Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Garden Talk

The constant change in a garden makes me realize the speed at which this life moves. I wish I could put a video camera on the garden to just watch the constant changes that occurs. I wait each spring for the beautiful Siberian Iris to emerge. They pop up, striking in their royal velvet-purple, reigning victoriously over spring in contrast to the new beds of daffodils, and together they are a feast for the eyes for a few days. Then the daffodils fade, the irises lose their color and fade into the background, and all that is left is the green stems that held each perfectly shaped bloom. But the peonies open up and taking shape in another bed are the climbing roses, budding in peach and opening to white. They are like little bouquets climbing up the trellis. Below the lambs ears perk up, as if hearing that much is going on and it is time to wake up. As the roses bloom, the hydrangeas are just waiting in the wings for their turn on stage. It's like a grand concert - one that continues through the season with little intermissions between the array of colors. Watching it is music to my eyes - rest for my soul.

And then there are the vegetables. The sugar snap peas yielded five meals for two - that's not bad considering the row was only about five feet long. Now the beans are coming up behind them, chasing them up the trellis. Squash blossoms are everywhere and I am giving thought to frying some! Tomatoes are blooming and peppers are growing. But the granddaddy of them all is an amazing cucumber plant that threatens to take over the pergola. I love this plant. No matter how I train it to grow, it says, "Great! I like this way too!" The vine and leaves seem to be strong and healthy. And every morning when I come out, it has grown another six inches. Already I have picked two cucumbers and have visions of making pickles for everyone for Christmas. I love the way the tendrils curl and wrap themselves around anything that will support it. Healthy, content, and productive.

What is it about a garden that lures us, teases us, frustrates us, soothes us? The growing season is short. The weather can be unpredictable. Pests are just waiting for the right moment to attack. But when we start to see blooms and fruit, we are thrilled that something is coming from our efforts - however great or small they may be. Returning to my garden after a few days away, I was reminded what a gift the garden has become to me and how much I learn from the lessons offered there. I'm not that talented or knowledgeable, but I love to work and dig and plant. I love to pull up and plant again. I love to cut flowers and pick tomatoes - oh, please, let me pick tomatoes this summer!
There is a verse that says, "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." Looking at a garden is true expression of that goodness. Watching a bloom open or a vegetable grow is all part of waiting on God, watching Him work, hearing Him speak. Maybe that's it. We don't have much to say in a garden. We mostly listen. As we work, our minds and our hearts study and observe. We mentally take note of what needs to be done. We make changes. We move through and pull the weeds and water the dry spots. We prune the overgrown limbs, allowing for more light to come through. And as we carry out our silent work, God speaks to us. Our own silence allows us to hear better. He tells us how much He loves us and gives us guidance and direction. He shows us a better way and rewards our efforts. I love the way Alan Jackson sings about it:

I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear the Son of God discloses
And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joys we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.


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