Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lessons from the garden: baby marigolds

Today, I went outside while it was relatively cool to plant the marigolds I'd picked up. The bed right next to the driveway gets very hot, and many things languish there - except marigolds. And weeds. Weeks ago, I had cleaned out all the weeds and planted marigold seeds. It was even a little too early in the season to be growing marigolds, but I figured by the time they poked their leaves through the soil, it would be warmer.

Well, life went on, as it tends to do. I neglected the bed next to the driveway. Every once in a while, I'd check for baby marigolds, but I didn't see any. So, while I was grocery shopping, I also picked up some marigolds that were already blooming - ones that someone else had planted and watered and cared for. I was going to plunk those down in my little strip next to the driveway, and that would be that.

Well, I even neglected THOSE marigolds. There they sat, in their little plastic cells, day after day. I didn't even water them. They were still alive, but their blooms faded. Last night, when my husband came in from work, he said, "Do you know you have flowers you haven't planted? They've been sitting there for a while now."

So, this morning, I went out early, determined to take care of it. It was wet from the rain last night, and the mosquitoes were annoying, so I wanted to do it fast. The driveway bed was full of weeds - thick and lush. They would have to go before I could plant my "pre-grown" marigolds.

I got down on my knees, and started pulling weeds out quickly and roughly. It didn't matter - they were weeds! Just messy weeds. Pull! Toss! Pull! Toss! Wow - that was satisfying, to just clear that space and make it ready for my purchased marigolds.

Then, I happened to glance at my weed pile, and there on top was a baby marigold. I couldn't even save it, because I had ripped it to pieces. In my thoughtless weed pulling, I had killed the very thing I'd planted.

I got closer to the ground and pulled the weeds aside. There, in the dirt, struggling for sunshine, tiny and fragile, were dozens of baby marigolds.

It's my fault they were buried in weeds. When I didn't see them as fast as I thought they ought to be there, I stopped looking. I let the weeds grow. I could have been out there, tending that little bed, pulling the weeds out as they appeared, and waiting more patiently for the baby flowers to appear. It's my fault those little marigolds were so overwhelmed with weeds that no one could see them.

Yet, they they were. Sure, I had planted the seeds, but when they didn't grow in my time frame, I went about my other business. My busy-ness. But, despite the weeds and lack of watering from me, they grew anyway.

I still pulled the weeds this morning. I still planted the marigolds I'd purchased. But, I had learned my lesson. Those baby marigolds, while they're tiny, can look a lot like weeds. They are not. They are simply flowers who haven't grown up yet. With a little care, a little water, a little sunshine, a little (very, very careful) weeding - they will bloom, too. No - not as fast as the mature ones in the little packs that are blooming when you buy them. And, yeah, because they came from seeds I collected from last year's plants, they might not all grow up looking exactly like their parents. But, they will flower in their own time, and each bloom will be a smile from God.

And, no - this is not really about marigolds.

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