According to the planting charts, May 25 marks the day Garrett County residents can put plants into the ground without fear of frost. Ah, yes, spring has come to Maryland’s mountains. We have waited patiently, endured lots of rain, and know of the painfully short growing season, but we love the beauty that smiles beneath clear skies and winking sunlight. Spring comes late but lingers. Right now massive rhododendrons’ purples and intense pinks, flowers I do not have in my garden, share the stage with iris and native wildflowers, which do bloom in my yard. An emerging trend in local gardening and landscaping calls for allowing fields of wildflowers to flourish at will. Since Dave does not enjoy mowing lawns, he favors the trend. The daisies, wild phlox, Jack-in-the-pulpit, dianthus, and wild columbine have sent out their blossoms; on the far side of our cabin we truly have a field of daisies. As the spring turns to summer, Dave will mow only paths through the flowers.
Having a variety of flowers allows for a changing panorama. Right now, when I get out of bed in the morning, the first thing I see from our bedroom window is the glorious irises blooming in our starter garden. Herbs and flowers get their roots here and then Dave transplants them to our desired spot. That reminds me of the plans a sovereign God has for us . He plants us in the soil of His choosing, sends sun and rain into our lives, and then chooses to transplant or prune us, according to His desired plan for us. The true Master Gardener knows where He wants us and where we will thrive. However, since we don’t have direct knowledge of His plans, we balk. I’ve done this in my life, mentally arguing with God as He brought various growing seasons into my life. When I struggle with this, watching the flowers helps me right my perspective again. Part of the beauty of the garden comes from the fact that each blossom comes and then withers, making room for the next plant to shine. Moving flowers around also adds beauty and variety.
Another biblical reference to flowers reminds me of the transitory life we live. Luke records Jesus’ teaching about worry and anxiety in chapter 12 when he writes, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. Are how much more valuable are you than birds!… Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and is tomorrow thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!…But seek his kingdom and these things will be added to you as well.”
As I work outside today, I’ll ponder these gardening tips and talk with the Master Gardener about deepening my roots in the purposes of his soil, worrying less about the things of this world, and focusing on his kingdom. Happy spring gardening!