Friday, June 20, 2008

Pulling Weeds

I have decided to become a gardener. This is a rather life-changing decision for me, as I am a card-carrying member of Plantkillers Anonymous. But not anymore. From this day forward, I plan to actually water my plants. Or at least I plan to try to remember to water them.

I have named my new utopia “The Prayer Garden.” Not because I go there to pray, but because those plants can use all the prayer they can get.

When I made the decision to develop a green thumb, I had visions of myself happily, peacefully working in the soil, surrounded by voluptuous blooms of every size, shape and color. Butterflies would flutter peacefully to and fro, our children would laugh and run around with butterfly nets, and our dogs would friskily chase the children. You know the picture. Straight from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.

But I have recently been given a reality check, in the form of the pesky weeds that keep appearing in my flower bed. Every day, I walk the length of the beds, pulling the stubborn little guys from the ground. And every day, more weeds appear. Every single day.

I have tried digging out the dirt, and replacing it with “clean dirt.” Still, they come.

I have tried spraying them. The spray kills the ones that are above ground. But it does nothing for the future generations of weeds.

So every day, day after day, I walk up and down my flower beds. I bend over, pinch the weed, stand up. Bend over, pinch the weed, stand up. It’s actually a pretty good little work-out. Who needs an expensive gym membership, when you’ve got weeds?

But honestly, I have asked myself the question more than once, “Why bother?” After all, they will just come back. There is nothing I can do, short of cementing the entire bed and sticking some silk flowers there, that will keep the weeds from reappearing. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure a concrete wall would stop some of those weeds.

So, I can either keep pulling the weeds, or I can give in and let them take over my flowerbed. It is that simple. Neither option is pleasant, but I refuse to give in. So I keep pulling the weeds.

It kind of reminds me of washing dishes, and doing laundry, and paying taxes, and stopping to pick up the trash others have left behind at the city park . . . all those little things we do to make a difference, when we know that before long, we will just have to do it again. And again and again.

Sometimes, we may feel like our little efforts are not making a bit of difference. We work and work, only to see our work undone before our eyes. But still, we continue washing those dishes. We keep throwing away those nasty soda bottles and candy wrappers that others leave behind. We refuse to give in, because to do so would just mean chaos. We don’t want to become overrun with the bad things of this life, so we keep doing our little good deeds, day after day, hoping we are somehow making a difference.

This morning, I stood at the street and looked at my flowerbeds. The shrubs are green, the flowers are red and pink and yellow and purple. The mulch gives it a nice, finished touch. No, it’s not a candidate for Better Homes and Gardens, but it won’t be entered into the Gardening Hall of Shame, either.

It looks downright (doggone you, weed! Bending, pinching . . .) pretty.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

12 comments:

the mother of this lot said...

So now you're adding gardening to your list of talents......

Renae said...

I'm not sure I'd call it a talent just yet, Jackie! Let's wait and see what happens . . . ;-)

Felisol said...

ear Renae,
I am also not too sure about gardening requires talent. More like love, stubbornness or rather fidelity to the plants one is trying to cultivate.
The reward is overwhelming.
From Felisol

Renae said...

Hi Felisol! This is what I'm worried about . . . I don't have a great track record when it comes to plants! But I think this time it's going to be different! :-)

Felisol said...

Dear Renae,
long, long time ago when I had pedagogic,"learning by doing" was a much recommended method.
I think that's what gardening is all aboutas well. Trial and error.
My Mom told me she planted peons six different places in her garden before she found the very spot where they would thrive.

I would like so very much to see a picture of the bride with Clematis and pearls in her bouquet.
From Felisol

Renae said...

Well, I am learning by doing this spring. Most of my plants have done well. But the lavender died. And the cucumbers died within a week of planting them. Oh, well!

I have marigolds and periwinkles, moss roses and purslain (not sure of spelling!); I have rosemary, dill, parsley, sage, and some tomatoes. I also have some boxwoods, and a couple of things my dad brought over and planted, though I can't recall the names.

We'll see. :-)

I'll see if I can scan and send a picture; I'm not very good at that sort of thing, but I'll try!

Felisol said...

Dear Renae,
you are the true American Beauty.
What a breath taking bride.
And yes, those big four leaf flowers are Clematis. Gorgeous.

I must say you have accomplished a lot in your garden. Tomatoes are difficult to grow, need a lot of sun and enriched soil.
I have no way of making tomatoes grow here in Norway. Would have required a greenhouse, which I have not.
I once grew cucumbers indoors. They are heavy drinkers!!! But the taste when one get to harvest, just like the ones from my childhood.
Lavenders should have a bit rough, sandy soil, standing in a slope corner of the garden. That's where mine are thriving.
Have you ever seen those endless lavender hills of Provence? A sight for sore eyes.

Anyway, you should be more than content by your own achievements.
I've lost far more plants than you have and we are only by midsummer yet.
From Felisol

Renae said...

You are so sweet! Thank you for the all the compliments. :-)

"Need a lot of sun" - well, I'd say we have a lot of sun here in Texas! But perhaps I underwatered the cucumbers. It is so, so hot here.

I think I may have overwatered the lavender. I'll definitely try that again when I can - I love the smell! I was hoping for it to grow near my door, where I could smell it going in and out.

One of the plants my dad brought, I remembered, is called "Mountain Laurel." Do you know that plant? He said it will take five or six years for it to bloom, but worth the wait.

No, I've not been to Provence, though I've seen pictures. I wish I could go there. I was in Europe as a young college student, but only stayed in Germany. Had a layover at the airport in Holland, but that's it. I'd love to go back.

We'll keep praying for the tomatoes . . . The rest of the herbs are in pots. I was too chicken to plant them in the ground this year! But I'm enjoying them on my back porch. The dill and parsley were supposed to attract butterflies, but I've not even seen a caterpillar yet.

Thanks for the encouragement, my friend! One day in heaven maybe we'll sit and talk for hours!

the mother of this lot said...

Hey, how come I didn't get a picture of the clematis bride??

Renae said...

Oh, you jealous girl! Pictures on their way. ;-)

Judi "Jlo" Moran (2006) said...

Your writing just keeps getting better and better. Enjoyed both this piece and the one on your second language. This one inspires me to write my own slant on weeds because, believe it or not, I love weeding. Just because it is such a great ongoing spiritual reminder to me. I love you so much and am so proud to have you as my friend, dear one.
Maybe, God willing, we will have a little plot in heaven right next to each other and we can spend many a day side by side in our gardens chatting and laughing and praying for those poor souls still back on earth. Ha!
Love,
J

Renae said...

Oh, wouldn't that be fun, Judi? I can't wait!

--r