Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Plant A Flower, Grow A Memory

Thank God it’s Monday, once again I look forward to all Mondays, as they’re my annual 52 Chances, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you. Thus, happy Monday!



Tomorrow is National Plant A Flower Day. Unfortunately, it’s a couple of months too early for planting flowers in Michigan – at least, outside. It’s also too early, here, to even clean out the garden beds; as that’s where our spring pollinators, like bees, like to hibernate.

You’d need a greenhouse for planting flowers, this early, around here; or, like me, plant your seeds in pots, in your basement – where it’s not as dry as the rest of the house. About 6 to 8 weeks later, I transplant my seedlings outside – usually after Mother’s Day when it’s mostly safe from frost.

My early spring bloomers – like tulips, hyacinth, and daffodils (to name a few) – are from bulbs (not seeds) I planted in the fall, before the “first frost”. Crocus is usually the first flower I see, blooming in my gardens. Probably because it’s short, while the others’ stalks and leaves are still growing before the flower is produced.

Decades ago, when my kids were young and in elementary school, I volunteered as a Campfire Boys & Girls group leader for them and some of their friends. It was fun and it left the kids with many happy memories, which they still fondly recall.

The Campfire organization, back then, was very similar to the Scouts’ – learning, applying, and earning badges – with a few differences. The kids could join Campfire as early as Kindergarten (instead of first grade, as in Scouts). Plus, Campfire groups could be co-ed and it was much easier to volunteer, as a group leader.

One of our spring badge projects, was to plant flower seeds in pots, which the kids decorated. For another badge, they cared for the plants, until they were grown; and, on May Day, they put their flowering pots by the doors of local seniors, for an anonymous surprise.



By the way, yesterday kicked off National Girl Scout Week, which is always the week of National Girl Scout Day. The first Girl Scouts group was organized on March 12th, 1912 (in Savannah, GA). It became nationally official in 1950, offering young girls their first experience in “sisterhood”.

Mom was briefly involved in our local, Algonac Brownies and Girl Scouts’ Troops, when my sisters and I were young; before her time was consumed by her growing, family-operated, recipe business. I remember my older sister being in Girl Scouts, while I was in “The Brownies”, a pre-Girl Scouts group. But I don’t recall “flying up” io Girl Scouts, myself.

‘No Laughing Matter’ (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Oct. 6, 1977)…

A syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer…


A Brownie leader is ‘Patience’, with a smile in her pocket and a note in her hand from the mother who couldn’t send cupcakes because her oven broke down. She’s the unpaid babysitter of the Sesame Street set. She is talent – a sit-upon-seamstress with the Singer Touch and a flag bearer out with the flu on vestige night.

A Brownie leader is a woman whose seven-year-old daughter comes home crying: ‘But, Mom, you’ve just got to be our leader or our troop will break up and I can’t be a Brownie!’


She’s a small lump of helplessness who couldn’t say ‘no’, wandering around people’s garages and through their basements looking for remnants of worth for her troop’s next excursion into the outer limits of creativity.

She’s also the one who begs the phone company to give her the unlisted number of the only mother who hasn’t sent Kool-Aid to a meeting.

A Brownie leader lives to serve alone. She’s the one who is saved by that bubbling bundle of energy with three school sweatshirt campaigns to her credit, who jumps to her feet at the mothers’ get-acquainted tea and absolutely insists: ‘Just leave the cookie sales to me, Mary Ann. I’ll take care of everything!’

And where is that same mother a month later? She’s moved to another state… Quite suddenly, in fact. A Brownie leader is one whose calendar dispatcher leaves without notice for Florida for the winter with no substitute to deliver those 387 calendars to the west side of town.


A Brownie leader is the woman who develops calloused earlobes from dialing her way through phone numbers of those mothers who are not on maternity leave or saving felt swatches for her.

She faces a thankless existence, searching for mothers with station wagons to chaperone a trip to the Ice Capades on Saturday. She’s the one whose husband must learn to thaw hamburger for supper, whose family must wade through a living room rehearsal hall for ‘flying up’ speeches.

She’s the one who must transform soup cans into pencil holders for Father’s Day, who lives in a Limberlost of library paste and seven-year-olds who lose their dues at recess.

She’s courage with a Kleenex in her pocket, fighting her way across a 20-foot moat manned by fire-breathing dragons that protect the back door of a mother who still has a few bars of Sweetheart soap and a handful of sequins to be used for Christmas crafts.

She’s the one who finds mothers hiding behind armchairs when she calls them to help. You can spot a Brownie leader anywhere. She’s usually the one in the [brown] beanie and orange neck tie at the express counter of the A&P, with two basket-carts full of cupcakes and Kool-Aid.

How soon they all forget! She wasn’t asking for a Saccher Torte or Napoleons frosted in whipped cream – only a cake baked in the shape of Juliet Low. Old brownie leaders never die! They just go on to make commercials for Excedrin!

When the St. Clair chapter of Campfire dissolved, in the 1990s, my kids decided to joined the local Scouts’ troops. They soon lost interest, however; missing the fun we shared together in our co-ed group, as happy memories were then planted in their minds. On that note, let’s return to the subject of tomorrow’s National Plant A Flower Day.

Michigan’s planting seasons are varied across the state. It’s the 11th largest state, by area (located in the northeastern quadrant of the U.S.), mostly surrounded by large bodies of water; both of which contribute greatly to the effects of its weather system and growing seasons.


The half-way point in the Northern Hemisphere, between the equator and north pole – also known as the 45th Parallel – cuts across Michigan’s “Tip-of-the-Mitt” area, from Alpena, going west to South Manitou Island (just off “the pinky”). Due to its wide range of varying temperatures, this state has numerous Plant Hardiness Zones, ranging from 4 to 6.

Where I am, in southeastern Michigan, along the St. Clair River, it’s considered Zone 6; which is further divided into sub-zones, A and B, due to other contributing factors. For example, Michigan’s temperature, along its “coastline”, is normally a bit cooler than it is even a mile inland, let alone more.

In big cities, with a lot of heat-absorbing cement, temperatures are normally warmer than in the suburbs, where there’s more cool grass and shade trees – but it’s still cooler near the water. Planting zones range, in scale, from 1 (in the coldest zone, nearest to the poles) to 13 (at the hottest, nearest to the equator). The continental U.S. sits mainly in zones 3 to 10.

Originating in France, floriography has been around for more than two centuries. It’s defined as the language of flowers. Within it, every known flower is associated with at least one meaning. Flowers are used to represent everything – our individual states, the whole country, every month, each zodiac sign, various feelings, and more.

Initially derived from ancient myths and legends, many flowers’ meanings evolved and changed over time and through changing generations. Moreover, different colors have added different meanings.

Red roses have always stood for romance and eternal love. However, red poppies have come to symbolize remembrance for military members lost in action. Peonies now represent hope for a happy life or marriage. Calla lilies signify commitment, while daisies denote youth and innocence.

Valentine’s Day is the biggest flower-giving holiday, closely followed by Mother’s Day. California produces more cut flowers, by a large margin, than any other state in the union. However, most of the cut flowers sold here are imported.

At the turn of the 20th century, garden clubs began forming. They generally promote beautification, through flowers, as well as a love for botany and conservation. Plant A Flower Day is still a fairly new observance, beginning only 6 years ago; but people have been planting and enjoying flowers for centuries.

Unless you’re allergic, there are so many physical and mental benefits to enjoy, from planting flowers. Walking through or sitting in a garden is a peaceful activity, free of strife from the hustle and bustle of life; which is very beneficial to our mental well-being by decreasing anxiety and depression.

Two hours of gardening can burn 648 calories, depending on the tasks performed – tilling, digging, planting, weeding, mulching, composting, watering, and pruning. Meanwhile, we’re feeding our bodies Vitamin D while we’re out in the sunshine (a natural source) for it. A win-win all around!

For Plant A Flower Day, celebrate by having a garden picnic, going to a nursery, buying a new flowering pot or hanging basket, or decorating your garden. Add a seating area, where you can enjoy it up close. Give a gardening gift, like seed kits or potted flowers.

Since I can’t plant flowers outside, I’m honoring the celebration by designing my flower garden layout for the new planting season. Meanwhile, I bought silk flowers from my local “Dollar Tree” store, to create some spring-beckoning color accents in window boxes and planters.

You can have a “Flower Pot Party”, with some light snacks and drinks. Provide guests the pots, paints, soil, seeds/seedlings, and get creative. Planting flowers is super easy and lots of fun, as well as being environmentally friendly; attracting beneficial pollinators like bees, birds, and butterflies.


Since March is National Sauce Month, here’s Mom’s imitation for “Big Boy Shrimp Sauce”; as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 7).


P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


March also observes… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, and National Women’s History Month. Unofficially, March is also Maple Sugaring Month, in Michigan. [NOTE: Lent began on Feb. 14th and will run through March 28th (for 2024).]

Today is also… National Johnny Appleseed Day and National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day. Plus, as the day after Daylight Savings Time Day (for 2024), it’s also… National Napping Day.

Tomorrow is… National Baked Scallops Day. [NOTE: Mar. 12th is also the anniversary of a wonderful story about Mom, as the Recipe DetectiveTM, that appeared in Woman’s World (1991), written by Una McManus.]

Wednesday, March 13th, is… National Good Samaritan Day and National Coconut Torte Day.

Thursday, March 14th, is… National Children’s Craft Day, National Learn About Butterflies Day, National Pi Day, National Potato Chip Day, and National Write Down Your Story Day.



Friday, March 15th, is… American Legion Birthday, National Everything You Think is Wrong Day, National Kansas Day, National Pears Helene Day, and National Shoe the World Day.



March 16th is… National Artichoke Hearts Day, Everything You Do Is Right Day, and National Freedom of Information Day. Plus, as the third Saturday in March (for 2024), it’s also… National Quilting Day.

Sunday, March 17th, is… National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day and St. Patrick’s Day.


…11 down, 41 more to go!

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