A green thumb – it runs in the family

Even though I’m a day late, I thought I’d write a post for Mother’s Day. I don’t know if there is a genetic link to inheriting a green thumb, but if there is, I can surely thank my Mom and Grandma.

Below are two pictures of my Mom with what looks like huge tomato trees in the background! Although we lived in the Oakland neighborhood of the city of Pittsburgh (near the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University), she did not let the urban lifestyle get in her way of growing some veggies!



After we moved to the ‘burbs, she did not have a vegetable garden, which is a shame. In fact, I don’t remember anyone having a vegetable garden in our entire plan. I can only assume growing vegetables was not in vogue and people did not want to mess up their meticulously manicured lawns.

I do remember when I received a free tomato plant in school, I planted it right next to the air conditioner unit right along the house. One day I dragged my Mom outside to help me pick a tomato that was literally the size of a football. We were both so excited! I remember my Mom calling my Grandma to tell her all about it. I think my Dad (who was an amateur photographer) took about 100 pictures of me holding the giant tomato (I’m sad that I can’t find any of those pictures).

I hate having my picture taken and will only make an exception when showing off my veggies or gardens. Below is a picture of me holding a beautiful squash from my garden (this was from two years ago). Both my Mom and Dad would have been impressed!


Often my Mom would plant pansies and violas along our retaining wall. I remember one year, we were literally pulling pansies out like weeds because they had taken over every nook and cranny of the soil and my Mom couldn’t understand why it happened. My sister and I never told her that we were bored one day (or several days) and decided to pick a bunch of the pansy seed pods and scatter the seeds EVERYWHERE. And guess who was assigned weeding duty? Trust me, we never made that mistake again! I planted pansies this year in honor of that memory, but I haven’t cracked any of the seed pods open… yet.


My Grandma and Grandpa always had a big vegetable garden in their backyard. I remember trying to peek over the fence (I’m a little vertically challenged) to admire the green beans, peppers, and tomatoes. I was only granted permission once to pick a green bell pepper (and I remember being so proud of that pepper!). They also had blackberry bushes that my sister and I were allowed to pick and bring back to house by the bucket full. I think growing fruits and vegetables was just a way of life for those of my grandparent’s generation.

My Grandma’s true passion was her rose garden. She grew several different varieties and they were all big and beautiful. She didn’t have a driver’s license, so I think that her flowers were her company when she was lonely. I have a miniature sunblaze rose in my garden, and when I tend to it, I find myself thinking of her. Mine hasn’t bloomed yet this year, but it is looking healthy!


I think gardens can be a tribute to those who have left this physical world, but are still with us in spirit. Happy Mother’s Day!