– by Amelia Kirchoff, GoMacro Co-Founder
My mother was an avid gardener. As a little girl, I would work beside her in our garden in England, innocently gleaning more than I knew possible from my simple actions. She would be busy seeding-in our vegetables and tending our fruits throughout the year as well as planting the bounty of flowers which nourished us in still deeper ways. From those early observations, I have tried to emulate her earnest industriousness in my own gardening efforts ever since.
One of the many treasures that travelled with my mother from her garden in England to America, was the Dianthusbarbatusplant, more commonly referred to as Sweet William. The seeds she brought ensured that her favorite plants were always with her and now, gratefully with me. She planted them here at the farm where they thrive in our fertile clay soils. This sweetly fragrant, short-lived perennial/biennial reliably reseeds creating many successful daughter plants for our entire family to enjoy.
As my mother aged and our shared gardening experiences shifted towards visiting gardens together rather than creating them, a trip to the Chicago Botanic Japanese Gardens comes to mind. Her in her eighties, with a larger than necessary handbag for snippets and seeds, casting a discerning eye on the plants all around us, and me, ever grateful for the memory of her mischievous smile at her newest “acquisitions”.
One of her trimmings graces many of the paths in the vegetable garden today, Sedumsexangulare, Hexagon Stonecrop. Innocuous and ever persistent in the stony walkways it cohesively binds one bed to the next. A softening carpet in a rocky place. A comfort that my mom left for me. Connecting plant to memory, and her, through time, to me.
It is a joy to see my own grandchildren discover the farm for themselves. Each visit brings new interests. As younger children, they gravitated towards the insects, moths and butterflies. The entire farm becomes a giant wonderland of investigation and invites me to see it fresh again through their eyes. The older children immerse themselves in nature and the growing processes. My eldest granddaughter shared her own special brew of lemon balm tea with us being captivated by the connection of growing food, harvesting and preparing all in the same place.
For as many memories of my mother that I’ve connected to the farm, I have created memories for my daughter Jola and her family on the farm. Jola visits each season tracking the changes and observing the subtle nuances that that farm offers at every time of year. For her it is about watching the children connect to nature and sharing their finds.
For the both of us the farm becomes our living legacy to our children. Starting the GoMacro business is inextricably linked to this special place and we share those remembrances with them so that they have that living history for their futures. It is important to us that they discover those natural processes; the turn of seasons, the work of growing food, the care of animals and the thought of how we fit into all of those the natural cycles ourselves. Those principles are what guides us every day at GoMacro and the farm just physically anchors us in that rhythm.