When I garden I think of my mother. She loved her garden and passed that love, the names of plants, and cultivation tips on to me. Like, peonies don't grow in SoCal. So one year I bought her a big bouquet for Mother's Day and drove it through the heat of the Santa Ynez valley. Although I had plenty of water in the bucket, I opened my hatchback to find soggy tissues on leafy stems. Together we tried to revive them in every way and finally left them submerged in a cool bath. They came back to life!
When I eventually moved to the east coast, I planted and painted plenty of peonies. My mom, Mavis, died many years later on a Mother's Day. I miss her but sometimes
I can find her in my garden.