This week I noticed my prolific old-fashioned pink rose that holds court along my front fence was sending out more shoots. There isn’t really room for more roses there, so I looked around my backyard for a spot that had room and dug up as many of the roots as I could and planted the shoot along my back fence.
It doesn’t look like much now – just 2 sticks. I cut off the flowers that were forming on the shoot, so it could devote all its energy to roots right now. I will keep it moist and weed-free, and hope that the roots take hold. My transplant may work, or it may die. Gardening is all about taking hopeful action.
I know it can work, because last year I did the same thing, and the shoot I planted last year has sprouted new growth. It probably won’t amount to much this summer, but I can envision a few summers in the future, when the pink cascade takes over my back fence as well – all with no new investment in plants, just a little effort, a little care, and a lot of hope.
Oh yes, and one more aspect – patience.
This rose bush is not going to look like anything this year. And next year it won’t offer much either. This rose bush is a hopeful action for years in the future.
The pink rose showering beauty and rose petals along my front fence was planted about 15 years ago. (I actually can’t remember, but we’ve been in this home for 21 years, so that’s a reasonable guess.) It’s not even clear if I will be in this home when the new rose bushes reach their peak bloom. So I am hoping for a healthy future for the roses, and I am also hoping that perhaps some future owner will value the garden in which I have invested time, energy and patience.
So this week’s gardening project is a small, specific, hopeful action in the face of an uncertain outcome several years in the future.
That aspect of gardening is true for so many small actions in my life. I invest in a friendship, hoping for flourishing. And after several years of cultivation, the friendship might bring forth beauty – or it might drift apart.
I invest in my work, cultivating roots and diligently watering. And growth may occur. Or some outside factor may inhibit growth.
Even more personally – I invest in family relationships, hoping they bring forth fruit. And those roots might grow deep and produce generations of healthy growth. Or they might not.
Seems like God took a chance in that first garden, with the people he created to flourish in relationship with him. He cultivated all the conditions for good growth, and he hoped that the roots would bring forth flowers, but they chose otherwise, for generations upon generations. He also did some grafting in – but that’s for another story …
So I’m left with a choice – to hopefully invest, working for beauty. Or to do nothing, and slowly let weeds and decay overtake my garden, my life and my relationships.
I’m choosing to be a hopeful gardener.