Suckered Again?

Perhaps, like me, you succumbed to seed catalogs last spring that promised your yard would outflower the Garden of Eden.

Now, nearing August’s end, was all that planting, fertilizing, weeding and watering worth it?

My husband said flowerbeds should always look a little wild — his diplomatic way of likening mine to cow pastures. Still, flowers have taught this gardener lessons even critics with clean knees and nails can appreciate.

Prima Donnas

The impatiens demand I water and fan them hourly. Yet they’ve bloomed only enough to avoid eviction.

          Lesson learned: I won’t cast my pearls before swine or my Miracle-Gro before ingrates.


Surprise! Volunteer zinnias appreciated that Miracle-Gro. The interlopers not only have filled our dining room windows with brilliant blossoms, they’ve attracted butterflies whose exquisite air shows entertain us daily.

Lesson learned: Sometimes unsolicited committee members accomplish more than those on the recruitment list.


One zinnia, undaunted, even blooms under a dryer vent. I love its moxie. “But isn’t life challenging enough without stacking the odds against yourself?”

          Lesson learned: Even if you find out — a little late — you’ve created your own problems,             tough it out and bloom anyway.

Type A’s

However, black-eyed Susans, determined to take over the world, remind me that not everyone appreciates a type A personality.

           Lesson learned: Maybe my children and in-laws need a little space to grow, too?

Rugged Individualists

My few marigolds refuse to be intimidated by the Susans, the weather, or anything else. Plus, nothing smells quite like a marigold.

          Lesson learned: They’re not afraid to live spicy-dicey-different, and I shouldn’t be, either.


Both hummingbirds and goldfinches appear harmless, single lines of poetry that grew wings. But the hummingbird borrows nectar, tiny head bowed in gratitude. Goldfinches shred flowers as if they were substandard novel manuscripts.

          Lesson learned: I should look past appearances and             Instead, let another’s actions communicate her/his                character.


Some of best lessons emerge from my garden’s quiet corners. Dormant lavender, seemingly overwhelmed, knows deep in its roots that though everyone else looks bigger, better and flashier right now, its time will come. The lavender will bloom again.

Wilted begonias bought at an end-of-season sale, now sporting a few red blossoms, shout, “Amen!”

Did they experience a tough past? Yep. Were they put on the shelf? Shoved under it. Even now, with better conditions, do they anticipate limited prospects for the future? Probably.

          Lesson learned: Still, it’s never too late to reach for blessed rainfall, flourish in the Son,                 and come alive again. It’s never too late to bloom.

Were my flowers worth the trouble this summer?  Will they sucker me into fussing with them again next spring? Of course.

And I’ll love them and learn.

What lessons have you learned in Gardening 101?



2 thoughts on “Suckered Again?

  1. Karla Akins

    I love this. So much to be learned in nature and gardening and you shared it beautifully. Gardens always make me think of my grandmother who grew everything from flowers to turnips. She was even more amazing. Thanks for the trip down the garden path!

    1. rachael Post author

      Karla, So glad you were reminded of your grandmother! Maybe my interest in gardening goes back that far, too–my Southern grandparents had a huge garden. Grandma used to pick beans, black-eyed peas, turnip greens and okra, wearing her sunbonnet. I hated weeding our family’s garden, of course. Didn’t get why my dad was such a tyrant about it 🙂 Still not my favorite pastime. Despite knowing the weeds will wage a wicked war, I always get the itch to watch God do His spring magic act.


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