Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gardening Tips for Friends

When I was a little girl, my sister, who was much my senior, planted a garden every spring for a few years. I remember well the care she would put into making that plot of earthy bed. She laid the seeds to rest in perfectly lined rows and covered them with a rich blanket of compost and soil, and watered them diligently. Each week she would cultivate the ground around the plants and pull any weeds that threatened to choke the young plants. 

I could hardly wait for all those colorful vegetables to awaken and color the garden block with all the shades of healthy growth. In time, with just a small skirmish from the carrots and beets, my two nephews and I would pillage a few of our favorites before the entire stock was picked for canning. 

Friendship, like gardening requires a lot of water, mostly from our own sweat, to keep it from drying out and shriveling up. Cultivating is urgent to keep the wicked weeds from strangling growth, and fertilizer, sometimes very stinky, worked into the base makes for strong and healthy roots that blossom into a beautiful product. With this in mind I thought I would offer a few of my own gardening tips for friends. 

I used to love picking the pea pods off of the plant and snapping them open to find those tasty green pellets. I would suggest planting plenty of peas. Peas, my friends, will give peas like a river that will water the soul, peas of mind for those days when the storms cause anxiety and worry, and peas of heart when drought brings threats of destruction. 

It required a little muscle on my part to pull the beets from the soil, but it was well worth the effort. Those lovely red bulbs with the deep green leaves were not so tasty raw, but cooked up or pickled, they were wonderful. With beets in your friendship garden, you can beet the enemies that come against you, and beet the heat of the most fiery trials. 

Next to the beets I suggest turnips. They remind us to turnip when friends invite us out or to special occasions. To be a friend means to turnip to help out, and mostly, turnip when needed. 

Lettuce, green and leafy, keeps things light. Lettuce be patient, faithful, kind, and gentle. Lettuce be friendly servants to one another, and the dressing on it all is to lettuce love one another.

On the side of the lettuce plant a few peppers. Red, green and yellow add a little spice and make things tasty. We all need to pepper our friendships with humor, laughter, gifts, and fun that will revive them with a little color and give them some zing.

One of the most fun plants in my sister's garden were squash. Their leaves and vines spread all over the place, and branching off into a variety of oddly shaped gourds made an interesting trail to follow.  With these in our garden we can squash selfishness, gossip, apathy, and the need to talk when we should listen. 

If you have a place that's a little wild, plant currant. In today's busy lifestyle it's important to stay currant. We can quickly get sidetracked, but with all the wild technology it is possible to keep in touch and currantly follow up on each other.  

My sister didn't plant herbs, but I think there is one we can't do without. It is thyme. Thyme is something we must diligently cultivate or it escapes us before we know it is gone. Thyme for each other makes for strong flavor and seasons our friendships.

Good luck with your garden, friends, and remember: Friends don't grow on trees they grow in gardens, and are best cultivated in a sunny atmosphere :)

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