I got to thinking about this the other day... How much of what I do in regard to my gardening helps the flowers to grow? Is it really as much as what I do or what I don't do? I picture myself working hand in hand with God when it comes to growing things. Over the course of my lifetime, I am learning more and more, but I will never have the absolute knowledge and insight that God does.
When I place a seed in the ground, I have hope. And faith. I do not know if it will germinate and grow or not. And if it does, I have no idea if it will flower the way it's supposed to or if the dog will pick that spot for her afternoon nap and break it off before it even has a chance. But God knows all that right from the start.
I think He likes it when we make the effort to assist in The Great Circle of Life, although He doesn't need us for this, because He built perpetuation of the species right in. I haven't planted a hollyhock seed in years, yet this biennial comes up and blooms fabulously year after year. And there is that silly white peony that was 'dead' for over ten years. Have you heard the story on that?
When we moved to our house in 1977, the landscaping was minimal. The house was just two years old, so what was there was just beginning to get established and there was a lot of space on Our Little Acre that was empty. But there was a white peony bush over at the south side of the property. I remember it because I wondered why someone would put it there, all by itself. It would bloom at the end of May and then sometime towards the end of summer, Romie would mow it down to the ground. It always came back in the spring.
And then it didn't.
Along about 1990, the peony disappeared. I was quite surprised because I always thought peonies were one of the methuselahs of the garden. They are known to live to the ripe old age of 100 or more. Since we didn't know when our peony was planted, we didn't know the age of it, but it's pretty safe to assume that it probably wasn't there before 1975, when the house was built. It was not a large bush, and what was there before that was a woods. I don't think we had an unusually tough winter that year, but the peony was no more.
A couple years later, my girlfriend Jane gave me a white lilac bush for my birthday. I decided to plant it in the bare spot where the peony used to be. I love lilacs, not because I think they're particularly beautiful to look at, but because they smell so good. My grandma says that people used to plant lilac bushes by the doors to their homes, so when guests would come for a visit, it would smell nice as they came in the door.
As the years went by, the lilac grew and flourished and became a nicely-shaped small bush. The lilacs bloom here in May and don't last nearly long enough for me. By June, they're gone and I turn my attention elsewhere. But one June day about five years ago, I was walking by the lilac and I noticed a cluster of white, smack dab in the middle of the bush. Since blooming time was long over, I had to get a closer look. And what I saw made me smile. It wasn't a lilac bloom, but a PEONY! The white peony was back.
It would probably have meant death for both the lilac and the peony to try and separate them, so they now co-exist and we call it our 'Peolac.'
This just further reinforces the thoughts I've been having about my role in growing things. God and I work together on this and I'm grateful that He allows me to play my bit part, but the truth is, I have very little to do with it. Seeds want to grow. Flowers want to bloom. It's what they do.
I just hope I do more to help them than to hinder them.