gardens. So much for the wonderful lavendar honey I had purchased for you and the rest of the Daily Drivel Gang. The concoction that was confiscated by the over zealous TSA agent is now literally a sweet memory in a trash can in the Austin airport. So much for my thought processes while packing the gift bag that held them in the bottom of it along with the other permissable presents on the top into my carry on bag!

    Now, with guilt, I've been enjoying catching up on several of your daily blogs that I'd missed. Must tell you that your pictures of the wedding attendee's with odd things on their heads are what the Welsh call "fascinators." They really are a bizzare step above a hat. LOL

    Carry on with the hobby, or should I say gift, that God has given you: an eye for knowing how to plan flowering beauty.



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