“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful: they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul.” –Luther Burbank
Leaves are falling to the ground as the wind loosens them from the tree branches. The garden is in a state of transition. Vegetable plants that don’t contain produce are being pulled up. Why continue to feed plant leaves with no reward of vegetables? Saves those ground nutrients for the next garden. The weeds have changed to yellow-brown coloring. However, the temperature changes have fooled some tomato plants to making new tomatoes on top of the dead looking plants. Silly plants it is fall not spring! Although, the flowers still continue to bloom.
Having a variety of flowers in the vegetable garden make transition times enjoyable, beautiful, and helpful to the garden. Marigolds are early bloomers in the spring, which will continue to do so until a hard frost kills them. I have found the dwarf varieties bloom more consistently. Marigolds are also beneficial to deter pests with their pungent odor. Zinnias flowers bloom in the heat of the summer all the way to a hard frost. They attract beneficial pollinators like wasp and butterflies. This was the first year planting a row of zinnias and I have seen a ton of butterflies. I definitely will plant more of them next year. Cosmos flowers are late summer bloomers as they grow rather tall for flowers, up to 3-6 feet! These flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden (to actually feed on other pest). Of course, flowers any where bring beauty to the space.
Flowers bring life to the garden as well as the gardener. God is the ultimate gardener and we are his flowers. God said he will supply you what you need. He wants us to be happy, even when seasons change. Flowers bring delight to the soul, a smile to the face, and often a memory to the heart & mind. Garden flowers have purpose throughout their life span. You have a purpose too. Have faith and follow his path. Pause from your journey every once in a while and enjoy these beauties he provides.
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” — Psalm 126:5
I remember being told once that I wasn’t learning if I didn’t make mistakes. Well, my learning adventures with gardening have been abundant. I have learned, that for me, container gardening is great for herbs but not so much for tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers (if I wanted a large harvest). I have learned I need to start with quality seeds. I tried buying plants for a few years. The harvest wasn’t as abundant as I had hoped. So I decided to try growing plants from seeds. Mistakes I made were to watering too much, not having the soil warm enough, not having quality seed starting soil, and not enough light. However, after more research and trial & error, I have been able to grow plants from seeds. In fact, this year I was impatient for the seeds to germinate, so I planted more. To my surprise I ended up with more plants that I had space in my garden!
Mistakes can also add to later frustration. Like when I didn’t test the pH values of the soil and had to use more fertilizer to get good growth. The wrong balance in fertilizer can also give your plants more leaf growth instead of fruit development. Too much nitrogen can do this. So when I planted my tomatoes, the next year after pole beans (which give nitrogen back to the soil), I had more leaves than tomatoes.
If you view mistakes in life (as well as gardening) as learning adventures, you will grow as a person. Sometimes you may need to make notes to not repeat the mistakes – that’s okay. God tells us life isn’t perfect, no person on earth is. You will encounter trials. You will make mistakes. Just remember that God is always with you no matter what. He will provide you a harvest in some fashion, regardless of your mistakes. You and you efforts are never a disappointment in his eyes. Keep trying.
“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”–Unknown
What comes to your mind when you think of presents? Is it for a birthday, Christmas, special occasion, or just because? Well, my birthday was last week. I turned 39 and am not ashamed to tell my age. It means I have experienced life for 39 years. It means I have survived numerous surgeries including eye, exploratory to removal of intestinal blockage, blood clot on wrist, ovarian cysts removal, 2 c-sections, and thyroid removal twice (2 lobes separately). It means I have endured and managed Crohn’s Disease for 21 years (probably more before the diagnosis). It means I have endured and managed an asthma diagnosis and severe allergies for 13 years. It means I have endured and conquered thyroid cancer for almost 5 years! I have had great loss of my older brother by two years being killed when I was 20 years old. Of my grandparents struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia which eventually brought on their deaths. However, I have had great gains in life too. I met my soul mate in high school. He has held my hand through it all. God knew I was going to need extra support and love in my life early on. I have 2 great sons that bring me joy and yard flowers on a regular basis. I have a big house and yard that lends space to my green thumb adventures.
Presents have never been a big deal for me. While growing up, the birthday person got to choose what we had to eat for supper. We had cake and a few gifts afterward. The gifts were usually some clothing, some school or art supplies, and a special item based on own interest. This is the same way we celebrate birthdays today with my boys. Surprises never have suited well with me. My friends threw me a surprise party for my 18th birthday and I fainted! So on my 30th birthday, my dear husband organized a ‘staggering drop in’ party where folks would show up at different times– all without me knowing it. Anyway, it was also a gardening party. I never have been a girly girl or have desires for material items. Giving me hand tools, gardening gloves, gardening totes, and plants were suggestions for gifts. My good friend, Chris, had another idea. DIRT ….bags of garden dirt. Ironically, he had just bought some for his yard and had extras. His wife told him not to bring them inside but to keep them in the trunk. ‘Dirt isn’t a present you give a 30-year-old lady’ she thought. Boy was she wrong and Chris was right (of course he knew cause he is more like a brother to me). Those bags of dirt were my favorite gifts of that day.
Bouquets of flowers wilt and die over time. Expensive jewelry doesn’t appeal to me (I have an allergy to gold). Clothing should be tried on first. So typical presents have little appeal. However, plants are alive and help purify the air. Flowers for the yard beautify the space as well as feed insects. Dirt can bring nutrients to plants. Gardening tools help me maintain my plants and make it easier doing so. All of these presents bring joy to me time after time again. Presence can also be more of a present. Simply being outside with me as I work in the garden brings joy. Going for a walk and talking about everything and nothing brings joy. Being able to appreciate God’s gifts to bring beauty to the surroundings brings joy. Being able to enjoy and share the harvest God has provided brings joy. Simplicity of presents bring joy time after time.