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The Garden

When Randy and I came up with the list of desirables for the home we were to invest in, one thing on the list was “a low maintenance yard.” We had enjoyed years of condo living where we found great contentment in our little balcony adorned with a few potted plants. While friends of ours slaved away at home improvement projects or yard work, we went hiking or biking. When it came time to remove snow, we did our small part and dusted off the bottom steps with our snow-camping shovel. We never broke a sweat in our outdoor work, nor did we feel a great yearning to develop these skills. The irony, of course, is that when we fell in love with the home we now occupy in Boise, it came with a yard. Not just any yard, mind you, but a big yard with a sprawling lawn and a garden that, properly tended, could probably support a small CSA.

Note the size of Randy compared to that lawn!We saw the place in October when the bounty of harvest was ripe, a brilliant move on the part of the sellers. Whether it was the purple sheen of eggplants reflecting in sunlight or the brilliance of the zinnias attracting happy bees, something about the scene made us cast aside the voice of warning whispering, “this is not low maintenance” and with wild abandon, embrace grounding in the fullest sense of the word. We went from dipping our toes in to full immersion. Zero to 60 gardening! So, my friends who used to shake your head in wonder at our horticultural detachment, we now realize our utter foolishness and folly. It feels like we have a new baby, and I’m not referring to the dog.

Things I have learned since we began our adventures in gardening over a year ago are these:

-we are complete novices, despite the loads of books we have checked out from the library

-beautiful yards take time and energy

-fertilization is necessary

-as my father-in-law wisely pointed out, power lawn mowers are incredibly important

-weeds are tenacious buggers and not to be underestimated

-French hoes are a fabulous invention

-there are so many creepy crawly things going on out there in the dirt that we often overlook

-a garden is a gift

Like many things in life, you don’t always know what you need until you are unexpectedly receive it. What may initially feel like a burden can turn to blessing. I never knew the gardening side of me. Forgive the metaphor, but I was like a dormant seed needing the ideal environment to germinate. I cannot begin to describe the silly glee I feel when tiny seeds start busting through the soil in their new form. Like Christmas season when gifts appear appear under the tree, so it is with this garden. A few days ago, Randy pointed out the apricot fruit beginning to mature on their branches. Corn and green beans seem to have shot up overnight. The first flowers on the tomato plant are revealing themselves. The basil and pepper seeds are still in hiding at the moment, but I have faith that they will emerge. Unexpected joy has come from tending this garden, though the battle of the weeds is fierce and disheartening at times. While not our our list of desirables, I find myself grateful for the new adventure that has come our way.

Those are my coveted raspberry plants behind me that I put in last summer. Hoping they will be fruitful and multiply.When God gave the first humans a garden, the Lord shared the goodness He found in creation with His friends. The appreciation of the miracle of growth, the fragrant smell of rained-on soil and blooming flowers, the taste of freshly harvested veggies, the tragedy of deer raids, the drama and bustle of insect cities, the silliness of pumpkins, and the bounty of provision are all small graces not to be missed. How easily we overlook such opportunities for beauty in favor of perceived ease. Yes, the garden is hard work. It is much easier to hit the grocery store for your salad greens. But now that I have tasted the sweetness of the whole gift, I can say with assurance – I love the new baby. Come on over in July for some fresh tomatoes!