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Hanbidge on Horticulture: Give a Mother’s Day gift that grows

Have fun honouring all kinds of moms on May 12.
In May of 1908, Anna Jarvis first conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honouring the sacrifices that mothers make for their children.

All over the world, we honour our mothers in different ways. I hope that you honour them every day but here, we do have a special day that is devoted to our mothers, and that day this year is May 12. My mom’s birthday was May 2 and that was closely followed by Mother’s Day. As she was a gardener and an orchid grower and it also is the spring of the year, it was fairly easy to find her amazing presents. Those presents were often gifts that grew.

On Mother’s Day, the florist shops are busy and so are the restaurants. I always chose to cook for Mom (as long as I was geographically close), rather than go out on the town. Also, we generally would choose to honour her with plants that had some longevity to them. Cut flowers are always appreciated but do have a limited shelf life. As I come from a strong matriarchal family – this is one special day.

It is also kind of fun to honour all kinds of moms on this day. So on May 12, I choose to also recognize moms of dogs, cats, fish, parrots, rabbits and any other critters. For those of us who act as both parents, what is wrong with honouring those who are caregivers and not perhaps the traditional type of mom?

Historically, we need to thank Anna Jarvis for conceiving Mother’s Day as a way of honouring the sacrifices that mothers make for their children. After gaining some financial backing, in May of 1908, she organized a Mother’s Day celebration in a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. Although Jarvis remained unmarried and childless for her whole life, she also started a massive writing campaign for newspapers and prominent politicians urging recognition for a special day that honoured motherhood. Her rationale was that most American holidays were based towards male achievements. It took a few years but in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing that the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Other celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to Ancient Greek and Roman times as they would hold festivals in honour of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Indigenous cultures recognize mothers and caregivers as the heartbeat of the family, as leaders in the community and as role models towards a better future for the generations to come. Mothers are matriarchs and lead their families and communities with great care and love.

Some kind of cool trivia surrounding Mother’s Day includes that this is one of the busiest days for phone calls. Phone traffic increases by as much as 37 percent on Mother’s Day and more phone calls are made on that day than any other day of the year.

How about making this Mother’s Day something unique? Mothers come in all forms so why not make this day something as unique as whomever you consider your Mom? In my mind a “mom” is someone who loves you unconditionally, teaches you, punishes you, worries about you and laughs and cries with you. The love of a mother is absolute, pure and everlasting. Mom is a fierce mother bear, the fortress that protects the family and the rock with the strength that we thought was not possible.

I hope that all of the moms I know, all the moms I have known and all the moms that I have never met have a special day doing something that honours them in all of their individuality.

Hanbidge is the Lead Horticulturist with Orchid Horticulture. Find us at; by email at [email protected]; on Facebook @orchidhort and Instagram at #orchidhort. Tune into GROW Live on our Facebook page or check out the Youtube channel GROW