Welcome to my garden! As, I take you on a virtual tour, let me start by sharing a bit about my gardening roots.
I grew up in urban south Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a tiny yellow house with a tiny backyard. Despite this unlikely setting, my mom grew quite an impressive garden. She grew everything from broccoli, tomatoes, beans, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, eggplant, cabbage, cucumbers, bell peppers and probably several other plants I am forgetting. Not only did she grow fruit and vegetables, she also grew beautiful flowers: peonies, lily of the valley, roses, geranium, tulips, iris, tiger lilies, hasta, and marigolds. Peonies and lily of the valley are among my favorites to this day.
As a kid, I saw my mom spend hours in her garden, knees in the dirt, weeding and caring for her plants. I remember we would get $1 per ice-cream bucket of weeds pulled – which now seems like a rip off, but in the 80’s, it wasn’t too bad. I remember my mom telling me that the garden was her special time to think and pray. She often heard God speak to her in moments of silence and steady work.
It wasn’t until I had my own two beautiful children, that I realized the joys of gardening. I have often used my time in the garden to burn off frustration or weariness from parenting two small children. In a bad mood? Try ripping out some stubborn weeds with the strength of your own two hands! Need some peace and quiet? Go and water your garden, breathe in the fresh air and soak up some vitamin D.
Like my mom, gardening is a time for me to pray and hear from God. It’s amazing how gardening can teach life lessons like patience, perseverance, and hard work. Moreover, I am now teaching my children these life lessons too, plus a love for fresh garden vegetables! Nothing beats the taste of a homegrown strawberry or carrot and the satisfaction that comes with knowing YOU grew it!
I remember my mom telling me one day, as she was praying and gardening, she asked God why she didn’t get the 4 children she had hoped to have (there were 3 of us). She said that as she worked, God gently spoke to her and said, “I did. One of them is in heaven with Me.” (A child she miscarried). After this realization, she felt peace with the size of our family and was comforted knowing her last child was with God, even though it was painful to have lost it.
Gardening can offer so much more than good food and beautiful flowers. It gives us the space to be quiet and listen. To work and learn. To not only watch our food grow, but to grow ourselves.
What about you? Have your roots been influential in your love for gardening?