New Planting versus Maintenance

new flower tagsI love planning and planting a new flower bed. Oh the possibilities of a clean section of soil – what colors, styles, seasons do I want to plant for? Just the dreaming is half the fun – then there is the joy of buying new plants and creating the new garden! It’s so satisfying.

Weeding an old garden is not nearly as much fun.

My yard is quite full, so it’s hard to find a new place to plant – although today I did take out some overcrowded salvia that had spread too far in the garden and planted some new penstemon and coneflowers. Once the sun moves behind the tree this afternoon I’ll plant some new mums in my patio garden. I have also been contemplating a new raised bed to provide some color along my immense concrete driveway – but that might move to a next year project.

Last week I got to work on a new flower bed at church – a great way to fulfill my desire for the new that is hard to do in my full, established, old garden.

new flowers

At the same time as I am dreaming and planting new, the tedious chore of weeding often gets neglected.

Weeding is the ordinary aspect of gardening, unnoticed – unless it is neglected for too long. No one walks by a garden and says, “What a great job weeding.” But in order to bring forth beauty from the soil, weeding is just as important as planting – actually more important!

So along with planting new plants today, I filled a 5-gallon bucket with weeds. If I do a bucket a day, will I catch up? Ever?

I wonder about this desire for new and fresh in my soul as well as my garden. Do I neglect the ordinary, basic spiritual disciplines – prayer, studying the Bible, worship – in favor of a new “technique” or program? I keep thinking back to a conversation with a sister at a guest house in Guadalajara, Mexico. (and I think I’ve used this example before because it still gives me pause.) She was explaining their spiritual formation focus – a five-year emphasis on adoring Jesus. Five years – on one topic! Goodness, it’s hard to commit to 5 weeks of something!

Maybe a little daily weeding would be as good for my soul as it would be for my garden. But it takes discipline to take time for the ordinary, unnoticed, but important aspects of life – in the garden and the soul. And perhaps five years of weeding might enhance my soul and my garden.

coneflowersMeanwhile, I “need” to buy a few more lavender plants to replace a couple that didn’t make it through the winter. Because – I can always find space for a few new¬†lavender plants!

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