Saturday, August 14, 2010

Garden Surprises

I enjoy planting things but I'm not very good at growing them.

There's something calming about plunging your hands into a pot of a dirt. I'm always excited about the prospect of whatever it is and how beautiful it might become. Usually though, it either never grows at all or dies shortly after.

Part of it is due to me forgetting about the plants and not watering them enough. The other is that both my thumbs are white, not green, and I'm just pretty unlucky when it comes to gardening.

I've had many surprises in my yard this year though. Some where joyful and some, not so much. The poison sumac was by far the worst yard experience of my summer and I care to never repeat it. In fact, I'm seriously considering making that flower bed a rock garden because the viney little suckers just keep reappearing.

Vines of all shapes and sizes seem to like our house this year and have spread all the way around it. We haven't planted any of them but they've somehow appeared. Honeysuckle has popped up in the front bushes, which I love to smell, but they are kind of taking over my landscaping. In the back, morning glories have crept and crawled their way up the deck, wrapping around the railing. They are very pretty, as when the sun just begins to peek in the sky, they open up smiling back. However, they are wildly attacking other plants in the yard and the cat's water bowl!

We purposefully planted tomatoes this season because I love them so much and could literally eat them every day. They've been a disappointing surprise though as most of them haven't produced. But each time I see a glimpse red popping from those plants, I know a tasty surprise has grown again. I may not get a tomato a day but it really is like a gift each time they grow.

One of the biggest surprises in our yard has been the pumpkins. Tim tossed a couple of our Halloween pumpkins last year, wondering what they'd do. Now our backyard is like the Great Pumpkin Patch and I expect Charlie Brown and his gang will be visiting any day. I'm amazed at how fast they stretch across the yard and bloom. It's brought Noah a lot of excitement, as he loves to watch the stages they go through and can't wait to decorate them once full grown.

Our most beautiful surprise, and what has brought me the most joy, is Austin's tree. We planted it last year on his birthday. It wasn't the tree I wanted but the best match I could find for our spot. We placed it under his bedroom window, in our backyard, which also happens to be right by our deck.

This spring we were greeted with tiny white blooms against bright green leaves. Later tiny red buds appeared. The week of his birthday, as if he touched it and brought it to life, vibrant red blossoms filled the tree. It was such a beautiful view for our family, who gathered to celebrate and remember him. Now, there are various shades of red - from pink to deep burgundy, followed again by tiny white flowers. The tree is beyond anything I could've imagined when we planted it a little over a year ago. It greets us every morning with a new and different hello. The tree brings us comfort and is a reminder of how life continues after loss.

In fact, our yard is like a growing example of life. Nothing is how we planned it to be but when we let go and let God, the surprises are often more joyful than we expect.


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