Some love an orderly, symmetrical, and tidy garden where the gardener is clearly in control. Others, a wild cottage garden where the flowers seem to run the show. I am the wild one, which is a challenge to defend when the man of the house prefers a more controlled look…
But today I stumbled upon the explanation. It’s all about wonder– the wonder of wandering in the garden and coming upon something unexpected.
Take for instance this morning. I was out weeding and harvesting potatoes in my veggie garden and turned aside to have a look at my Flower Corner. What should I find but this strange little alien–
A frizzy tow-head with a cheerful attitude–a perfect ball of frizzle. I don’t know what it is, never saw such a thing here before. Maybe it’s a weed and I should uproot it… But then again, maybe it’s just another wonder to be wondered at! This is the stuff of a wild ‘cottage garden’–surprises! I’ll leave it, for the same reason that I let Sunflowers spring up in my onion patch and crazy squash/gourd plants volunteer in the compost pile. They’re wonder-full!
Every spring I go to our local Seed Exchange and bring home packs and packs of seeds with proper Latin names, not because I know what they are but because I wonder… What will they grow up to be? Will I be able to bring them to life in my garden? One year I carefully planted, watered and hovered over my seeds in a sunny window and lo and behold the emerging seedling turned out to be an old friend from our Arizona days, the likes of which would carpet our back yard every Spring dyeing our shoes purple with its tiny but prolific purple flowers. I am not however an absolute sucker. I marveled to see it here but did not let it out of my sight, or my door! Who knows what such a hardy creation would do in the Pacific Northwest with endless water to speed its flowering. I love the color purple but… no go!
But others make it into the garden as delicate seedlings to begin their generations of begetting wonder…Some are sprinkled in as seed with hopes that there will be enough moisture, enough space, enough of the perfect conditions to nurture their growth. I relinquish control to the Master Gardener and see what He will do with my offerings…In return I am feted with the wonder of an ever-changing, ever radiant display of living color…
and then these radiant nameless flowers…
Once upon a time I must have brought one home and this was their season to paint the garden!
So what am I trying to say…is my love of wild things valid? Should I retain control and keep orderliness, weed out ‘surprises’ and discipline errant seedlings? Or is it OK to loosen the rules and sit back and watch what will happen–and bask in the wonder of it all. I suggest that there are seasons of life when it’s not only OK but Good to lighten up on the patrolling and keep an eye out instead for spontaneous moments of wonder.
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is…" (IJn.3:2NASB)What a wonder that will be!