Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Kitchen Garden

Kevin and I have recently been shaping up some plans for the property: where to plant the blueberries, how to fence in the acre across the road, what to plant in the kitchen garden next year… that sort of thing.

The kitchen garden has actually been mis-named for roughly the last three years. I sort of ran out of steam several years ago, with 5 kids (one of them a new baby) and a house to take care of, and, that spring, I didn’t get around to planting anything in it. Plants grew anyway… a fact which will not surprise other gardeners.

First, the dandelions sprang up, and covered the patch with little yellow suns. Then, the white and red clover marched over the old furrows. Then, the thistles brought a splash of purple (and a bit of danger), and the Queen Anne’s Lace donated elegance and height. And, finally, the asters made mounds of snow, accompanied by spiky goldenrod, like bright yellow rays from a setting sun.

It was the most beautiful spot on the whole property.

When I hung out my laundry, the hum of bees filled the air. Butterflies in yellow, white, black and orange floated over the “kitchen garden.” Wasps of all sizes, from the tiniest iridescent blue and green ones, to thumb-sized bald-faced hornets, visited the flowers. And beetles in iridescent copper. From deep inside the garden, singing insects would provide a soprano accompaniment to the lower humming of the bees.

And the goldfinches would come, and steal away the thistle seed. And the phoebes would sit on the garden arbor, watching for a chance at a flying insect or two.

I’m sure it was a bit of a scandal to the neighbors, most of whom manage to have much more orderly lives than I. But I loved it.

I suppose that there is a moral there, somewhere. Something about “Let Go and Let God,” maybe… or an observation about the beautiful seeds in our lives lying dormant, just waiting for the opportunity to grow and thrive. Or maybe something about God using our failings to create life and joy and abundance… about showing His strength through our weakness.

The kitchen garden has been just as beautiful every year for several years now. But I do miss the “kitchen” part of the kitchen garden. So I decided to reclaim my little patch this coming spring. I have promised myself, however, that I will till up a patch of sod nearby, and leave it lie. Just to see what beauty unfurls.


Martin Kelley said...

That does look really pretty. Every spring I secretly "forget" to mow a piece of the lawn just to see what flowers show up. It's always really pretty. It only lasts till Julie notices ("you're not doing another meadow are you?") and then I get the lecture about mosquitoes and am reminded that I'm not a native of buggy South Jersey and must be one of those city people who think meadows are so pretty. It's become a fun late spring ritual!

Shawna said...

Hi Martin!

This spring, tell Julie that you are conducting "waiting worship with a concern for a meadow." Tell her you're providing room for the Holy Spirit to nurture the Seed, and for God to decide what will grow. Who wants a programmed yard anyway?

Who knows? You might get an extra week's reprieve!