My Mother’s Garden

Posted by on Jun 23, 2013 in Places | One Comment

A week ago, I finally found peace at my Mother’s house through taking pictures of her garden. Before that I never felt comfortable staying the night after I initially left her house to be on my own. For the first time, I used the camera to express my feelings about my childhood home.

My Mother singlehandedly transformed the space to conform to her vision. What was once some grass and bushes with a trash-strewn space up top, became a neat, well-ordered mix of ornamental trees, bushes and flowers. My father rarely helped which caused my Mother a lot of sorrow. One day when he decided to help and mow the lawn, he died. I still feel a layer of sadness throughout the space.

Detail from my mother's garden

After my father left us, my mother continued to augment what she had already started. One day she took me to a local nursery. The owner greeted my Mother warily as she entered the establishment. In front, stood a giant stone lantern.

“It’s not for sale,” said the owner, a middle-aged woman with a care worn face. “I know you asked me before, and my answer is the same. It’s not for sale.” The owner’s husband had recently passed away. This lantern was his last piece and the widow did not want to part with it.

“I lose my husband too,” said my Mother in broken English. “Why can’t you sell to me?” These words convinced the woman that my Mother’s garden was the right place for her late husband’s work. Twenty-eight years later, the lantern leans heavily, surrounded by lush greenery. I chose photographing the detail, it just had more meaning to me.

Detail from my Mother's Garden 2

But all is not sadness in my Mother’s garden. Birds and other wildlife peacefully co-exist with my Mother and stepdad. A pair of Dark-eyed Oregon Junco’s even nested in one of her hanging flower pots.

Dark-eyed Oregon Junco

One by one as I developed these images, I let go of the emotion as it had been captured in the photographs. I’m at peace now with the past and enjoy the beauty of the present that is my Mother’s garden.

One Comment

  • Ana, Thank you. This is all lovely particularly so because of the very personal feelings you have for this place.
    I do remember the day your father died. And I remember Aunt Betty, Uncle Paul and myself coming to Tacoma to say goodbye to our brother who we called Bobby ( a childhood name) and was known as Eddie or Ed I think.
    How old were you then, I wonder.
    Thank you so much for sharing. I send you my love, you are in my thoughts. Aunt Ethel nn

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