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Mothers Gifts

It’s been popular to order plants from catalogs for quite some time, even before the Internet. Here’s an example, “Lovett’s special catalogue of roses geraniums cannas palms carnations, chrysanthemums gladiolus, lilies, hardy herbaceous plants, and other summer flowering plants and bulbs,” (1899). (U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library)

Prices of cut flowers skyrocket before Mother’s Day. But a gift certificate from a local nursery is also an ideal gift for a gardening mother, and one can also order an amazing array of plants online.

I spend a lot of time looking at those online offerings and am always sorely tempted to order more than I should and earlier than I should. I always watch the shipping costs carefully, however, as they can add so much to the total cost. Of course, I order when there is free shipping, and I don’t order heavy items.

For example, I order bulbs, such as amaryllis, but I never order them when they include heavy pebbles or containers to grow them in. The bulbs on their own weigh so much less. I also order small plants in the spring, such as little chrysanthemum plants that I can plant now and then grow on so they are big and beautiful by fall. That provides good bang for the buck.

When I want to order roses for a gift, I often bypass the ephemeral cut flowers and instead order a plant, preferably one grown on its own root, not grafted. Grown on their own roots, roses seem to have a better chance of winter survival. Some of the heirloom roses are hardier also, and of course, I am a supporter of roses bred in the Midwest (such Griffith Buck introductions) since that is where I garden.

Cut flowers are lovely, but there are alternative gifts for mothers who garden.


  • For small chrysanthemum plants, I like Bluestone Perennials ( / 800 852 5243)
  • For roses, I order from Heirloom Roses online (
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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