Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’



You’re probably getting tired of hearing about my hibiscus — the one I found in a dumpster, the one that limped through the winter, the one that is my mascot for Lent.  (Yes, those would all be the same plant.)  I’m sorry.  I just can’t help it.


I’ve been watching these tiny leaves emerging on the plant for weeks, and it’s been a slow process, like watching – er — grass grow…  And then finally there were a few little buds. I’m still dying to know what color the flowers are.  But looking at the plant from a distance a few days ago I suddenly realized that it was top-heavy, with big leaves at the end of almost spindly branches.  And I knew.  I knew I had to prune it.


Why hadn’t I seen it sooner?  I was raised by a father with not one, but two whole green thumbs.  It was a tradition for us to prune back the roses every New Year’s Day to a third of their size.  Come spring they were bursting with new growth, and by summer the whole plant was sturdy, healthy, and full of perfect blooms.  I know well the power of pruning, and yet I couldn’t stand the thought of taking a pair of shears to my beloved hibiscus.


After a few days I conceded to myself that there was no way around it.  I was going to have to do it.  Those buds that held the unknown petal color?  Lopped.  Gone.  Nada mas.  It was probably only six inches all around that I trimmed off.  All the old leaves save one or two were nixed.  In the end, the plant looked like some sticks in a pot with a few green polka dots on them.  It was a bit pitiful looking, but I knew it was the right thing to do.


Only a few days later, and all those little green dots are actual leaves – and that’s even with it having spent a good chunk of time indoors due to all the thunderstorms we’ve been having.  There are even more buds now than there were before and it is much more balanced.  I wonder what it will look like next week.


Don’t fear the shears.




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Oakleaf Mennonite Farm


Yesterday morning I cleaned a winter’s-worth of leaves off of our balcony.  Four bags full.   I seriously wondered whether if I had planted some seeds in the layer of ‘mulch’ that had accumulated, we could have had an 8′ x 8′ third floor garden.

This month, my article in PeaceSigns is about gardening — specifically, what could happen if a neighborhood worked together to produce not only food, but life together.  Here’s an excerpt:


This is the time of year when my thoughts inevitably turn to gardening and I find myself daydreaming about digging in the dirt, and planting seeds, and how wonderful a warm, just-picked, sun-ripened tomato tastes. I feel spring stirring in my soul while frost is yet on the ground. When this happens, I pull out my copy of The Wind in the Willows and look in on Mole, inside cleaning while, “Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”

(For the full article, click here)



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