Garden Sense

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“Beauty is often found in the backyard of your own soul if you’ll only look for it.”

I’ve always disliked getting dirty.  I never made mud pies nor was I an “outdoor” sort of girl.  After all, have you ever seen a “Gardening Barbie” with a rake?    My first home purchase came with a yard void of any color.  A yard lacking flowers is like a white room without décor.  Decorating I understood, so the gardening seed was planted and sprouted a new passion.  I didn’t realize there were lessons to be learned that had nothing to do with gardening, and everything to do with living.

It’s hard for me to describe the love I have for my garden.  Discovering the first flower opening each spring is much like the birthing of a child.  Only God knows the exact date and time the gift will be revealed.  There is a unity of being part of something far greater than myself as I till the soil preparing a fertile home for each new addition. My landscape diagram is pulled out and each plant chronicled.  Its location, planting date and the spectrums of color are duly noted.   Planned symmetry found here is but a poor imitation of the perfection of a garden naturally planted by God.

In the stillness of early morning, dew glistens on the petals of each plant, flower and blade of grass. The irrigation system clicks on and begins its synchronized dance with cascading streams of water moving left to right following its program at the appointed time.  The metered spray gracefully arches over plants that reach out with open mouths, like small birds being fed by their mother.

Weeds, daring to intrude into the carefully cultivated banks of color, are much like sin.  I am reminded of how easily either can creep in and multiply if left unattended.   I’ve found while kneeling among the abundant trespassers, prayers are lifted up naturally and along with them my burdens.

Dusk descends quietly and fireflies begin their dance, in and out of sight, pinpoints of light.  The sounds of evening slow to the cadence of the porch swing.  Creaking wood strains against supporting chain with each push of my foot.  This is the time of day in which the garden gloves and clogs come off, and the loveliness of each garden spot can be enjoyed.

I love the “tools of the trade.” A basket of wildly colorful floral garden gloves that never release all their dirt, even after a washing, brighten my area of the garage.  Hanging from their hooks are my spade and pruners adorned with purple pansy covered handles, easily found when dropped onto the grass.  A treasured gift from my children is a straw hat with a white chiffon tie.  Although much too pretty to wear while getting dirty, the hat looks lovely caught on the corner of my potting bench.

Seasonal gardening classes lure me with possibilities found in the newest cultivars.  From azaleas to zinnias, the textures and colors of the garden beckon me from my seat.  How I love taking copious notes, never again read, but carefully retained in my garden notebook.

How could I forget the smells?  The earthy smell of mushroom compost mixed in the soil brings rich nutrients to baby plants much like Flintstone vitamins once did for my children.  Lavender, when rubbed between my fingertips and brought to my nose, emits its calming aroma some believe can bring sweet sleep. Gardenias always remind me of my grandmother with their old fashioned scent reminiscent of perfumes popular long ago and cloyingly familiar.

Honeysuckle tastes as good as it smells and brings to mind the simplicity of my childhood.   I still love to pinch off the stem’s tip and slowly draw out the one-drop of heavenly nectar found there, extending my tongue to catch it for a taste as sweet as honey.

The amazing daylily bloom, savored but a single day, reminds us to enjoy the present moment before another replaces it.  But I am more like the rose, a high maintenance flower needing much attention. If neglected, we are eaten up with infestation and begin to die, a little each day. Given devoted and consistent care, the rose and I thrive and fully blossom with our God given potential.

I love my garden because it reminds me to focus my senses on the splendor God has provided and so often goes unnoticed and unappreciated.  Gardening has taught me patience as I wait to see what it will yield each season from my previous efforts.  I’ve also discovered there is a time to sit and reflect on the work of the day and to stop moving long enough to do just that.

Gardening, much like life, offers no reward without effort, and beauty is often found in the backyard of your own soul if you’ll only look for it.

Enough pondering, I think I’ll get back to the garden.

  1. claire, 21 June, 2010

    I really enjoy your site! It is lovely.


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