In spite of my protests to the contrary, I hear, “Marianne, you’re such a great gardener. What are some of your secrets?”
My “secrets” are out in plain sight on plant food labels, seed packets, and on the little plastic tags attached to seedlings. But perhaps the best tip came from my darling mother, Lois Mac David. She’d tell me, “Marianne, don’t turn your garden into a hospital.”
That’s what has made me look like a better gardener than I am. If something isn’t doing well, I move it or pull it up. Many of the great gardeners were keen on transplanting plants to get the best possible effect. A plant may be too tall or short, may not like the sun exposure, or may have a texture that could help better enhance a corner of your yard.
As an Art major in college, I often experienced the “happy accident.” An example of this might be inadvertently picking up a dab of oil paint that has another color mixed into it that changes the look of your painting for the better. In one of my former gardens, this one in Colorado, I planted larkspur next to coreopsis, neither of which was blooming when I bought them. The larkspur turned out to be an intense, purplish-blue, and the coreopsis was a rich yellow. Together they almost vibrated, a real pleasure to look at. Another time when I did my yearly hanging baskets, there was a plain orange viola up against deep purple pansies, a knockout.
Some of my other suggestions are to be generous with plant food, don’t over water, and be diligent in deadheading. When flowers are allowed to stay on the plant and die before they’re removed, they send a message to the rest of the plant to stop blooming. By frequent snipping off spent flowers, some spring posies can go right into summer; primroses, Iceland poppies, Gerbera daisies, geraniums, to name a few, thrive on being “groomed.”
Aren’t we the flowers in God’s garden? He does his own deadheading through the work of the Holy Spirit, nipping the nasty parts from our character that may keep us from blooming at our best.
As we grow in Christ, things that seemed okay to us in the past don’t feel right anymore. The Spirit holds up a mirror for us to see ourselves differently. Gossip, for instance, that we used to call “sharing the news,” is revealed for the destructive pursuit that it is. An old movie I originally thought was good can give me a creepy feeling. Just as beautiful flowers attract birds and bees, a life devoted to the Lord will draw the lost to Him.
Matthew 5:8 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”
Be lavish with His love and share your joy. Your soul’s garden will abound with blessings too many to count. Go ahead. Be one of God’s little bloomers!
Your gardening friend,