Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have a couple of friends who are amazing gardeners. They use containers and raised beds and their backyard landscapes look like something out of "House Beautiful". Even Dominick has his vegetable garden out in large stock tanks in our backyard. Everywhere I look there is life, there is beauty, there are those who have the proverbial "Green Thumb" which I have always lacked. Oh, there is the ocassional house plant I have been able to keep alive for a year or more, there are geraniums which have lasted an entire season every once in awhile. But no one would ever call me a gardener, no, in fact those who know me well would laugh at the notion! I have even often joked about how amazing it is that my children have lived through being parented by me since I have no skill at all in keeping plants or goldfish alive! Glad our Social Workers have never used that as a guideline for approval.

Is it that I don't lavish enough love on them? Maybe...or it could be that I offer too much by over watering. I don't have the knack for pinching off dead flowers to encourage more blossoms, I don't know how much to fertilize, and frankly, if I am being honest, oftentimes I will walk right by them for days on end paying them no attention. Those gorgeous pots that I lovingly selected at the nursery a couple of months ago remain unnoticed in the busyness of my everyday life. I guess the fact is, that as much as I envy others for their gifts of gardening, as much as I would love to be surrounded by beautiful blossoms and fragrant just isn't important enough to me to make the effort. And that's the God's Honest Truth. I don't like admitting it, it makes me sound lazy and careless, but it still remains true.

But the other day as I was driving home from one of those gardner friend's homes, I was struck by something. We all have gardens we tend, they just might not look like a living Monet painting. My garden is different, yet ever so important. You don't enter my garden through an adorable white picket fence, and the blooms may not look very traditional, but it is nurtured and tended with great love. My garden is my family, my blossoms are my husband and children, the gate to my picket fence is the front door to our home.

I have a field as well, it extends beyond my virtual picket fence, and that is the larger world beyond my home. It is a field of wildflowers which includes friends and adopted family from all walks of life. I water as I can, I apply fertilizer ocassionally when time allows, I see them as adding great dimension and beauty to my life and deserving of my attention and love as I can offer it once I have cared for the growing things within the confines of my picket fence. Yes, that vast field contains a few nasty weeds as well, as any wild field will, but somehow the wildflowers that symbolize those closest to our family circle always seem to crowd out the weeds. If I so choose, I can look out my imaginary cottage window and see the results of my gardening as far as the eye can see.

I have special varieties of flora that I grow in my garden, they are Asian varieties that are more beautiful than any other. They have at times been staked so they will grow to stand tall and strong, I murmer softly to them and encourage them to grow, I express great joy and clap my hands in delight at their numerous blossoms. I recognize that some day there will be cuttings available to offer to others and these well loved plants will then take root elsewhere yet I will still retain a small piece of each.

Right now there are cuttings waiting to be planted in our family garden, and they reside far, far away. I continue to prepare the soil for those that wait, I will have everything all ready for them to be gently placed into the nutrient rich ground. They will join our garden where they will be lovingly tended and will hopefully thrive rather than wither. And one day I will have a vase sitting center stage on our dining room table creating a splendid bouquet filled with mature blossoms I have nurtured from youth.

So while I often sit in quiet envy of those whose gardens are magnificent representations of God's creative artistry, I need to recognize that my garden just may not be recognizable as such, that my cultivation occurs in different fields.

Thus far, as I look across my fledgling garden, I am THRILLED with the results and as my gaze moves beyond the picket fence to the field that boarders it, I see boundless possibilities and much to nurture.


Anonymous said...

Our Dear Cindy,

When we read this, Mr Steve's comment was, "This could easily be a new 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' addition." Your skill with words and the insight you share are heartwarming and reassuring in these troubled times. Knowing you and your family makes it even more precious. Keep up the writing. We LOVE IT!
J and S

Christina said...

This is beautiful... :)

Kelly and Sne said...

Very well said!

Though I do like to garden myself - veggies more than flowers. I'm trying to get Miras interested in it but he seems to be afraid of bugs!

Carrie DeLille said...

Your garden takes the greatest care of all and oh how they've blossomed-nothing more beautiful!!