My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

#TrailingSpouseStories: Growing A Garden (Or So We Hope)


Welcome to this month’s run of the #TrailingSpouseStories.  This month in the Philippines is “Flores de Mayo”, or “Flowers of May” a month-long festival in honor of Our Lady.  Inspired by this, May’s #TrailingSpouseStories prompt is:  BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.  How do you think you’ve bloomed in your past and / or current location?

Click on the links below this post to read the other participants’ stories.


In the beginning of time when God was handing out green thumbs, I probably wasn’t even in the back of the line waiting.  In fact, I may have missed the memo altogether.  I have absolutely no desire and no talent whatsoever in gardening, in any shape or form.

I distinctly remember it being a part of our grade school curriculum, where once a week we had to get into the dirt in our school and try and plant something.  I actually spent a better part of that quarter pulling out weeds and silently cursing my teacher.  And to top it all off, nothing sprouted.

As you can imagine, plants and gardens are not a requirement in my home.  Flowers once in a while sure, and on special occasions like mother’s day, valentine’s and anniversaries (my, I keep dropping my husband all these hints! ;)), but not one that I would grow from scratch.

It is indeed funny how God works because as it turns out, my girls LOVE gardening.  I don’t know why, and I don’t know how (whose genes did they inherit anyway?!), but they do.  Jamie learned about it in school and prides herself in watering all those plants every once in a while.

Jamie proudly showing me her watering skills.

Jamie proudly showing me her watering skills.

And Sam — well, Sam has always been a nature-person.  Sam wants a garden of her own to grow.

This was in fact fueled by some Girl Scout activity, where to earn a Flower Garden Journey Award , Sam needs to be responsible for a garden she grows.  In effect, she needs to plant the seed, water it and watch it grow.  Whether it was the prospect of yet another badge, or the whole activity altogether, Sam was fairly excited about it.  Yeeesh.

That week she was recovering from pneumonia, Sam stayed home with me and I constantly had to find something for her to do.  She kept reminding me of this particular Watering Can award though, and so one lunch time, we finally made the trip up to our local nursery.

Happy to be out of the house and in the Nursery.

Happy to be out of the house and in the Nursery.

I had asked the woman at the counter which ones were the easiest to grow and I also asked her for tips as to how we would possibly get started.  She pointed us towards the seedling packs, and I asked Sam to choose from the Sweet Pea range (upon the lady’s advice).

Idiots guide to gardening right here.

Idiot’s guide to gardening right here.

We got everything we needed and I was ready to head out, but Sam was still all smiles wanted to look around and explore.

She studied the names of the flowers and went all around looking for possible plants we could put in our future home.  Yes, she was already planning her future garden.

Future GARDEN?!  Good God.

We waited for Jamie to get home from school that day before we finally got down and dirty outside.  The girls filled 12 little pots with seed soil (supposedly better than fertilizer for start up seeds), and then we put one seed in each.  They covered it with a bit more soil and then went to water them and set them on our balcony.  I figured that after this whole exercise the girls would forget about it.

The girls hard at work.

The girls hard at work.

To my surprise, everyday, Sam and Jamie would remember they needed to water their pots twice a day.  On the days that they couldn’t due to their busy schedule, Sam would remind me just as she was getting out of the car for school, “Mom, please water the plants this morning ok?”  And really, I’d have no choice but to water them because it was always the first question she’d ask when I picked her up.

My husband (the optimist), chuckled under his breath when he’d heard of our project.  “Good Luck” was all he said to me when the kids were out of ear shot.  And I admit, I wasn’t optimistic either.  I thought about the weeds and the worms of my grade school days, and I thought to prepare my speech for the girls to explain why it may not have worked.  There’s always a lesson in failure after all.

But one morning, Sam awoke ahead of us all and I was still in bed when she came bounding back into the room.  “Mom!  Mom!  MOM!” 

I thought something bad had happened and so I leaped up concerned.  “Come see!” she said excitedly, and ran back out for me to follow.

And lo and behold…

*gasp*!  It's a Miracle!

*gasp*! It’s a Miracle!  **dance of joy**

We did it mom!  We did it!”  She exclaimed, and ran back in to wake Jamie.

I was pretty speechless too, and in disbelief that there was something in that one little pot.  It was my first “sprout” in 30 years — and really, it wasn’t even all mine.  But nonetheless I was happy for us all.  A one in twelve success rate didn’t matter — there was SOMETHING.  For the first time in my life, I realized I didn’t feel such disdain for gardening after all.

If it wasn’t for the girls’ patience and perseverance (I think Sam would talk to the plants too when she’d go out to water them), I don’t think we’d see any kind of result.  And if she didn’t pester me about planting the seeds and growing a garden, we probably never would have even tried.

It’s funny how the world works, and what insight a tiny little sprout has brought into my life.

In all the years I’ve been a #trailingspouse, I’ve also been a mother.  And motherhood has changed me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined, hopefully for the better.  Growing a garden for instance is something I probably wouldn’t do out of my own volition.  But because it interests my daughters, I’ve opened myself up to it.  I’ve actually gotten excited about it because they’re so excited about it too.  Maybe it’s not that hard after all.

The little green sprout is a reminder of this whole #trailingspouse experience.   While there are many challenging unknown factors (including pre-set mental conditions) that can hinder you from “blooming”, going with it can lead to good things.  Something always comes out of it.  And if you’re open to the change and work through it, the garden will most likely follow.


Clara of Expat Partner Survival talks about what it was like living somewhere so humid that growth was everywhere. An ongoing battle with mould, ants and sweat. She also talks about how life in “paradise” isn’t what it seems in Blooming Hell – Life on a Hothouse Island.

For, Didi of D for Delicious, it is not rocket science that plants need roots to grow, but for trailing spouses it is not the case in #TrailingSpouseStories: How To Grow Without Roots.

Liz Smith of Secrets of A Trailing Spouse talks about how becoming a trailing spouse is one of the best things she has ever done in Bloomin’ Marvellous.

Tala Ocampo put her HR hat on and explored the key competencies needed to “bloom where you’re planted” in What Does It Take To Bloom Where You’re Planted?.; and

Yuliya Khilko of TinyExpats says that whichever way you bloom, you’re not likely to remain a greenhouse plant in Not a Greenhouse Plant.

Author: mymommyology

I am the mom that I am because of my two wonderful little girls. They teach me everyday.


  1. Pingback: Not a greenhouse plant | TinyExpats

  2. The photos of them gardening are just too cute :))

  3. So cute your kids! See kahit nga wala sa seed (parents) ang gardening, the kids managed to get some green thumb magic!

    I would like to have a garden, and have tried, still trying. I got a few basil plants (in water) and crossing my fingers they’d survive.

    Sobrang galing ng kids mo! Good job momma

  4. What a lovely story, and good to know that there’s hope for me as a gardener after all. Gardening is one of those things that I really like the idea of but don’t have the patience for all that weeding!

  5. I agree with Liz, what a lovely story! Makes me go all “awwwwww.” It’s cool how much of a teamwork this all is and that is what makes things bloom and grow 🙂 Hugs! I miss you! Let’s catch up soon!

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