Companions

Fellowshipby Christine Berglund

The casual look of our garden beds is a result of the combination of hard work and a tiny bit of planning. It doesn’t really grow in that wild way all by itself, it gets a lot of help. Some seedlings are left to grow where they accidentally sprout, other plants were carefully planned to look natural in the space they were placed.

My husband regularly digs up interesting plants for me on his surveying outings, and we have been known to transplant lawn weeds into garden beds. (We won’t discuss the unfortunate Fleabane Incident at this time.) Some of these whimsical additions have been disastrous. (I’m seriously trying to avoid aforesaid incident, really!) Others have been a pleasure, such as my Common Daisy next to the Verbena. Funny how Fleabane resembles a small daisy, isn’t it? Oh, right. We shall speak of Fleabane no more!

One very nice native plant that popped up unexpectedly was a lovely plant called Shepherd’s Needle. Yes, I suppose in retrospect that it was a weed, but I prefer the term “native plant.” A weed is simply a plant growing where it is not wanted.

“Bidens Pilosa” is pretty, but the seeds are like barbed needles, and they stick to everything. I suppose that’s why they are not usually cultivated. Coming up, the plant resembled the Dahlia that I planted at that spot, and it did fool me for quite some time. It reseeds itself freely, and for the past few years has bestowed on my garden the lovely white Dahlia-type flowers that attract butterflies. This past year one plant cozied up to my Knockout Rose, and I couldn’t help thinking how happy they looked together.

Can we do this as members of the church? “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1, KJV) I have been blessed to have seen so many instances of people from disparate backgrounds, income levels, and career paths dwell together in unity. It is so touching to see how the bond of brotherhood allows good people to see how much they have in common with one another. We can and should be able to create a more pleasing combination together than apart.

Like the daisies I dug from a nearby roadside ditch, we all have value and gifts that are unique. If I spend $150 on a Japanese Maple, it won’t guarantee to give me more visual pleasure than my white Shepherd’s Needle combined with the deep red of the Knockout Rose. Who knows? I might dig some violets out of my yard to plant under it!

I plant Ageratum next to my tea roses to keep the aphids off of them. It is a gardening trick called companion planting. The same goes for basil near my tomatoes, cosmos in the cornpatch, or marigolds near the cucumbers. Plants help one another by repelling insects or providing nitrogen to the soil.

We can surely learn from this! Too often we are content to stay with our own demographic group, and we all miss out.

God is happy when he sees his children getting along and living together as brothers and sisters, no matter what their differences. Our use in the Kingdom as we work and worship together depends on our peaceful and pleasant cohabitation.

Well, except for a few Fleabanes who won’t play nice.

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