Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Gardens and Neglect

It was a beautiful springlike day outside today with temperatures in the 70's, so I decided to do a little gardening. I have three small flower beds located right outside the back door. They were poorly maintained during the growing season last year and were left to go completely wild over the winter. Even though we do get some cold weather here in north Florida, it only comes in very short spurts and rarely does much damage. This year, our winter has been very mild, so the weeds and grasses have completely invaded my flower beds.

When the gardening genes were handed out, I was not exactly at the head of the line, but that has not stopped me from trying. Instead of planting flowers that require a lot of maintenance such as roses, I stick to the easy perennials that grow well in our area. The majority of the beds are planted in irises, day lilies, coneflowers, and perennial salvia. I usually fill in with a few annuals like marigolds or pentas. Last year, I let the beds go and did not even bother to plant the annuals. Now I am faced with an enormous amount of work before I can even replenish what was lost to neglect.

As I worked to clean out the weeds and debris in the pleasant warmth of the day, I thought about how much effort in the past that I had put into maintaining my flower beds and how they had rewarded me with beautiful color right outside my back door. For some reason last year, I failed to spend the required time cultivating them. In one short season, the weeds had taken over the beds and were choking the few hardy plants that remained. Just to get my beds back to equilibrium was going to require much more work than if I had maintained them all along. In order to successfully grow, a garden needs a lot of attention and care.

So it is in life. Relationships must also be cultivated. As I cleaned the weeds from the garden, I was reminded how I cannot allow neglect to erode my personal relationships either.

No comments: