“It looks like an ‘old lady’ garden!” This is one of the worst complaints I can make about any spot in the garden that has not been tended well over the years.
Oddly enough, a crowded garden is actually my goal. As one type of perennial fades away, it gives place to the next month’s glorious growth of another. But once in a while, some of the ubiquitous “volunteers” take over and ruin the aesthetics of a well-tended bed. The bed has “aged,” so to speak, and not gracefully!
Shrubs are the worst offenders. A builder was describing her work in landscaping a show home, and she displayed an unusual candor in admitting that the lovely little forsythia would not be a good choice where it is, due to its tendency to grow into monstrous proportions.
Most builders who add landscaping are not nearly as honest with themselves or their customers. More than once my Yard Boy husband pruned back some unruly nandinas from my stepmother’s windows, so the sun could shine in again.
Both the beautyberry and the crape myrtle in my most visible garden tend to drop seeds, and I usually dig out the new plants and re-home them. All too often, the task is postponed until the shrubs have taken over and the irises and verbenas are not showing off like they were intended to do.
Last summer, we even had cannas growing where somebody must have dropped them as she was digging out the bed. They hid my beautiful new hydrangea!
Our carelessness in our spiritual life can have worse consequences. How have we “aged” spiritually? Over the last ten years, have we grown “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” (2 Peter 3:18, NASB).
In our growing, did we prune out unruly traits that have taken the light out of our lives as slowly and surely a nandina will block out the sunshine?
If you ask me to share photos of myself ten years ago and now, you’ll see a lot more wrinkles and grey hair. It won’t be a pretty comparison. I wonder what kind of snapshot our God sees when he looks at my heart from ten years prior, and in my current state.
Did trials and heartaches make me cynical or bitter? Or have they given me more patience with others and empathy for those who are hurting? Has relative prosperity made me complacent and smug, or generous and grateful? Have the blessings bestowed on my friends made my heart glad, or jealous?
We all age differently, and at different rates. So do gardens! If the garden has any lesson in this, it is that the difference lies in how it is tended.
Here’s a great plan for the next ten years;
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:5-10).