Archived Story

Growing ‘gardens of hope’

Published 10:01pm Monday, May 7, 2012

Something has always fascinated me about gardens.

From reading about the Secret Garden to visiting my grandparents garden in Florida as a child, I’ve always loved seeing something start out as small as a seed, but turn big enough and beautiful enough to harvest.

Now that I’m older, I’ve decided to try my hand at gardening.

Last month I planted a few herbs, some sunflowers and a tomato plant.

It’s not a lot, I know, but I thought I should start out small and hope for the best.

After a month of “hard” work I finally have some beautiful plants growing on my front porch and in my side yard.

My orange citrus is multiplying daily and practically envelopes the large pot I have by my front door.

My sunflowers, well sunflower now, is doing quite well. It’s practically seven inches tall.

Then you have my other plants, and to be honest, they don’t look exactly the way I had hoped.

My cilantro is droopy and a lot of it is browned around the edge. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but it’s not dead, so that’s good right?

And then my healthy tomato plant that I thought was doing well is all of a sudden sad and sickly.

The tomatoes seem to be growing, but when you look at the bottoms of them they are black and rotten.

My friend and co-worker Linda Ewing told me it was probably a pest and to go to the store and get something to spray on it.

I will probably do that today in hopes that my beautiful plant won’t die. I am so looking forward to having fresh tomatoes this summer in all of my recipes.

With all of this said, I obviously have novice gardening skills and may or may not have any plants left by the end of summer.

But one thing I’ve learned throughout the entire process is that it takes work to grow something beautiful.

You really can’t just stand idly by and hope for the best, like I thought.

If you want something to grow you have to put a lot of time and love into it, and many times it even feels like pure work.

Along with gardens, I’ve always found people to be quite fascinating.

From their innermost secrets to their lives being lived out loud for all to see, I love seeing people and their ideas about life start out small and then grow into something big enough and beautiful enough that they change the world.

In my short stint as a “gardener” I’ve found many parallels between plants and people.

And since my husband is a youth minister, and I am 100 percent involved with his ministry, it’s safe to say that I think God has used my time in the garden to reflect on the youth he brings into our church’s youth ministry.

Some teenagers come in at a young age, unsure of who they are and where they’re going, and with a lot of time and a lot of love, Christ works in their heart and my husband and I see them change into beautiful people who live their lives for more than themselves.

And then some teenagers don’t always turn out the way we would hope, but we keep praying for God’s guidance, loving them even when it feels like pure work.

Either way, plants or people, I’d like to think we’re growing gardens of hope.

And hopefully, with a lot of time and love, I’ll still have my garden by the end of the summer.

Hargett is a staff writer for the Outlook.