Major Miracles

I was snacking on a few radishes I’d picked from my garden when it dawned on me what a miraculous thing that was. I had tossed some tiny seeds on the ground, scuffed them about, and a little more than a month later, those seeds had become . . . food.

I was going to entitle this post “minor miracles,” but planting seeds and what grows from those seeds is not minor at all. It’s a major miracle. Without food, we wouldn’t be here on this earth. And I helped in that process of creating food. Well, technically, the seeds were the process. All I did was throw them out there and give them an occasional drink of water. They did all the rest.

Truly miraculous.

And then there is the hollyhock forest that is growing at the back of my lot. In the fall of 2019, a neighbor gave me a handful of seeds from his hollyhock bed, and told me to plant them. Which I did. I was sure I’d done something wrong, because the following spring, I saw no sign of those seeds. I ended up planting other things — mostly lilac bushes — so the area was watered all through the summer. And in the fall, a few hollyhock seedlings popped up.

And then this spring — wow! What a showing! I’m really not sure what to do about the plants because they’ve enveloped one of the lilac bushes. I considered cutting them down now rather than waiting until the season is over to protect the bush, but for some reason, the bush is growing strong in the confines of the hollyhock forest. That, too, is rather miraculous, because cooperation among plants isn’t all that common. (Though I did plant marigolds near my cherry tomato plants because those two apparently like each other.)

Today when I was out, I caught an unfamiliar glimpse of color in the midst of all that green, and look what I found:

The first hollyhock of the season.

When I was a girl, hollyhocks grew wild in the alleys, and we’d make hollyhock dolls from the flowers, using the blossom for a skirt and a bud for the head, but I’m just as glad there are no little girls around who understand the lure of hollyhock dolls. I prefer the flowers on the stalk. And I especially prefer the buds on the stalk because that means there will be more flowers.

Definitely a major miracle.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Gardening Chores

I went out this morning to do a couple of quick gardening chores. Two hours later, dirty, sweaty, and exhausted, I finally gave up. Each chore had led to another, until it seemed (and rightly so) that I’d never be finished. I suppose that’s both the frustration and fun of gardening — that there is always something that needs to be done, and that there is also always an excuse to go outside and play in the dirt.

I did accomplish some of what I wanted to do. I planted the bulb collection I got from the Arbor Day Foundation.

I realize this summer cutting garden will never look like the photo they sent — for one thing, the plants all flower at different times, and for another, I planted them in a straight line at the back of the flower garden I’m creating outside the one window I regularly look out of.

And then there is the problem with the gardener. (Meaning me.) A rank amateur, that’s for sure! Though admittedly, I am learning, and I am managing to keep some things alive besides waist-high weeds. As you can see, my marigolds and the cherry tomato plant are doing well despite the grass that insists on growing back.

After I planted the bulbs (being careful to follow the directions, which I don’t always do, but I wanted to make sure the bulbs at had at least a slim chance of coming up), I pulled weeds. Then I trimmed a tree/bush. It’s a locust that was cut down a couple of years ago, but it continues to grow. I’ve been undecided about keeping it since I’m not sure I want the responsibility of trimming it as I grow older, so I thought I’d have the tree guy grind out the stump when he comes to grind up all the other on the property, but I kind of like it. It looks like a fern with its tall, wavy branches.

After trimming the tree, I pulled more weeds. There are still more weeds to pull, and the weed patch I laughingly call my lawn needs to be mowed again. I also need to transplant some bulbs that will be buried under gravel if the landscaper ever comes back to do some more work, and then . . . yep, there’s always something!

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator