Greetings, dear pond readers! Earlier this spring while society adapted to the realities of COVID-19, I began to both garden and cultivate a chaos garden that I dedicated to the Good News Garden ministry of my church denomination. Amazingly enough the plants grew and I have been able to harvest some food to share with a few people. More than just the food, I feel like this has been a meaningful spiritual experience as well as a helpful parenting experience, too.
Planting this garden, I didn’t know what I was going to get or if anyone would be able to benefit from it. So far, I’ve been blessed with plentiful spaghetti squash, sunflowers, and herbs. More than the harvest alone, the time spent in meditation and prayer tending the growing plants away from screens and the doom scrolling they offer has been a blessing. Sharing this garden with the bairn has brought back happy memories spent in the gardens of my childhood with my parents hearing about the stories of plants & plantings from their youth. As a parent, I recognize that teaching my wee bairn to be gentle with baby plants as they grow is going to be a continuous exercise but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how receptive the bairn is to nurturing the plants. Even when watering the plants together has devolved into watering the bairn or tucking in the flowers with mulch has morphed into playing with the mulch, the time spent together in this common cause must be fun because the bairn keeps asking to help. Good gardeners who tread lightly on the Earth have to start being cultivated somewhere.
Spending more time in the garden has given us more opportunity as a family to be better acquainted with our neighbors. It is delightful to make new connections with others, especially in the midst of the alienation of the COVID-19 crisis. I was so happy that one of the first squash went to our neighbors. Earlier this spring the neighbors gifted us with two baby tomato plants. The wee bairn delighted in helping me plant these tomatoes, giving them several hugs in the process, and has been watching their growth with interest. The wee bairn dislikes vegetables and is adept at removing them and eating around them regardless of the means of disguise & presentation. Even cheese does not help. Cheese! The tomatoes however have been eaten with glee since the first harvest pictured in the slideshow above. I was afraid that the wee bairn would only eat our garden tomatoes but so far, tomatoes of varying sizes and sources have been eaten. It’s a start! Even the spaghetti squash has captured the wee bairn’s imagination and they have helped with harvesting. Dare I hope that squash will make it in the wee bairn’s belly? Miracles happen.
Another wonder of the garden has been a set of three mystery plants. As they grew, I couldn’t help but think that they looked intentional but I didn’t know what they could be. I took numerous pictures with my phone, did repeated google lens searches, and kept getting varying answers that all represented an assortment of weeds. Even though some sources I turned to for advice suggested that I pull the plants, pulling them didn’t feel right. I let the mysteries grow. Towards the end of the summer, I finally had the opportunity to mask up and go to a local garden center. There I saw a solitary native aster plant that looked just like the mystery plants in my garden. Mystery solved! I probably bought them from the same garden center when I bought the wild geranium, planted them where they are, and promptly forgot about them. None of these native plants grew when the mulberry bush in this circle plot was running rampant but because I cut the mulberry down, all four plants, the asters and the wild geranium, were able to bloom. I’m glad that I let the plants keep growing even though I didn’t really know what would bloom. It’s hard to explain but I feel like there is a metaphor for faith and stewardship in here somewhere. Until I figure it out, here’s a slideshow.
Now that the season is starting to wind down, I’m looking forward to seeing how many more squash my prolific plants produce, how many more tomatoes my wee bairn will help me harvest, and how many critters enjoy the seeds left in my stand of brown-eyed Susans and the nodding heads of my sunflowers. As I’ve been writing, bands of clouds have dropped needed rain on all my plants with intervals of warm sunlight in which the squirrels & birds have been busy hurrying around. It is relaxing to witness.
Please, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.