Thursday, May 28, 2015

How does your garden grow?

The hydroponic garden (I was out of town for two weeks.)
Long time readers of NunBlog know that although God has blessed me with many gifts of nature and of grace, a green thumb was not one of them. Years back when I was stationed here in the publishing house I had a coleus plant in my office window. I loved that plant, but it only thrived when I went out of town and the secretary took care of it. In Chicago I had an electric, hydroponic herb garden. All one had to do was plug it in, add water and pre-measured nutrients, and press a button. Even with that, results were disappointing (thankfully, I can assign some of the blame to the Chicago water which has a high chlorine content; once I switched to distilled water, some of the plants grew like crazy. Well, the basil grew like crazy. (I have since learned that basil is kind of like a weed: hard to kill.)

The lilies of the valley grow wild
on the corner by our parking lot.

All this by way of introduction. Right now about half of the community is on retreat at our St Thecla house north of here (between Lexington and Concord). Sister Laura (one of our most gifted artists) is out there, cooking for the sisters. Sister Laura is a gardener. Her sister lives on a farm, for crying out loud. And before she left for St Thecla's Sister Laura asked me, Sister Anne of the Touch of Death, to water her garden.

I warned her. "I love plants, I really do, but I have no idea how to take care of them."

The rhododendron tree towers to
the second floor!
Sister Laura was not dissuaded, in part, I am sure, because there are so few sisters left here at the motherhouse that she could ask. I tried to impress upon her the risk she was undertaking, and she fully assumed it. (Plant people just have no idea...) So every day (or two? maybe three?) I have been going down to the garden plot, unreeling the hose and communing with nature. (God has only watered the plants once in all these ten days!)

What a blessing! Yesterday enormous poppies started popping from Muppet-like buds, and today I noticed that the bushy lavender plants are sending up tall budding spikes that promise an immense and fragrant future. A little patch of Sister Laura's seedlings grew two inches since yesterday morning! And the "dead" rose plant is putting forth a tentative new green shoot. The lupine seems to have seeded itself all over the garden: the distinctive leaves are showing up in a haphazard way that could not have been planned by any earthly gardener, but that hint at new beauty later in the summer.

Granted, there is one patch of garden that doesn't seem to be doing anything, and I do fear for it, but Sister Laura will be home next week to remedy the situation there. Meanwhile, there is so much to enjoy, I am going to have to thank Sister Laura for insisting that I really could take care of her garden while she was away!

Does that bud not look like a Muppet character?