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June 8, 2009

Garden of Weeding

I spent almost the entire day in my garden last Sunday, diligently pulling weeds and trying to restore some order to my perennial garden.

Despite the story that my pictures tell, I'm really not much of a gardener. In fact, over the years there have been many times when my husband and I have stood there and examined a plant that was growing, trying to decide if it was friend or foe to the garden. Sometimes it can be hard to tell. So hard, in fact, that I have already let full crops of weeds grow for a season, sure that eventually they’d bloom; and in the same season wondered when the daisies were going to sprout, only to realize that I had mistakenly pulled them as weeds early on in the season.

The wild violets that have slowly overtaken my garden are my most recent brown thumb blunder. I had always admired what seemed to be a very delicate violet growing along the side of a friend’s house. When she offered to divide a plant for me a few years ago, I jumped at the chance to add it to my garden. Little did I realize that these violets weren’t so delicate at all. In fact, in just a few short years, they have invaded my garden to the point that they appear to have a strangle hold on peony plants that have bloomed in utter abundance for at least two decades. These stunning peonies were the hub of my garden when we first moved here, but this year they have been reduced to just a handful of blooms. I’d like to believe that they are just tired or that perhaps the soil needs to be enriched – but when I see those little violets flourishing below the peonies, I know the soil is fine – it’s just that the violets are literally strangling the roots of my peonies.

Fortunately, I'm pretty sure that I’ll be able to uproot and transplant the peonies later this season to free them from the grasp of these invaders, and restore them to their full beauty. It will require some intensive care and attention, but I'm hopeful that it can be done. Sadly, it all could have been avoided if I had I only known that the violets were garden bullies.

Anyhow, as I worked that day in the garden, trying to distinguish the weeds from the plants, my mind drifted, and it dawned on me how similar a garden is to life. The soil -- our foundation that needs to be tended to keep it rich and fertile. The plants -- our blessings, our talents, our gifts that grow in the light of day. The water and sun – that which sustains us. And the weeds – the vices that keep us from being our best. It’s scary to realize how quickly (and sometimes unexpectedly) the weeds can invade. Like the violets, sometimes we even plant them ourselves – mistaking them for something that will enhance the garden -- only to find that over time they invade and choke out the good.

These thoughts have been weighing heavily on my mind lately. What are the plants that are essential to my garden? What are the weeds that are invading? Are there plants that need some intensive care and attention?

We all have weeds growing in our garden – heaven knows they’ll never be perfect. Our best hope is that we spot them easily, remove them quickly, and let the flowers bloom in fragrant abundance.


aquamaureen said...

Well, gee . . . sounds as if you are describing MY garden!!!! I'll let just about anything grow if it gives me a flower . .. but in so doing, I often let plants grow for a long time and then they do NOT deliver the promised flower.

Yes, Lauren, it is hard to weed out the weeds . . .especially since I don't always agree as to what is weed and what is "proper" flower . .. in my garden and in my life.

That is where we turn to the Master Gardener . . . He alone knows what HE wants to have growing in our gardens and in our lives . . .but oh, I struggle with surrender . .

Silke said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog and leading me back to yours. Your photos in this post are just gorgeous! Luckily, in our yard, my husband knows what's weed and what's not. If it were up to me, I think I'd let everything grow until I knew for sure it wasn't anything I wanted. And sometimes the weeds are just plain pretty! Your peonies are just beautiful! :) Silke

Chow and Chatter said...

great I know what you mean about weeds, slugs are my problem he he I couldn't find the award you mentioned by the way lol

Brittany said...

So pretty!

I kill everything that I plant. :(

Thank you for visiting my blog while I was sick. New recipes to come soon! :)

Joanne@ Blessed... said...


So nice to meet you. This post hit close to home for me. I too am a wannabee gardener. If heart counted I'd be a green thumb for sure. But goodness, it's like learning another language! I spent five hours in my yards on Sunday too. The old body was silently screaming on Monday morning!

Thanks for the led me here to follow along with you.

I look forward to getting to know another forty-something mom with teens at home like myself. We need to stick together, ya know.

Holly said...

"What were once vices are now habits," huh?

I liked this very much. I also find it interesting that just as the violets appear to be charming, pretty, and demure, vices can appear the same. It's only after we've allowed them free reign that we learn differently.

May your Garden, the one you can see, and the one in which your spirit grows live in harmony and learning.