It’s taken me a while, but I finally got my butt in gear and did my spring planting. In the rainy days of March and April I had himmed and hawed about whether or not to do this project. I said it was because of money–maybe it wasn’t worth it to set aside for something so optional and frivolous (like I’ve said before, I have a hard time with the word “fun”).
I realize now that cost wasn’t the real deterent–it was failure. I see myself doing this a lot. If I’m not sure how to do something, it involves me humbling myself and asking questions (especially going to the store and talking to experts), or effort to research and learn something new, I either don’t do the activity or put it off until I have to do it.
The big looming four letter word I am alluding to here is RISK. I hate risk.
Truth be told, I am not completely ignorant when it comes to gardening. During my six months off in 2006 Sally gave me beginner’s lessons, but I still very much feel like a beginner. And this time around instead of a yard to work with, I have several flower boxes and a little sunny concrete spot for pots by our front door. Logic would conclude that less is less daunting. But for some reason less felt like more to me.
In April I took a urban gardening class put on by Seattle Tilth. This gave me some good ideas on what grows well in pots and was especially informative as to organic veggie/fruit gardening. But half the time I didn’t know what anyone was talking about. I put away the notes I took for two months and didn’t do anything about it.
Then the sun came out. And I was walking with my friend Stephenny and she was telling me about what she was growing on her patio and how she has been helping our friend, Amy, with yard work. She told me how much she has really benefited from it–being outside and using her creative skills in the dirt.
My heart felt a tug and I heard myself say “I know what that feels like, to really enjoy something. I wish I would do that.” It was the same sort of tug I feel about other things I feel passionate about but put off–music, art, books, and just enjoying beauty in general.
So I took the risk (and some of our tax return) and headed to Fred Meyer, praying along the way that the Lord would bless me in this effort.
And boy did He ever! My initial plan was just to buy a few herbs and maybe not even bother with flowers. But there were great deals on perennials–10 for $10. And, the organic herbs were buy two get one free.
I bought my potting soil, some tera cotta pots, bright pink gardening gloves, and all my plants. My goal was to spend under $100. With all the sales the total came to around $75. I was so pleased. The rest would be enough to buy some organic fertilizer at the local place down the road.
I came home and the next day I planted basil, Italian parsley, cilantro, and a mixture of perennials including dahlias, zinnias, and snapdragons. Below are a few pictures.
Sally also gave me a bunch of mint starters from her place, which after a traumatizing first week are now beginning to show some life.
All of the flowers I planted with regular potting soil, but I went organic with the herbs. At least I think I did. I guess some gardeners get particular about methods, but I just made sure I bought organic starters and used organic potting soil and fertilizer.
Once that was all done, I still had the flower boxes hanging off our balcony. I was undecided about whether I wanted to spend a bit more and buy some flowers, but in the end, when I went to Fred Meyer to buy more organic potting soil and saw that perennials were still on sale, I decided to go for it.
Yesterday I finished planting marigolds, petunias, and dianthus and was quite pleased with the final result.
When all was said and done, I was so glad I took the risk and put in the effort to do this project. I will enjoy the blessings of beauty in my yard and fresh herbs for cooking all summer long.
This may seem like a minimal risk for some people, or maybe no risk at all. They’re just plants, right? If they die, so what? For me, it’s more than that. It’s baby steps towards rooting out that part of my heart that finds its identity in perfectionism and performance. “You do it right the first time or you don’t do it at all. Heaven forbid you fail.”
Those roots run deep within me. I need to experientially know that sometimes failure is necessary, that it is part of God’s plan. And that true success is God’s success in my life, not mine. It is worth taking the risk and doing the work, to see what God does. And whatever He does, it will be good.
I praised God when I left Fred Meyer with a cart full of plants and flowers. I praised God on that really hot, sunny weekend when I put them in the soil. I praise God when I get up in the morning and give them all a drink. And I will praise God when I taste the cilantro in my guacamole or enjoy fresh pesto!
More than all of that, I praise God for the opportunity to take a risk.
Lastly, one completely undeserved gift in all this is that we have a beautiful rose bush already standing in our front entryway, filled with seven or eight blooms as I write this. No work involved, but fresh flowers by my bedside each morning!