My church started a community garden project this past spring. For the Houston area it was a wee bit late to be planting, but after getting my little plot put together, I planted anyway…from seed in most cases. A couple bargain tomato and pepper plants were found so I planted those, too.

Gardens take a lot of faith, a lot of perseverance, and a lot of tender loving care. After putting seeds in the ground, one must believe that those seeds are actually going to sprout…and sometimes the waiting for those little sprouts seems like an eternity. When the sprouts poke through the soil, it’s one of those every day miracles we sometimes miss.

Perseverance and tender loving care go hand in hand when caring for a garden. We had an inordinate amount of rain in the Houston area this past spring and now we have one dry hot day following another, usually triple digits on the thermometer. As the soil began drying out a bit after the rains, it was necessary to add some compost and pull weeds (and strange fungi!), plus try to fend off the fire ants and other pests with diatomaceous earth. And then, I needed to begin making an almost daily trek to the garden to provide water. I fussed over my tomatoes and beans and okra and talked to the honey dew, watermelon, and cucumber plants. I pruned the basil. I picked what needed to be picked and waited patiently for another day to pick other vegetables and fruits. Even with all my care, the beans and the peas didn’t make it. The tomatoes and peppers have not produced significantly. I see plenty of blooms on the honey dew, cucumber, and watermelon plants but there seems to be no fruit…yet. The okra has bugs of some sort…okra doesn’t get bugs…what gives? In spite of failures, unexpected weather, and pests, I keep tending to my garden.

This may seem like a very common platitude, but it rings true: Every relationship is a garden. You have to believe that if you plant the seeds and tend them that everything will grow and bear fruit. But there are storms in relationships…and there are droughts…and sometimes the pests come and try to ruin the relationship. The relationships that survive, though, are the ones that persist in spite of all of the elements that try to destroy. Relationships require faith…faith that what doesn’t look like it’s producing is really just germinating, that today’s downpours will give way to calmer weather, that if tended with care, something good will come. Relationships require persistence (perseverance) in tending to something that doesn’t look like it will survive. Relationships require tender loving care…the soft touch. We have to keep tending to the garden…

Sometimes in today’s cultural environment, we see relationships as expendable. If the relationship doesn’t bear fruit (i.e., meet our expectations) within our predetermined time frame, it’s relegated to the compost bin. As a result, marriages are failing, families are falling apart, and the promise that could have been does not survive.

And yet…even in compost bins, seeds begin to sprout…

Treat your relationships with care. Look at them as a long term investment in the garden of life. Have faith! Persist! Tend with Love! And watch for the fruit that will come…it will…and you will be glad for it!

What’s your garden like today?


Not Really A Green Thumb

I’ve been experimenting with the world of plants. A year or so ago, I cut the top off of a pineapple and, following some directions I found online, stripped off a few of the bottom leaves and set it aside to dry for a couple of days. Then I planted it in some regular old potting soil. I don’t know how long it took for it to root (didn’t tug on it), but that pineapple didn’t die. When it warmed up a bit here in the Houston area, I set it outside. My pineapple plant has been growing like crazy (in spite of getting hit by the weed whacker a few times) and it does need to be re-potted soon. When/if cold weather sets in for an extended period, I’ll bring the plant inside during the cold spell; pineapples, after all, are tropical plants.

From what I understand, it takes about 3 years for a pineapple to produce fruit….so I must be patient.

I’ve also tried rooting a pineapple top in water. That took about 4 months….really….4 months. But it did root and I need to pot it soon. No picture of that today, though.

Somewhere else online, I learned that I could take the bottom from celery and plant that and it would grow. I had the celery and a bare spot in my pot of basil so….Amazingly, the celery started leafing out within a day.

Doing so well with the celery led me to pop the bottom pieces from a couple of bok choy in another pot. They, too, look as if they will be leafing out. Pictures will come when they do.

I don’t have a green thumb, really. I’ve killed so many plants since moving to the Houston area…the weather here is just so different and there’s more than one growing season. Success with these little plants has made me excited about gardening, though. My yard is small and it took a lot of convincing to get my husband to allow me a little section of the back yard to do a container garden. Maybe when he eats some of my pineapple, celery and bok choy, I’ll be able to expand my little plot a bit.

Here’s hoping everyone will give it a try!