Flowers and my Mother

oma crop
My mother in her late forties

Mother’s Day has come and gone but not a single day goes by when I don’t remember my Oma. Oma loved flowers. She grew them, she studied them, she painted them. She was curious and imaginative. She delighted in nature. Today when I see the colors of a fallen leaf, study the bark patterns on a tree and thumb through Ansel Adam’s photographs…. I remember my mother.Om in garden

cleaning silverJPG
I am cleaning mom’s silver medals using this baking soda and aluminum foil method I found on Readers Digest
oma's medals
Medals my mother won at the Cacher Club Flower Show in 1958

Oma was an avid gardner. Back when we lived in the tea gardens she won many medals at the Annual Flower Show at the Cacher Club: once 10 in a single year (1958). That year she took Best of Antirrhinum, Dianthus, (I never  heard of these flowers I had to Google them: Antirrhinum BTW is another name for Snap Dragon – who knew! ) Pansy, Gladiola, Carnation, Dahlia, Gerbera, Lettuce, Brussel Sprout and Celery! Quite a remarkable feat considering she was the only Indian memsahib competing against British ladies who are passionate, skilled gardeners and fiercely competitive! My mother gave them a run for their money by walking off with all the medals that year. Dad said everybody got tired of clapping. These medals are old and tarnished. Today I will give them a good scrub. I googled “how to clean silver,” and came up with this method using baking soda and aluminum foil. Let’s see if this works.

After mom passed away. I brought back her favorite book with me to America: Flowers of the World by Frances Perry. It’s a hefty authoritative volume and mom’s copy is much thumbed and covered with gift wrap for added protection over the dust jacket. Mom would put homemade dust jackets on all her favorite books to protect them from wear. Sometime she used pictures from old calendars. flower book inside pageflower book coverI was reminded of this many years ago when I loaned a book to a Thai friend of mine, here in Arizona. She returned my book covered with a homemade dust jacket with a picture of an Arctic wolf. I will never forget that. It touched my heart. That kind of care and reverence for books belongs to older cultures. We don’t see that in America.

ceramic plateHere is a small ceramic dish my mom made by molding clay over a glass form. I fired it in my kiln (I used to be a ceramic artist back then) and my mom painted a sprig of chrysanthemum in deft free-hand brush strokes completely from memory! IMG_4700Today I use this dish for my guitar picks and I remember my mother as I drink my cup of tea every morning.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.  Please remember to make time for the ones you love. I have to constantly remind myself of this. It’s so easy to forget. Cheers!

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.”
Georgia O’Keeffe



  1. What a gifted woman she was, and she has such a gifted daughter. A lovely post. I hope the silver cleaning works a treat and I love that little dish, it’s beautiful.


    1. Shona Patel says:

      Thank you Lorna. I delight in your parents too. They are very dear to me. Give them my love. The silver cleaning was not 100% I think the tarnish has set it. I will have to try something else. Any tips? xx


      1. You’re very sweet, and my parents send their best back to you. I don’t have any great advice about cleaning silver, I’m afraid. On the odd occasion when I’ve done it I’ve used a product called Duraglit, which is a sort of wadding embalmed with something or other that, when rubbed against metal, makes it all shiny. Do you have that in the States? Not perhaps the most ecologically sound option, but it does work.


  2. diana kurlak says:

    What a gorgeous story. Gorgeous! Thank you for writing about your mother and the obvious love and respect you carry for her…… And yes, the baking soda and aluminum foil “trick” absolutely works!! :))
    To beauty and reverence,

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Shona Patel says:

      I am glad you enjoyed it Diana. Have a good weekend! xx


  3. Paula McKirchy says:

    I so enjoyed reading about your mother, I too miss my mother a lot. We are fortunate to have good memories. Looking forward to your new book. Namaste.


    1. Shona Patel says:

      I never knew how much my mother meant, until she was gone. Yes, the good memories sustain us. Many others are not so lucky. Thank you for stopping by my blog.xx


  4. Souri Misra says:

    Am sure that our parents would have known each other. In 1958 my Dad was the Doc at Longai Valley, Cachar and would have met at the Cachar Club!


    1. Shona Patel says:

      Souri, I have no doubt our parents would have known each other. Indians were so rare in the tea gardens back then. Have a good weekend.xx


  5. sporranmaker says:

    Your Mum and Dad were lovely people when I knew them(and their 2 bonny wee daughters) in Mariani Club. I must have known them or of them In the Retreat Club in Cachar too,in 1957-8-9 but I was a brand new Mistri Sahib and only really knew the young men, and young ladies of course! xx


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