my mother’s day gift {reclaiming the garden}

April seemed to disappear for me. I usually spend hours planting, weeding, and tending to our garden and flowerbeds. I had a planted a few things prior to our extended stay at the hospital. When we got home it was overwhelming to even look at the garden. A lot didn’t get planted. A lot was overgrown. My mesculin had already gone to seed. The neglected garden was a reminder everyday of how quickly things change and plans get put on hold.

I told Chris all I wanted for Mother’s Day was time alone in the garden.  I wanted to look out and see the garden again – not choking weeds.

We even planted some more carrots, potatoes and beans. I really wanted to create a bean tunnel this year. Not too sure if it is too late, but I thought I’d try anyway.

Jedis laughing in the background…my favorite soundtrack.

Strawberry lemonade….my favorite gardening drink.


My peonies bloomed a few days after we got home. I sure wish they lasted longer.

Greens for the compost pile…which needs a new cuter home. Can a compost bin be cute? I dare say it can.

Part of what I enjoy about gardening is it is relatively quiet and calm (for my life). It gives me a bit of solitude and time to think. The thing about a garden is it needs a lot of attention, care & time to thrive. Yes, you can throw seeds in the ground and some will grow fine. But the best gardeners know all the details of every single one of their plants. The best gardeners know what a plant needs and when a plant needs it. The best gardeners spend consistent time nurturing the garden to insure the final harvest is the best possible.

For a month my garden was neglected. It got watered, but other than that it was ignored. Weeds took over. Grass grew high. It survived the neglect, but sure didn’t flourish. Gardening is a lot like parenting…know what I mean? My kids need more than food and shelter. They need time & nurturing. They need me to know what they need and when they need it. They need attention & care to flourish.

They would survive without all that, but they wouldn’t flourish. Weeds in their lives would choke out potential and dreams. They’d make it though. But I don’t want my kids to just make it. I want and dream of so much more for them…..I’m learning to garden…..just like I am learning to parent. So far to go, but so very worth it.

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  • Mellie Butterfly - Love your reflections here. I am gardening successfully the first time this year. Sure do hope it translates to my mothering…

  • kristin - I have been gardening for a coupleyears now but don’t take nearly the time I need. I am planning on changing that this year! I love the comparison to parentng, as a new parent I look forward to cultivating my baby and garden this year! 🙂

  • Robyn Farmer - so very true

  • andy - looks like a good mothers day.

  • allison - beautiful post – and so very true!

  • Laurie J - I can’t relate to the gardening part, but I hear your heart on the mothering…..I say I want my kids to “thrive and not just survive.” pouring the love of Jesus into them daily!

  • Deb - You are so very far ahead in your parenting skills just realizing all that it takes to be a good mom. You have wisdom beyond your years! As a mom of four grown children, I wish I had taken the time to be in the moment more and less stressed with all the “to do” stuff. But in spite of my mistakes, my kids are awesome young men and women and I thank God for that every day! It is so inspiring to read of all you do, in so many small ways, to show your kids God’s love and how He wants us to share it with all those around us. You are teaching them so many faith lessons just by the way you live your life. I love watching you live out your faith and am encouraged by how you share it with this audience. Happy Mother’s Day to you – a day late.

  • Sarah @ Handbags*N*Pigtails - Oh how I wish I could be a gardener. Thankfully, hubby is around here so we have fresh, homegrown veggies to eat. (Hes also a beekeeper so we have our own homegrown honey too). I was never taught how to garden so I think its my biggest problem. But its on my bucket list…learn how to keep green things alive,lol:)

  • Izabela - This post of Yours just hit me. Can it be true..? Can we have wonderful garden AND something more? Or this is just one to one?

  • Lori - How true – I love the parallel. Babygirl looks so cute on that quilt…playing. Please do a bean tunnel. and a cute compost – i believe in you –

  • Kirsten - what a beautiful post! and oh, so true.

    hope your bean tunnel takes off! can’t wait to see pictures. maybe you should plant a gourd vine or two nearby, just in case. 😉

  • Amanda - Very true. You are wonderful at putting into words what most of us probably don’t! 🙂

    Coming from Master Gardener volunteer, full time Mom, and full time photographer I get so overwhelmed, but realize if I just take it one step at a time, usually things don’t look so daunting.

    {and don’t feel too bad, my garden isn’t even planted yet!}

  • amanda torres - Good thoughts, good thoughts!

  • C.Stockman - I forgot everything you wrote when “firecracker” showed up! She is so amazing…one day my husband was walking by while I was reading your blog and I said “look honey, see this? (referring to firecracker) I’m putting in an order for one of these, this make and model.” She is the blue print to what I want in a grandchild when in fact my children give me little loves. I’m just afraid I’ll be in a walker before that happens! haha!

  • Katie Leonard - I was smiling and nodding while reading this post. Insightful and inspiring. Thank you for your thoughts, Ashley! And thank you for the time you spend each day/week to share a piece of your family’s life with us – I love this space.

  • Nicole - so thoughtful and so very true. The project my 4-yr-old did at kindergarten came home with questions like: “How old is your mom?” and “What is her favorite color?” , to which he answered “11” and “light purple”. The one that stuck with me, though, was the “what does your mom do?” question, which was answered with “she does the dishes and the laundry”. So…add that to my ‘mom-guilt’ complex! Our house is a mess and drives me bananas. But I am working full-time, and working on opening my own business, so right now I’m lucky any of us have clean clothes to wear, let’s be real! One of your older posts talked about how you liked to truly connect with each of your kids at least once every day. I would love suggestions on how I can do that in a more effective way. I don’t want my kids to only remember me doing household chores during their childhood 🙁

  • Madaline Meatte - i hope i can be a good parent like you’re being. you know things about each of your children, and you spend time to them.

    i’m 24 and a couple of months ago my mom tried to take her life. she says that wasn’t her intentions, but we all know otherwise. she’s in a very dark place and needs lots and lots of prayers. sometimes i feel like she wasn’t there for me, like she didn’t know little things about me, and i know she resents how good my life has turned out despite her.

    please pray for her, and me. and i’ll pray for you to keep being the awesome mom that you are. i think you’re pretty awesome.

  • Julie - Cute? Not sure about that. However, we found a composter that looks just like a green death star that has added hours of playtime. I con’t know about it being a “cute” addition to the yard, but that has to count for something.

    Such an insightful and though provoking post. Thank you.

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - I always get philosophical about parenting in the garden too. Especially when I’m tying back my tomatoes. I think- this is so time consuming. And hard. They’re all mixed in with each other. What if I tie it back too much? What if not enough? Yep, just like parenting.

  • Molly - great great great post Ashley!!! Thanks for always saying the things I need to hear!!! I spent my mothers day gardening too! So wonderful to get your hands dirty! I like the pictures of firecracker outside much better than the ones in the hospital!!!

  • Lacy M. - Awesome post!!

  • erin - i’m so glad you got your mother’s day wish! my garden has been neglected this year too. thankfully, we have not had a stay in the hospital, but my pregnancy has put my garden on hold. scot finally pulled out my not so pretty pansies yesterday afternoon and the azaleas that died this winter. i know when sweet halle arrives it will be too late to plant then, so i’m really looking forward to returning my hands to the dirt this fall!

    thanks again for such a wonderful and inspiring saturday!

  • chantelle - we did a bean tipi last year so fun! my 2 year old ate beans purple, yellow and green for weeks and asked for them all winter! It is never too late for a bean! be sure to buy pole beans of course-I did a mix of pole and bush and it worked fine-great for variety! I too am learning to Mom and garden!

  • mel @ the larson lingo - I love your analogy, “Gardening is a lot like parenting…know what I mean? My kids need more than food and shelter. They need time & nurturing.” This is HUGE. And so, so true. I am learning this also….thanks for such a tangible reminder!
    Your garden looks great…I just planted my first garden a few weeks ago….can’t wait to see how it grows! Glad you had a great Mother’s Day!!!

  • julie - This is exactly what i needed to read today.

  • Amy @ dwell in the season - What a beautiful post! We just planted our garden yesterday, but we are looking forward to nurturing it and enjoying it this summer. May you also enjoy your kids! 🙂

  • kristina - i love this post! i also garden and am a mother to a little around firecracker’s age 🙂 i totally know what you mean 🙂

    where did you get that blanket? it’s SO adorable 🙂

  • liz - this is one of my favorite posts you’ve written! beautiful!

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis - Great post. I’m a first time momma to an almost two year old boy. Going through a phase now where everything I do feels wrong. Thank goodness for older sisters!

  • Anna - I love this post! 🙂

  • Stefanie Arnold - beautiful pictures! I love your garden. We’re going to have a garden soon and I’ll be taking pointers from you 🙂

    You should do a blog post on your favorite things to grow. I’d love to know any tricks you have to share 🙂

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Jenny B. - There you go again, catching me off guard… Here I am thinking this is going to be a simple post about spending your free time weeding the garden, and it turns out to be this beautiful metaphor about life and kids and parenting… You never cease to amaze me! And I’m continually amazed at how God uses you to speak to my heart. Thank you!

  • Carrie - Beautiful metaphor! It amazes me how you can make a pile of weeds look beautiful too 🙂 love your pictures!

  • Seamingly Sarah - well said! here’s to many more years of learning. =)