I don’t prepare my soil well enough, adding compost or checking for proper alkalinity or acidity. I’ve planted things in the wrong location for it to flourish. I’ve let some plants stay out all winter which has sapped them of strength and beauty. Miraculously, some have survived. And I am amazed.
Sill, I’ve had some success with my accidental way of putting things into the ground.
I have a few early bulbs that surprise me through a late season snowfall. In spring my yard glows with all shades of pink, red, and purple while the azaleas are in bloom. All summer and fall I enjoy how the colors change from season to season. It’s God’s lavish way of producing fruit from my shabby labor.
I’ve got plenty of garden books and read them randomly when I need information. When I follow the directions, it seems to help. Go figure.
So I had these two blank canvases on either side of our garage door, all white and asking for something colorful there. I tried placing large clay pots in the area one year, filling them with annuals that bloomed and looked pretty for a season. But then I moved the pots somewhere else.
Later I envisioned small topiary trees growing all perfectly round and proportional, looking artistic and lovely. Ah, but what I wanted would cost more than I wanted to spend. I needed another idea.
It has dropped seed over the years and stray bushes have grown up. Two particular small ones were growing right next to the house along the foundation. They needed to be removed, and frugal one that I am, I figured these two little saplings would be perfect for my project.
Just the right size to start my own topiaries, I set about to remove their roots from the soil where they were firmly attached. It was no easy task. I dug, pulled, dug some more, and pulled some more until they loosened their grip and let go.
I planted the little trees on either side of the garage door and commenced the pruning process to help them take the shape I envisioned. It was snipping here and there, cutting back hard in places, positioning a stake and tying them off so they would stand tall and straight. Somehow they survived the first season.
It’s been several years since that planting. There have been many clipping of branches, shaping these small trees into slender trunks with nice roundness to their leaves and flowers. They are beginning to take shape. The one on the right side really looked pretty last summer when it bloomed.
They other one, however, wants to take its own shape. It seems a little rebellious. I let it grow as it would through summer, allowing the flowers to flourish. But I had my eye on it, knowing when blooming season was over, I would be grabbing my pruning shears.
And that’s just what I did. When the flowers had faded and were hanging dead and brown, I began to clip away. I staked it again and pulled it into a more upright position. That little tree was pruned hard by my own hand, but by the time I was finished, it was more rounded like its sister tree a few yards away.
I think I am that little rebellious tree, pulled up from a comfortable place where I was content to grow, my roots dug in tight. I want my own way, my routine, and my plan. I like it when other people cooperate with my ideas. (anybody else?)
The Lord takes us as we are but does not intend to let us stay that way.
There is a pruning process going on in me. It is painful. I’m trying to be submissive. My “will” wants to; my “flesh” struggles.
My Father knows best and does what He does for my good and to fulfill His greater purpose. He has a vision of what He wants me to become. I know that with all my heart, even when it does not feel good at all and I cannot understand the purpose for the pain.
I have to remind myself (often!) that it’s not all about me even though sometimes I just want it to be.
I am trusting that the pruning will produce the beauty He desires, that one day He will look at me and be able to say, “Now she is growing nicely, just the way I planned.”
My little rebellious tree bears the mark of the cuts, the wounds. But spring is coming, the hope of life renewed. Spring is coming for me, too.