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My Mother, Gardening

The writer remembers her mother and the garden she loved:

"At the height of summer my mother would clip the most luxurious marigolds that she had successfully grown from seed, handfuls of intense yellow bobbing in the hot wind, reaching above her waist. She’d dip them in wax so that they would outlast the season, lighting her kitchen into dusky autumn. The marigold was the personal passion of David Burpee, the son of the company’s founder—who became a registered lobbyist in 1960 so that he could campaign in Congress to name the marigold the U.S. national flower. My mother bought seeds from the glossy catalogues Burpee pumped out during the years following World War II, showcasing a series of brand-new floral hybrids whose very names exuded drama and expectation: the Yellow Climax Marigold was followed by the Double Supreme Hybrid Snapdragon in 1960 and the Firecracker Zenith Hybrid Zinnia in 1963. When Burpee’s plants blossomed in my mother’s garden—luxurious flesh in pink, yellow, orange, white, and red—they transformed the day."
PUBLISHED: July 1, 2013
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2258 words)