Mother’s Day is a special day that is worthy of a whole lot more than a simple news column. I remember very distinctly way back as a young child my Mom drug me out Christmas shopping and every …
Mother’s Day is a special day that is worthy of a whole lot more than a simple news column. I remember very distinctly way back as a young child my Mom drug me out Christmas shopping and every store was packed with people running around in a frenzy to buy last minute Christmas presents. It was hectic, confusing, and extremely stressful and it didn’t take me long to develop a tremendous headache (I hated Christmas shopping even as a young child). Mom sensed my anguish and got me out of the stores and the lines and bought me one of those icy cola drinks that at the time was sold out of a machine at the old “Big K” store in Cullman…. Before the tornado of ’74 destroyed it and damaged many other stores and homes in and around Cullman. Mom’s always seem to know when you have had enough. I learned a valuable lesson that day and I am sure that it was that day that reinforced my love of being outdoors in nature camping, hiking, canoeing, etc. away from all the crowds, all activities that I still enjoy today. Thanks, Mom for the cola drink and for getting me away from the hustle and bustle of “big city” Christmas shopping! It was also my mom that taught me to plant things in the garden, to wash and iron my own clothes, to cook, and oddly enough it was Mom that taught me my love of fishing.
For those of you who choose to remember your Mom with cut flowers this year, here are a few tips that will help your flowers stay fresh as long as possible whether they are roses or other cut flower mixed arrangements. Most floral arrangements come with a water soluble “fresh flower food” in a small packet attached to the arrangement. Dissolve the packet in about eight ounces or one large cup of room temperature water….not cold or hot water. You may have to use more than one packet of the mixture if you are using a large vase to display your arrangement.
It is important to use room temperature or slightly warm water as it will speed up the flower’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. If you re-cut the flower stems, especially for roses, make your cuts with the stem portion being removed under water. Straight cut or angled cut does not matter as much as making the cut under water. For most roses and other flowers you can submerge about three or four inches of stem and remove the bottom inch or two.
Many people often decide to honor Mom with a cut arrangement out of their own garden. There are so many flowers in bloom now that I think this is probably the better choice. One of my favorites that is in bloom now are all the wonderful irises. My Mom had two rows of irises in excess of 75 feet each and it always seemed to thrill her when I presented her an arrangement of her own irises that I “borrowed” from her own garden. Well it all makes sense to me, after all she did not actually make the cola drink she gave me all those years ago.
Another great way to remember Mom is with live plants. My Mom had some large pots that frame her walkway to the house and I usually filled the pots with one of her favorite summertime flowers, geraniums. There are so many great summer annual plants to choose from. It is also not too late to purchase and plant containerized woody trees, shrubs, or even fruit trees to replace those that were lost due to last year’s drought.
Remember if a containerized woody plant is what you decide on, there is a simple rule of thumb that goes “never put a $50 plant in a $5 hole. The hole should be a minimum of three to five times as wide as the root ball or container and the top of the root ball should be just at soil level. I check out dead and dying trees all the time that have simply been planted way too deep. Make sure to water the plant in well. Watering will help to eliminate air pockets that will dry out your plant’s roots. I also recommend saturating the container with water to thoroughly wet the root ball because whether you are talking about a large five gallon size tree or a small “cell pack” of summer annuals, if you put the root ball in the ground dry water will have a tough time getting to the roots.
Once planted, a one to two inch layer of organic mulch such as pine straw, shredded pine bark, compost, or other organic material will help hold the soil moisture and will protect the plant roots from the sun until the plant gets established. Mulch can be a double edged sword so to speak, too much of a even a good thing is too much. I have recently seen several plants who were buried in seven or eight inches of shredded mulch material and were really suffering because of it. Mulch like many other things is a great idea.. in moderation of course. Finally do not forget to water your new plants frequently. We often are good to water for the first week or two but forget to water later on during the summer when the really hot dry weather gets here. It often takes newly planted trees and shrubs an entire growing year or longer to become established, so don’t forget the most important plant nutrient of all….water!
The most important thing for today, however, is to remember all the Moms in whatever way you choose for doing all the little things like buying the cola drinks along the way that didn’t seem like much at the time but really became important later on….THANKS MOM!!!