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.