“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

Though I doubt God actually forgot to put souls into flowers, I do firmly believe He gave them to us for our enjoyment. There are not many people that I know that would think a garden ugly. I absolutely adore gardens. Working in them is something I used to fight, though. When I was young and my parents wanted help with the yard work, boy would I kick and scream. Maybe not really kick and scream, but I generally tried to hole myself up in my room with a book and avoid them. Eventually, I began to realize that cultivating growing things is actually a balm for the soul. When I visited England six years ago, one of my favorite sights was that of the English garden. Oh, there were so many! So beautiful. My grandma, aunt, and uncle with whom I went are all gardeners, so I guess at that point I began to get a green thumb.

In my college years, there wasn’t much time for gardening, so I didn’t really try. Now that I am in my own home and not in school, I have more time. Today I wasn’t entirely certain what I was going to do with my time until I took my cup of coffee to the window and looked out. Our yard is small and there isn’t much we can do with it, but there is a small and narrow bed next to our deck that was hopelessly overgrown that I could see from the window. Every day I looked at it and groaned, thinking it could be so much more beautiful. Earlier in the year I had planted a few things in there, but they didn’t grow; this was partly because I forgot about them and partly because we had a severe drought combined with a ridiculous heat spike. Basically, this summer I gave up doing anything in the yard. We didn’t even have to cut our grass for almost three months! (That was actually nice.)

So, today I decided to at least tackle the overgrown bed and clear it out. For what, I wasn’t sure. (I wish I had taken a photo of it — it was crazy!) As I pulled out little weeds and big weeds, I noticed there was an enormous plant that had a stalk the size of my wrist, and it was growing from behind the lattice on the bottom of our deck. Oh dear. I tried using a sickle, a hoe, a shovel, a scissors…none of those worked. The angle was terrible. The only tool for the job was a hedge trimmer. But I don’t happen to have one. (I need to fix that.) By this point, I had figured that I would plant some mums in the bed, since they are in season, so what I did was call over to the local florist shop and ask if they had a hedge trimmer I could borrow! We’re on first name basis, so I knew it would be okay. The owner said she did have one I could use, so I drove over there to pick it up and to purchase some potted mums. I love supporting local businesses!

I came home, cut the stubborn plant down, worked up the soil (who in their right mind puts bed liner only THREE INCHES BELOW THE SOIL?! I certainly didn’t….), and planted the mums. I had four of them, which turned out to not be quite enough. Since I had to return the hedge trimmer, I was going to drive back down there, but our car was acting funky, so I just walked. I must have looked hilarious walking down the side of the state highway while carrying a long hedge trimmer. On the way back, it was probably even more amusing since I was carrying a huge potted mum. Ah well. It was good exercise.

The point of the story is that gardening is good for the body as well as the soul. I really should do more of it.

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