I've spent more time outside this Spring than most any other- partially because I've been determined to create some outdoor space to sit, enjoy, and pray in, and partially because I haven't had much else to do, work-wise. Despite what many of you may think, who tell me my somewhat unconventional life looks so busy, truth be told, in between gigs or promises of gigs...
there's a lot of waiting...
**insert more crickets**
and more waiting...
and everything inside that comes with the uncertainty of waiting.
But we all know waiting isn't comfortable, so that's not what I want to share today. Instead, I'd like to invite you for a moment to consider the benefits and opportunities of waiting in the context of a garden.
I hope at least one of these musings will plant itself like a wildflower seed in your mind that will pop up to grace the unexpected place when you most need a beautiful sight.
The following thoughts are for you if:
you find yourself in a transition
you're waiting for something
you've experienced a loss
you have a garden...or...
you'd like a garden All of these are true for me.
So without further ado...some thoughts on gardening:
1. Each plant requires particular care.
The trumpet vine grows aggressively, so cut it back to basically a nub. "But will it grow back and cover the trellis again?" I wondered. Yes. Yes, indeed it will. Trust the instructions. Some people grow aggressively after being cut back to nubs, too. Others need a gentle hand and more attention.
2. Be relentless in clearing the soil.
Here the soil has a lot of tan clay- and ROCK....lots of it. The pickaxe has become the most useful tool in my garage- who woulda thunk? I'm not a pickaxe-my-way-through-the-world kinda person, but certain terrain requires effort, exertion, and determination. And after you get the swing of it (pun intended), I must admit it's thrilling to see how big of a rock you can manage to excavate (some of them with help). And the sense of satisfaction...well... it's worth it. Go deep, uncover, clear out.
3. Stay on top of the weeds.
I HATE my grass. Really. Passionately. It grows deeply and thickly. It works it's way under my barrier into the depths of my plant beds and keeps popping up where it's not supposed to be- even through the plastic I've been laying to kill it. (Perhaps we should all strive to be more like my grass.) When I was little my dad used to tell my brothers and me to "Drop it before it breaks out," referencing Proverbs 17:14, "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." Do the work to dig out the weeds; mend the cracks in the dam; mind the signs of the little now problems that could become the later big ones.
4. If building a rock wall, make it wider at the bottom and use the flat stones, so stacking is easier.
I don't know how many of you plan to make a rock wall in your lifetime, but I just did, and I used the advice I got from the arts department gentleman I met at my last shoot. I imagine we're all trying to build something sturdy we hope will last and hold back with weight of anything that might be slanted against us (like my side yard's slope, for instance.) It will take more time to prepare the space for those larger rocks that hold up everything else, but doing so will save the headache of rebuilding later. Building well is worth the time- for friendships, romantic relationships, a spiritual walk, a family legacy, you name it. Ask the advice and put in the work. You'll be really proud of yourself...at least I was!
5. Don't discredit what makes you smile.
I took a long time figuring out what plants I wanted in our front yard- and then to stomach the fact that they'd be expensive. These aren't plants for eating, but for beauty and insects and color. And that's ok. My garden doesn't have to be fully edible to be worthwhile, and for the enjoyment I've already had placing them and watching them, the expense has been worth it. Beauty alone is also of God and, I believe, meant to point us to him. The whimsy of the butterfly bush's dopey conical blooms, the boldness of the orange cala lilies, the delicate form of the blue delphinium I can't wait to see blossom...all of these can be teachers about he who made them and who causes them to grow when all we do is plant and water. So, if perchance you relate to my intermission in any way, I encourage you to hold onto the fact that you, like my plants, have been chosen to display the beauty of him who made you- wherever you've been planted- and that what you need for growth is really quite simple: Light . Water. Time. And perhaps some regular pruning.
6. Lastly- gardening isn't about perfection and it's never fully finished.
It's a process, it's changing, it's living, it's trial and error, it's "Why isn't this plant happy here and what did I do wrong...??" It's "WOW- I can't believe the purple heart came back after that winter....!!" It's standing back to look at your work and pausing to enjoy it- feeling a sense of completion in the middle of the incomplete- I believe as God did after he created- and taking a water break. It's sitting back in expectation of what will be in years when the plants take on a life of their own. Perhaps it's something like watching live theatre...
Now enough of musings...here are some development pics thus far of the complete/incomplete side yard...
I hope you can find some joy in whatever you are planting/gardening/building right now. Here's to June and summer and making the most of every day.