Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Gardening is one of my favorite things to write about and think about. I love beautiful flowers, fruits and veggies, and well manicured beds.

I know, you are waiting on pins and needles for photos of my beautiful gardens. Unfortunately, there are none. It's not that there aren't any pictures, there sadly aren't any beautiful gardens. I dream about them and dream about them and dream about them and then I venture out to make it happen and realize that it takes a lot of work to make it happen. Too much work and too much time for me. Which unfortunately is a bummer since we live on 10 acres.

We purchased this house because of the amazing property that came with it. We could envision the kids running and playing and building and digging. (Yay! They do all this!) The previous owner had taken meticulous care of the yard and its gardens. I was thrilled but sorely underestimated how much time and energy it would take to manage it all.

Every time I head out into the great outdoors, I am in awe at God's creation. I am thankful for His beauty and His handiwork. I take in the smells, the sounds, the colors and I am full of gratitude. God wrote a lot about gardening in His word. I spent last week in John 15 and was encouraged by these verses. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful....Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:1-2,4
My geraniums in need of tender care.

I have learned over the years to try and take on only what I can handle. I have picked a hanging basket or a pot or two that I can manage. I still long to have the rest of the yard look fabulous but I manage what I can (barely). This year, I decided to plant geraniums in a little bird bath that I have sitting next to the house. I love the color red and it always makes me so happy to come up to the house and see the beautiful red geraniums. Keeping plants alive is a ton of work, even the little ones in a little space. And sometimes they look like this, in desperate need of some TLC.

The flowers are more abundant and vibrant after pruning.
When they look like this, even I know that pruning is in order. I headed out back to do some work and was reminded of the verses in John. God revealed to me as I was pruning, that His work in me, the pruning, the refining, is intimate. Just as I was hands on with my geranium, God is hands on with me. He is up close and personal. Lifting every leaf, looking for the dead, the decaying, the parts that will continue to suck everything from me if He allows it to stay. I am so thankful that He doesn't hack from a distance. He doesn't blindly pluck what He cannot see. He gently draws near to me and carefully prunes.

I know and trust that God cares about the process and the end product and He really cares about the fruit I bear. He wants me to be the most fruitful that I can be. We have several hydrangeas around the property. I love them! Joel and I had hydrangeas at our wedding. They lined the front of the church in pots. We gave them to our moms after the ceremony and took a couple to plant for ourselves. Unfortunately we all have moved since then and there are no more wedding hydrangeas. I am grateful that the Lord had these hydrangeas waiting for me at our new house. One hydrangea is very happy and fully thriving in its location. The other was a little sad and  kind of scraggly. Joel took his pruning sheers to the scraggly one at the end of last summer and cut it way back. I had a few tears thinking that it might stay like that forever. But this summer it is so much happier. It is fuller and has more blooms. And that pruning took place by a gardener with comparatively little skill and knowledge. The Master Gardener, though, has great skill and perfect knowledge of who I am and how to prune me for his and my best fruit. Sometimes the pruning brings me to tears, lots of tears, because I feel like I have been cut down to the nubbins and that I might stay that way forever. But I rejoice in knowing that God knows the growth and the beauty that will be brought forth.


  1. Beautiful post about our Master Gardener! Thank you, Kari!
    And from the daughter of a gardener/amateur horticulturist (my mom), I can say that every little bit counts. My mom spent 30 years turning my childhood yard into a garden that left all the neighbors in awe - one acre with trees became one acre of sweeping garden beds along nearly every edge of the fence-line, all around the house, and in raised beds throughout the yard and around a patio. However, she has been trying to recreate that in four summers of living in her current home, and it's frustrating her. So, from her experiences, I can say, please, take it just one spot at a time and eventually, you will have a masterpiece. and if you don't know what a plant is in your yard, ask her . . . not me. She knows more plants than anyone I know.

  2. Thank you Tyrean! Wonderful advice. I tend to forget the step by step process and instead shoot for the "want it ALL," then I end up with nothing~too overwhelming. I would love to soak in the expertise of your mom. So knowledgable on so many things~a blessing!