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Please excuse my shouting, but I’m so darned glad that the kidney garden is finally done. And by “done,” I mean no more crabgrass or other miscellaneous weeds. It took me nearly 2 weeks of being out there daily, but it’s finished. I found myself doing a lot of thinking as I was weeding and making sure that the bulbs I planted were not being disturbed, so please excuse me if I get a bit didactic for a bit. I don’t do this often, but I want to get it out of my head, and putting it down here is the best way to do that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. Weeds

  • Although sometimes weeds look just like weeds and something that you clearly don’t want in your garden, sometimes they look sort of pretty. Oddly enough, some of the weeds that were out there actually fooled me in to thinking I might have planted them. I had to consult my “master plan” (the schematic I drew of how I wanted the garden to look when I was done) to determine if they were things that I planted as bulbs or “volunteers” that came from somewhere else. Turns out they were “volunteers” and nothing I planted, but the blooms that were on them were pretty. Which made me think: how many times does something that’s undesirable in my life masquerade as something “pretty”? Do I stop to examine it or take it at face value? Do I bother to go back and consult my goals and “master plan” to see if it ultimately will fit in our lives, or do we just let it flourish unchecked?<p>
  • I found a large amount of grass (not just crabgrass) that was growing in my garden. Now grass in and of itself isn’t exactly a weed. But if you ask a master gardener what a weed is, he or she will tell you that it’s anything you don’t want growing where it is. And that can include grass. For me, it definitely includes grass. I groused about it as I was pulling it up, but then I thought a bit more. Grass grows uninhibited where the soil is good. So really, it’s a compliment to my cultivation-skills and soil-enrichment abilities. Admittedly, it’s a compliment that doesn’t hold much sway power over me, but it’s still a compliment. But grass also sends out “runners” for roots. Not just regular roots, but these wiry, thick, white-ish roots that zoom all over the place. Not just under the grass clump, but deep down, and quite a ways from the actual grass plant. So applying the same metaphor to our lives, I had to ask myself if there were things like that in my life. Things that maybe I planted one day, thinking that it would be nice to have established later on, but became a bit invasive “underground” in my world. Habits that became a bit of an obsession, or thought patterns that invaded my conscious and subconscious thinking. These sorts of things may seem harmless enough, but if we try to pull them out of our virtual garden and don’t get all the “runner roots,” they will (and I do mean will) come back when we least expect it. And by that time, the roots are well-established and quite hard to find and pull out all of them.

2. Soil

  • In some ways, I think our lives are like a bed of soil. Some areas of my garden was hard and compacted, but it still held weed-roots. Other areas were easy to dig and had been recently cultivated. All of it will be better by this time next year, as I’ll have worm compost to add to it, but right now, it’s got the benefit of some fertilizer and lots of time spent manually turning it. Of we are actively trying to improve our lives, I think we tend to have richer “soil” (lives) for it–it’s cultivated, aerated, and hospitable for all sorts of things (good and bad!) to grow. But cultivating our soil isn’t just a once-in-a-lifetime thing; it’s got to be a regular event. Or else we’ll find that weed seeds germinate just as well as regular seeds do in the soil of our lives, and we’ll also find that our “soil” can become hard, crusty, and compacted with the pressures that life brings. Worms are also essential for gardens, and philosophically speaking, a little poop in our lives can either make us stink or it can fertilize us. We can choose to flourish or let it make us bitter and stinky.

3. Seeds & Bulbs

  • I planted a good number of bulbs this spring; freesia, anemones, begonias, canna lilies, stella de oro lilies, daffodils, and the like. I also planted annuals (verbena, sweet alyssum, straw flower, snapdragons) and perennials (english daisies, pink allium-type something-or-other). Some of them are starting to pop through the ground (the stellas, cannas, and freesia), and some have yet to make an appearance (anemones, begonias). Of course, some won’t show until next spring (daffodils, hyacinth, crocus), and I expect that. But when Brendan was “helping,” he unearthed a begonia tuber that hasn’t done diddly-squat out there since April. Because hope springs eternal in me, I replanted it and watered it in, expecting the best (like a bloom or two this summer). But it made me wonder how many times I’ve been impatient in my life and uprooted something that had a great potential (like my begonia tuber) because it didn’t produce what I wanted it to immediately? Our society is so darned instantaneous that it’s hard not to adopt that same mindset in our personal lives. Yet the truth is that many things, begonia tubers included, take a while to establish themselves and produce the foliage and flowers that we desire and hope for. Which is exactly why I re-buried my tuber; if it doesn’t establish itself this summer, I think a full year in the ground will bring me a great harvest of peach and yellow blooms next summer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

4. Deadheading

  • I had the chance to deadhead many of my annuals’ spent blooms when I was outside, and once again, it made me wax philosophic about “stuff” in my life. We all acknowledge, at some level, that Americans collect too much “stuff.” We build sheds, fill boxes and attics, even rent storage units and containers that will be picked up and hauled off for us in order to keep our “stuff.” Yet most of the stuff we keep has little value (other than sentimental value) to us, otherwise we’d USE it. But we hate to get rid of it at the same time. ๐Ÿ˜• My philosophy is that the less “stuff” we have, the more we enjoy life. We don’t have to spend money storing “stuff,” or time or mental energy thinking about “stuff,” much less time cleaning (or cleaning around) “stuff.” Without clutter and with the ability to “deadhead” the extra (spent) things in our lives, we have more time and energy to spend doing the things that truly make our hearts soar. So as a perpetual “get-rid-of-it” kind of girl, I encourage you to “deadhead” your “stuff.” If we do this regularly, we’ll find that we have space for more beauty, more blessing, and more joy in our lives, just like deadheading annuals turns up more and bigger blooms in the future. :)

So those are my philosophical thoughts on the garden at the moment. I probably had more when I was out there, but the sun and breeze and grime under my (formerly-manicured!) nails helped me forget any more than I’ve written so far. I so much enjoy the seasons and the weather up here (when it’s not above 95F, which it’s been several times already this season) that it’s hard for me to stay inside. Even if there’s not much to do in the garden, I think I’ll find things to do–puttering around, enjoying the sunshine and the scent of earth under my fingers, gloved though they are. ๐Ÿ˜‰.

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