Gardening?

Well…it still looks a little pathetic, I know.  But you’ve gotta think of it as a symbol.  We’re in a process over here, folks.  We have certainly not arrived yet.

It started back in Missouri.  Our daughters objected to 1) chopping down a real Christmas tree for an environmental reasons, and 2) using an artificial Christmas tree for aesthetic reasons.   So, twice, yes twice, we purchased potted evergreens and used them for Christmas trees.  The florist assured us that we could transplant these trees into our yard come spring, “No problem.”

Well, the first one died.  We dug it back up and threw it away.

We tried again the next Christmas.  We eased the tree from the house to the garage, then to the patio, then to the yard.  Still, it all but died.  Our neighbor, an expert gardener, watched from afar shaking her head.  Sigh.  I believed, I really did, that the tree would live.  And sure enough, new growth started at the base of the trunk.  The neighbor, chuckling,  suggested we chop off all the dead stuff and leave that one little living sprig.  We did.  It looked ridiculous.  But it began to grow.

When we moved two years later (after using a cheap artificial tree for two Christmases), the sprig had turned, sort of, into a shrub.  Whenever we had guests, people would politely fail to mention this little bit of ugliness in the back of our yard. I mean, seriously, we don’t know how to landscape or place things in the right spots, but, doggone it, I wanted that tree to grow! (I’ve told the renters and the leasing agent not to touch it!  I want to see progress when I visit St. Louis!)

I must pause here to say that my Grandpa Meyer was an expert gardener.  His yard was his showcase.  Every bit of it was planted with roses, peonies, geraniums, lilies, gladiolas, tomatoes, tulips, daffodils,…My great grandmother was the same — she even had a pond full of water lilies!  I kid you not!  My brother is a landscaper, for Pete’s sake.  Me?  I am pretty excited by the fact that we have kept a Bonsai tree alive, through group effort, for over five years.

Anyway, when I moved into this little house by the river, I had to admit that the exterior looked a little bleak.  (You may have seen the picture of the overgrown beast that was there when we moved in.)  I really wanted to make it look a little more inviting before the students even moved in.  Well, I missed that goal.  But, folks, I am making progress.

On my way back home from my excursion earlier this week, I stopped off to visit my cousin and his family.   He had offered that he would share some Japanese irises that had come out of my grandfather’s yard.  Now that you know how sentimental I am about my grandparents, you know that I had to have them.  He gave me a bunch of irises, yes, but also, he gave me brown-eyed Susans, a hosta, and the healthiest rhubarb I have ever seen in my life.  He filled the trunk of my car with plants!

I don’t know much about gardening, have I mentioned that?  In the past, I have thrown things in the ground and hoped for the best.  This time I Googled it. Then I went to the store and bought gardening soil and manure (that was a first).  My husband was out of town, and we had left all of our substantial tools in Missouri with the house, but I was determined.

So I hauled those bags of dirt out of my car, slit them open and dumped them into the beds.  I mixed the dirt around with a hand trowel. (I am telling you, I am strong-willed.) I planted most of the items in those beds in the photo. I also put in some daffodil and tulip bulbs.  The rhubarb I put around back where it would get more sun.  (The grounds crew isn’t going to be too thrilled with the placement. Yikes!)

You can see from the photo that it still doesn’t look great.  The shrubs that were there are a bit misshapen.  The lilies are lying down pretending to be dead.  The brown-eyed Susans look a little weary.  And, I still am not sure if that hosta is going to work there.

All of life right now is a bit of an experiment.  I’m not working.   My diagnosis is pending. I am learning how to live differently. I’m sharing it all in a public forum.  Heck, I even Googled before I put the plants in the ground.

Things are different around here, kids.  Anything could happen now that we’ve entered the next chapter. 

I Corinthians 3:7

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,

but only God who makes things grow.

Lord, grow me, and, if you don’t mind, grow my plants, too.

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