When you have a strong, olive-skinned, raven-haired beauty with brains. Then you put into the mix a fiery, open-minded, yet opinionated, passion for truth and justice. When you add in artistic talent, to a keen eye for balance, rhythm and repetition in artistic floral designs …..You get a formidable opponent. Whether it’s in political or religious arguments, or as a competitor in floral designs.

I never told my mother how good she was at such things. I should have. I really enjoyed her because she was smart. I learned a whole lot by arguing with her. It did not matter who “won” because no one kept score. Neither of us got angry, so it became sort of a sport.

She would later in life critique my floral arrangements for competitions and was my harshest, best critic. Only later in life when you look back on these things do you really appreciate someone. I told her that I loved her and I wish I had told her that I really enjoyed her. I think she knew it at some level. To have a mother that you have fun with, laugh with, learn from and enjoy being with, is very rare.



This Mother’s Day, Mama, I’m missing the smell of your magnolia blooms in the entrance hall… the sound of your laughter. Missing my biggest cheerleader, fiercest critic and one of my favorite friends.– Mary McNeill Collier May 9,2019