My Magical Garden – A Sequel

Last May I wrote about a very special garden in the front of our home. This garden had a mind of it’s own, and would not yield to any of my attempts at planting flowers. Eventually, I gave up and simply plopped a strawberry plant container on it to conceal the empty space. Surprisingly, at the end of the summer, the strawberry plants grew over the container, and somehow planted themselves into the soil of this magical garden. A few years later, another surprise flower emerged. If you are interested, you can read the rest here.

This fall has brought another surprise for our family – this time in our backyard, near the lavender and herb garden. A beautiful deep pink carnation has somehow joined us growing in between the stones of our walk-out patio. What is so amazing is that there are no carnations in any of our gardens.

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I am so grateful for this small miracle.

The blessings of nature abound when our eyes are open to see them;

when our hearts are open to receive them.

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Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. – C. S. Lewis

Garden Blessings Abound

There has been a lot of rain this last week or so.

Warm temps and rain.

Perfect for puddle-splashing with my grand-son.

Perfect to fall asleep to with the bedroom window ever so slightly open.

Perfect for lazing away a Sunday afternoon, with warm tea and juicy book in hand.

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And perfect to induce the glorious eruption of  blossoms and foliage in our gardens.

How I love this time of year and watching the gardens bloom.

Would you allow me to take you for a virtual tour of our gardens?

IMG_2387[1]First stop is my Magical Garden. I blogged about it here. It was the garden that refused to grow until I left it to it’s own devices. The strawberries are almost ripened enough for picking! I love this garden that nurtures my body and spirit.

I love how it reminds me of the joy and surprise of unexpected blessings.

IMG_2419[1]Next stop is our Heritage Garden, so named as we inherited it from the previous owners upon our move 14 years ago. Yesterday I was greeted with the beautiful sight and sweet smell of freshly-bloomed pink peonies. How lovely to come home to!

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This Heritage Garden also boasts of a flowering shrub, rose bushes and wild daisies.

It reminds me to be thankful for all the unmerited blessings I have received.

Next up is the garden along the side of our house, underneath our bedroom windows.

IMG_2388[1]This garden is filled with gifts from friends. Little green shrubs had taken over a friend’s garden. She decided to share the wealth, dug one up, and gave it to me. I divided it and, years later, the transplant has proven to be successful. Around the same time, I mentioned to a co-worker how very much I loved tiger lilies. She responded by bringing me two from her own garden. These two plants proved to be fertile and multiplied greatly!

When I look at this garden, I give thanks for the blessing of friendship. The shrub-bequeathing friend is still in my life. And, though I no longer work with the tiger-lily giver, the return each year of the plants remind me of a wonderful time of life that we shared at our former workplace.

IMG_2426[1]I am especially happy with our next garden stop. This is our little front entrance garden that I filled with lavender last year. To my amazement, these plants not only survived a very cold winter, but they have blossomed out beyond what they did last year. Just a little water and love is all that was required. I wanted to plant lavender by our front entrance to provide a soothing scent to greet friends and family when they visit.

This garden reminds me of the blessing of hospitality. And how wonderful it is to have people join us in our home.

The final stop is our sweet Gazebo Garden. I am very pleased with it’s progress this year.

IMG_2412[1]This garden has so much meaning for me. I dug it out to surround the outdoor oasis my hubby built for us to provide a place of peace during a particularly painful time we went through a few years ago. This garden is where my love lies. It reminds me of the blessing of having a life partner to share experiences with – be they good, bad or neutral times, I know we have each other.

This garden reminds me of how, with faith in each other, we can bring beauty from sorrow, hope from despair.

This has brought so much peace.

And these gardens have brought so much joy!

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My Magical Garden

Fourteen years ago this month, my hubby and I packed up our kids and belongings and moved to our dream home. This home has features that appealed to all of us: formal dining room (me), an acre of land to run and play in (our kids), and a big garage and driveway (hubby).

Our new property also offered lots of potential for gardens. And planting I have done. Lovely lavender offers a gentle welcome by our entrances and around our gazebo. We have tomato and pepper plants available for a fresh addition to summer salads. There remain plenty of trees for shade and privacy. Two tiger lilies replanted from a work friend’s garden, became very fertile and multiplied along the front of our home. All our gardens have done exceptionally well.

All, except for one, that is.

One small section of the garden by our front porch absolutely refused to accept any of my efforts of planting or seeds. No matter how hard I tried, this little plot of soil yielded nothing.

Not one to give up easily, I made enquiries at garden centres, googled on-line, added new soil, put down some mulch, etc. etc. etc. All to no avail. This little garden spot simply refused to cooperate with my efforts.

Finally, five years ago, I gave up trying.

In order to keep this section from looking completely bare, I plopped a potted strawberry plant that was gifted to our family, on the soil.

At the end of that summer, the summer of 2010, when I was cleaning the gardens for the fall, I noticed the strawberry plants had climbed over the pot, and made their way down to the ground. Not only that, a couple of the little green shoots had gone ahead and somehow planted themselves into the soil. “How interesting”, I mused to myself, as I carefully snipped the planted shoots from the pot, and continued with my late summer gardening chores.

When the spring of 2011 dawned, I was delighted to discover those little strawberry shoots had survived the winter. “They actually appear quite healthy”, I told my husband. “Perhaps they like this tiny garden spot”. So I cultivated and weeded the surrounding soil, but added nothing. I decided that allowing this little garden to grow in it’s own way, seemed like the wisest course of action.

And to my delight, those small strawberry plants grew and spread, at times yielding a few sweet fruits.

As the years have passed, our little strawberry garden has grown well, with plants spreading to fill the entire plot of soil that I once struggled so intently with. All that remains necessary, is a bit of weeding, cultivating and watering.

I guess this little garden had it’s own agenda. It’s transformation has left me amazed.

How lovely.

This morning I had some alone time, and was able to pause and ponder on this garden. I wondered if there was a spiritual lesson in all of this?

I recall my own journey.

At one time, coincidentally pre-2010, I was a woman who took her religion very seriously. I attended my Christian church every single Sunday. Rain or shine, sick or healthy, even when I was so weary I could barely roll out of bed – Sunday mornings would find me in church.

I adhered to a very strict bible reading schedule, making sure to touch on both old and new testaments upon rising in the morning, as well as adding a sprinkle of an epistle during the day, and a dash of proverbs or psalms before bed.

Always having been a book-worm, my reading became limited to solely Christian works – how to be a better Christian, how to be more loving, how to be holy, how to be a biblical wife … Unfortunately, with a full time job, kids and a husband, there was no time left over to read for the simple joy of it.

I was filling my days, trying so hard to be the perfect Christian lady. In my understanding, all these activities I was doing were like seeds that I was planting in my heart and spirit, to yield a beautiful garden for God.

But in 2010, change happened and I was challenged with some situations that I had never even dreamed I would face.

I checked in on my little Christian garden that I had worked so hard on growing in my heart. After all my hard work, efforts and diligence, I was disappointed to find that this garden was barren. It was yielding nothing.

I threw my hands up and cried out to God: “Why?!”

And somewhere within the silence that followed , I perceived a subtle answer.

“Relax. You try so hard to know Me. But I am always with you. And you have all of eternity to discover Me. Breathe, and let everything unfold as it should.”

In the years since, I have done just that.

What a journey it has been! I have found new ways to know the Divine in a natural manner as I go about my day:

– Through sharing stories and giggles over a bottle of wine with a then new and now precious girlfriend;

– Through walking my sweet puppy along paths I had previously never given myself time to explore;

– Through enjoying a young adult book series, all light and fun, uplifting and easy to read;

– Through taking a few extra moments to look a homeless lady in the eyes, and help her find the coin she just lost in the grass at a park by my work.

I have discovered so many ways to see and know God in the places and people I encounter during the ordinary moments of my day. These are the seeds that have planted themselves into my heart and spirit.

How lovely is the way this garden has grown itself.

Last week-end hosted amazing weather. I spent Sunday, garden tools in hand, cultivating, weeding and watering what has become my favourite little garden plot, filled with strawberry plants. To my utter surprise and amazement, a new little gift has emerged from the soil. Unexpected and unplanned, standing strong and proud, is a mysterious little tulip. “Now, where did you come from, little one?” I asked. “Never mind, I am so glad you are here. Welcome to our wonderful, mysterious, magical garden!”

I have found so much joy and peace in this.

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