A Few of Our Favorite Things: The Garden
At our house, we believe that God blesses us daily in more ways than we could ever imagine. Sometimes, the most precious of those blessings are the ones we overlook. They tend to be the smallest things, easy to overlook or accept as mundane. We’ve decided to dedicate a few posts to these little gifts from God, in part to thank Him and to give Him credit for the beauty in our lives.
Our Lovely Little Deck Garden
Every spring, Mommy gets overly excited when walking past gardening displays. She sees the pretty little seed packets and dreams of a thriving garden for us all to enjoy. So we haul home pots and soil and seeds. We plant our little starter seedlings, nurture them indoors, feed them, gaze at them, and try to take the best of care with them. And, without fail, by June most if not all the plants are dead. The cats eat them, we go on vacation and forget them, or they decide life is just not worth living. Whatever the reason, our home has not been a safe place for baby plants.
This year, Mommy wanted to give up. But I seem to have caught her need to garden. I really wanted to plant some seeds. So, we purchased some morning glory seeds. Supposedly, morning glories are great preschooler plants. They can survive over-watering, grow quickly, and bloom easily. We found out months later that they are also toxic and can produce hallucinogenic effects. Oops. We also found out that “morning glory” is extremely difficult for a three-year old to say. So I call them “girly girlies.”
We started a few seeds indoors with some potting soil and threw the rest of them into an outdoor pot. Lo and behold, the little seedlings grew indoors and outdoors! Bolstered by our morning glory success, we bought a few more cheap seed packets. We picked tomatoes, lavender, chives, and cilantro. Mommy also let me choose my very own seed packet: cowpeas.
Still unsure of her gardening prowess, Mommy did not hold out much hope for our tiny seeds. She found a few old pots in the garage, already filled with old dirt. (Actually, I think all dirt is old. Let’s call it non-fancy dirt.) I helped her poke seeds into the non-fancy dirt and we put our pots on the deck. Aside from adding a little organic fertilizer to the dirt, Kat and I did nothing but water our seeds when necessary.
We watched. We tried not to poke or prod. We waited. And then…the seeds grew into seedlings! The seedlings grew into plants! Everything is still alive! Except the chives. There was an unfortunate drowning accident with the chives, but we don’t talk about it.
Now, our morning glories are blooming. Our tomato plants have little yellow flowers as they begin to produce fruit. Our cowpeas and lavender are thriving and we’ve already harvested and shared some cilantro. And Mommy learned an important lesson. God created nature to survive just fine without her. In fact, it seems to thrive without her interference.
When Mommy learned to let go, stop meddling, and let God work, she learned to ENJOY the process. (Sounds like a life lesson that could apply to more than just gardening, right?) It’s been thrilling to see the growth of our garden. Before we wake up and after we go to sleep, Mommy loves to go out on the deck, look over each of the plants, and just sit and watch the display. Happiness.
What Worked for Us
We almost forgot to mention our “nature pot.” Last year, we left one of the pots from our gardening failures outside on the deck. The local trees and weeds planted some of their own little seeds in the dirt. As the seeds grew, the plants actually looked very pretty together. Instead of pulling it all out, Mommy decided to leave the pot alone. It became a little science center for us to enjoy. We do not water it or care for it in any way. We just watch. We were able to watch the plants survive each of the seasons. In fall, the little trees’ leaves changed color. When spring came, new leaves and seedlings emerged. Now, during our very hot summer, we’re able to see how and whether the plants adapt to the heat. It’s been a really easy, no-hassle way to learn about plant life!
We live next to a nature preserve and are visited by quite a few wild little animals. To keep squirrels and other little guys away from our fragile seedlings, we stuck plastic forks into our pots. The forks made it difficult for the squirrels to make themselves at home in the pots without hurting the wildlife.