Recently I took a peak at my backyard garden. As I walked through the crackling leaves and felt the soft earth underneath my shoes, I was greeted with a scene of death and destruction. The Banana palm swooned, there were broken branches, the Japanese maple was skeletal and the other plants either disappeared or were twisted brown lumps.
I just don’t understand why so little seems to carry over year to year in a garden. Even my perennial shrubs look starved and helpless. Last summer I placed 30 bales of King Pine in the plot and the garden looked healthy and happy. The ground cover did stave off the worst of the summer broiling and the plants lasted into early November. I did make mistakes however. I fed the Hydrangea shrubs too much and they burst into flower early, producing almost basketball size blooms. The neighbors admired them until they practically exploded and died a summer long death from too much heat and too little water. Fungus took over and it’s an open question what they will do this year.
Why bother? The expense is considerable and the work in the summer months for me is almost unendurable. Let it go, let it turn into a plot the way nature intended. The hardy will survive and the store bought stuff will die out. I won’t have to sweat trying to prevent the inevitable.
Today I was drawn to a tender sweet green leaf peaking out from under the detritus. It was the first shoot of the three Elephant Ear roots I stuck in the ground last year as an after thought. The sun shown through the leaf and it glowed with promise. All I have to do it give it a little water and it will grow to almost six feet in height, doing the shimmy in the soft breezes of summer, proving shade for plants near it.
Moses said it in his address to the Hebrew people. He says, “Therefore I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life."
I just can’t abandon my garden. Life is calling me and as difficult as it is to nurture, shelter and care for, I just can’t give up. The beauty and activity of the garden attracts me and entertains me and I must enjoy it when I can.
Lent is kind of like that. You have to look for life, especially when it’s hard to find. Be patient, be faithful and do your part. The reward is breathtaking and beautiful.