Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Of Mums and Mistakes

My mums are growing.

This may seem a very ordinary fact, but it’s actually quite the contrary.

Being the trial and error novice gardener that I am, I’ve committed many gardening faux pas in the past (and present!).

Last year, I bought a pot of chrysanthemums in the late summer, planted them in a chipped pot from my mom, and enjoyed their vibrant beauty all fall. Knowing they were perennial and could come up the following year if they survived the winter, I happily carried the pot into the garage.
My well-meaning mind thought that this would keep them from freezing temperatures—a good thing, no?

Except that it’s dark in the garage. And there’s no rain or snow (i.e. water, which all plants need, of course).

So when spring was on its way this year, I excitedly dragged out the pot--utterly oblivious to my mishap--and proudly placed the container of brittle, brown stems on our deck.

My friends laughed. And proceeded to tell me all the reasons the mums were dead and would not grow again this year.

I stuck up for the poor dead dry flowers and staunchly defended them, saying I was sure that new growth would come. (Though I secretly had my doubts.)

Halfheartedly, I kept the pot on the deck. Day after day we had rain, rain and more rain—perhaps the benevolent sky was making up for my lack of care throughout the winter. I cut the dead stems away from the roots. And waited. Unsure of what to expect.

Until the other day when I saw three new shoots of green. Tiny mum leaves unfolding to bask in the sunlight. You have to look closely, but there is growth.

And I am absolutely delighted.

I love that the cycles and seasons of nature so often can reflect the cycles and season in our own lives. They become symbols of hope, joy, resilience. Even Jesus used them as examples and parables (like the lilies of the field-- Matthew 6:28).

The mums, too, hold meaning for me. By reminding me that God uses our mistakes—they are not beyond His power. The darkness, the dryness, the dead areas of our lives can be overcome. Despite doubt—and drought!—He can bring growth...and maybe not only despite them, but because of them. We may have to look closely….and it may not be in the timing we’d like…but it will come.

Because this is the God who knows all about making things new.

And bringing life from death.


  1. What a beautiful post! I just planted my first potted strawberries. I was a bit afraid that I would kill them, but thankfully they have survived my very limited knowledge of gardening. :)

  2. Hi Heather! Thanks for following my blog! I'm glad you liked the post. :) I LOVE strawberries. I hope yours turn out well-- there's nothing like homegrown strawberries-- so much tastier than the grocery's!!