a (proper) tribute to my mum

It took me ages to find a decent Mothers’ Day card this year. First of all, I boycotted anything that was pink. My mother is not Barbie, nor does she wish to be. Then, pedant that I am, I had to eliminate anything with the apostrophe in the wrong place. (It goes after the ‘s’. This is not a day for one mother alone.) Then I had to pass over anything featuring high-heeled shoes, glittery hearts or ‘jokes’ about mothers lying in the garden while the men in the house burn the dinner. Seriously, in 2012 do we really still believe that men will starve if women are not in the kitchen?

Anyone know a woman whose favourite thing is popping kittens into flowerpots?

I’m sorry, Mum, but as you will know by now, the best I could find was a picture of a rather anodyne bunch of flowers. So by way of compensation, this blog post is for you. There are many things I can thank you for but I can honestly say that one of the most important is compost. Other people might laugh at this, but I know you will understand my appreciation.

You see, my mum has always been way ahead of her time. She was an environmentalist probably before the word was even invented. She has been gardening organically forever, certainly years and years before it was trendy. What she doesn’t know about comfrey and wormeries and rotation planting probably isn’t worth knowing.

But in the end the most important thing is compost. I honestly cannot remember a time when I did not know the difference between what went in the compost bin and what didn’t. Thanks to my mum, my sister and I are physically incapable of putting even a sliver of potato peel in a regular bin.  And thanks to my mum passing on her skills in this way, I am currently gardening quite successfully on heavy clay, made fertile and productive through the addition of copious quantities of home-produced compost.

Clematis 'Niobe' in our front garden last year. It has oodles of compost around its roots.

Another thing my mum was brilliant at was reading us stories, especially fantasy and fairy tales. But as you grow up, you have to leave that kind of magic behind. All the more reason to be grateful for compost then. Because no matter how often I see it, I will never grow tired of the magic that ensures that this

becomes this

Texture of chocolate cake - perfect!

which helps this

end up as this.

And of course then the whole cycle begins again. I can’t remember what those baby beets became in the kitchen, but I can guarantee that the peel and the roots went in the compost bin.

Thanks, Mum! Have a great day.

For anyone who needs them, there are some good instructions for making compost here.

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11 comments

  1. Isn’t it just like a mother, to teach you how to make something out of nothing?! A great legacy to pass on, if you ask me!

    P.S. I am soooo with you on the ridiculous cards that are out there for mothers…..the kitten in a teacup?? Bahahaha! Such nonsense. I struggle every year….

  2. I am even more of pedant than you. I boycott any card with ‘mothers’ day’ on it and try to find one with Mothering Sunday on it. I failed this year and gave up on the card altogether. She got chocolate instead. Much nicer.

  3. what a lovely tribute to your mum. I hope my little one feels the things I pass on to him are as valuable (and fun) one day!
    I’m glad you liked the damson jam recipe – the cinnamon and orange really brings out the flavour. I’ve not made it to my allotment yet to see how well our damson tree has fruited this year but as August/Sept is generally a busy harvesting time (not this year!) I usually stone the fruit and freeze it for later. My last batch of jam was made in December when I was 8 months pregnant and it certainly helped (like blogging) to banish the winter doldrums

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