Friday, February 15, 2013

A Time to Plant

A garden is a grand teacher.  It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.  ~ Gertrude Jekyll

Every year about this time, I get itchy to be outside, to dig in the dirt, to sow some seed. The products from all this work are wonderful, but the process is what I really love.

I think I have always loved gardening. Even as a small child, I would walk barefoot behind Daddy's plow in the freshly tilled earth, looking for earthworms that had been disturbed. We couldn't wait to get the garden planted, and sometimes because of our impatience, we had to plant it again when we had a late frost. We planted the tomato plants (we called them slips) that Mama had grown in an old tub with a piece of glass on top to keep them warm. Surely, my mind is foggy here and there wasn't as many as I seem to remember.

As a teacher, I totally support formal education, but there are many ways to learn without entering a school house. The top three for me are reading, traveling, and planting.

Some things you can teach a child by planting:
      There is hidden life in what appears to be a dead, useless seed.
      Some roots grow deep.
      Every living thing needs to be fed, cared for, and                          given some space of its own.
      There is no food better than what you grow yourself.
      There is unexplainable joy in holding warm soil.


One year in Vacation Bible school, our baby boy had a very wise teacher. Instead of the usual plastic baubles and Popsicle stick crosses, she planted a petunia for them in a Solo cup.  He loved that petunia, and babied it until it bloomed, and then enjoyed it as long as there was a green leaf on it.  He learned a lot from that plant, grown from a tiny seed and a cup of dirt and years of wisdom.

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden...But though an old man, I am but a young gardener. ~ Thomas Jefferson