Of Iris, Herbs, and a Broken Shovel

The white iris, fondly called by my mother “flags,” are blooming like a little group of angels beside our largest maple tree. Under its shade also are the purple iris which have opened their sweet faces for their once-a-year show. There are violets peering over grass blades and tiny pink oxalis blooming stubbornly amongst border grass along the driveway.

The mulberry tree is in full leaf with berries barely showing, pale droops amongst the leaves. Soon the tree will be alive with squirrels and birds feasting greedily even before the fruit is fully ripe. The crepe myrtles Charles trimmed back in February are sprouting nicely and jasmine vine on the mailbox pine tree, trimmed to the ground, is more vigorous than ever. I look forward to seeing little yellow blooms smiling at us when we go for the mail.

Pruning is a good thing. A fresh start is good for everything (and everyone) if done under the Master’s care.

The knockout roses in front of the house were beautiful when they were beautiful but they didn’t like their place very much. One by one they died or at least became scraggly. At one end of the row they were shaded by a magnolia tree and those bushes were never happy. So we took them up and planted Florida Sunshine shrubs. The guys at the nursery assured us they would thrive in sun or shade.

Plants (and people) are so different in the way they adapt to sunshine and shadow.

Day lilies are starting to bloom. It’s always so exciting to see the various colors and patterns unfold as the buds open. I wish they bloomed for more than one day, but the good thing is there are several buds on each stalk so for the blooming season there are always beauties, new every morning.

Another thing new every morning–His faithfulness!

Thomas Obadiah Chisholm wrote a hymn about God’s faithfulness:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness, Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Wisteria keeps trying to take us over, though Charles has been brutally honest with it: no, it is not welcome. Friends we visited in Bromley, England longed for some beautiful purple wisteria. We told them it is terribly invasive, takes over, wraps everything in vines. They still wanted it though I don’t know whether they did plant it or not. I can see why they wanted it. The purple blooms are ravishingly beautiful when drifting high amongst tree branches or low in shrubbery, even controlled with constant care into a “shrub” itself. It is lovely when it’s blooming, looking like Caleb and Joshua’s great clusters of grapes from the Promised Land. But wisteria is so monopolizing.

Things of beauty aren’t always as good as they seem.

We bought herbs at Lowe’s which I was able to plant from my walker, placing them in tubs along the back porch. Already, English thyme, basil, and a cherry tomato plant (couldn’t resist that one!) are thriving. The mint and rosemary at each end of the line are hearty and healthy and interspersed between the herbs are some of Charles’s carefully coaxed amaryllis with buds about to pop open, also a couple of tubs of impatiens lending cheerful color. I can’t wait for the basil and thyme to be big enough we can pluck some for adding flavor to meats and soups.

When Charles went to Stone’s on his day off to purchase some screws he came back with a tray of plants for his own small garden: five sweet potato plants, a beef steak tomato plant, and one eggplant to grow in its own tub. His garden is beside the marten house where, until recently, lemon bushes grew. He dug up the lemon bushes because they were totally fruitless.

It was as he was digging up the lemon tree roots that he bragged on his broken shovel. It had been his dad’s, he said, one of several he has acquired over the years. This one, he said, is particularly good for digging out stubborn roots because the broken blade is jagged like so many sharp teeth and it is excellent for a job like this.

Brokenness does not mean a thing or person cannot be used; maybe it can be used in a different and even better way than before.

I was walking around our circular driveway the day before Easter enjoying a gentle breeze swaying the reeds when it dawned on me. Spring was everywhere but Red, the turtle, had not shown up. Could it really be spring if Red hadn’t shown up? That box turtle has been at this place almost as long as we have, probably longer. We “tagged” him with a red spot on his hard back soon after he showed up at our back door about six years ago. Since then, every month or so during the warm months, Red comes visiting. He loves to eat cat food, doesn’t care much for the green stuff. The children always enjoy his visits, sometimes putting him on the porch where they can play without losing him.

Funny that I thought about Red the day before Easter. Because he came visiting on Easter Sunday heralded with great excitement by Kaison and Charli. They had just found a hiding of a dozen eggs for the second time and were ready for a new diversion. Red stayed on the porch for about an hour, scratching across the floor with his leathery legs and sharp toes, hiding under chairs, eating cat food and even getting in the middle of our family Easter picture.

Iris, daylilies, new gardens, discarded roses and lemon trees, a broken shovel and an old box turtle–and then a picture from our Michigan folk of their fresh new snowfall. Spring is here–in some places!


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5 responses to “Of Iris, Herbs, and a Broken Shovel

  1. Silvia

    Wonderful how you linked the happenings of your garden with important lessons of life. I especially like how you stated that things of beauty, (wisteria), are important, but only in moderation, and in the right place. Also, your last thought about brokenness reminded me of this quote: “Broken things are precious. We eat broken bread because we share in the depth of our Lord and His broken life. Broken flowers give perfume… Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.” F.J. Sheen.

    Thanks for your flowery, special thoughts, and please give your garden a grateful glance from me!

  2. Revonda Barwick

    so glad I was able to tour your yard on Easter and see all these things
    you mentioned…God is so good!!!

  3. Susie McGahee

    Brenda, I so enjoyed that! I’m so glad you bought that house. It’s a happy house and deserves to have a family that loves it as much as Anne did! So glad y’all are enjoying it! Keep up the good work.

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