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Right Plant, Right Spot

June 27, 2016

 

There’s a saying in gardening that will save you lots of guesswork: right plant, right spot. As I mentioned in the last blog, it’s not uncommon for well-meaning home owners to kill more than half the plants they buy.  You go to the store, find a beautiful flower, get it home and it dies in your yard a month later.

 

But what the experienced gardener learns is there are no wrong plants, just right plants in the wrong spot. And isn’t that true of life, too? How many times have I started a project and seen it wilt on the vine? What I’ve learned in the yard as well as in life; it's worth your while to determine before you dig.

        This Blanket Flower reseeds itself. I was able to move this one to a spot it loves.

Oh, sure, there’s beginner’s luck. Like the time I threw some free seeds in a front bed of one of our Army quarters and they did magnificent, but generally speaking every living thing needs the right spot to thrive.

 

With plants, first you need to get acquainted with your geographical ‘zone.’ I may love Crepe Myrtles, but I can’t plant one here in New York. The freeze points will determine what plants can survive in your area. Next, assess your conditions. Spend at least a day looking at how much sun exposure each side of the yard gets (there are vegetables and flowers that need full sun and others that can get by in partial shade). If you have poor soil conditions that will also affect how well your plant does when it gets in the ground.

 

And this same principle works in life. How much personal capital have I lost being the ‘right plant’ in the ‘wrong spot’?

 

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 assures us that God did not make a mistake when He made us. When I try to be something that I’m not,  however, I feel inadequate. Much like putting a plant in the wrong ‘zone,’ it may survive but never thrive.

 

When I was nineteen, I went to cosmetology school. I liked doing hair but what I really enjoyed was learning. After working in a shop for 6 months I felt a stirring to join the Army. Though I didn’t know it at the time, traveling and the outdoors is what really floats my boat. I realize now that God put that unrest in my heart that helped me make the move.

 

Similarly, I need enough ‘sunlight’ to feel good everyday just like my plants. Whether it’s quiet time in God’s word, or exercise or using my creative energy – each of us needs the right conditions to do our best. That’s why sometimes even after a vacation, people say, ‘I need a vacation.’ The new place and experiences are fun but they often drain us of the daily nutrients we need.

 

Alas, we can’t always be the right plant in the right spot. Sometimes we have to endure hard situations, but this is when it’s really important to be firmly planted to withstand the elements.

     This same type of seedling is struggling from the transplant. It's not easy to move. I
     always say, give it at least nine months...in the yard and in life, after a stressful move.

If you have a chance today, read all of Psalm 139. You will hear how well God knows you and is “acquainted with all your ways.” I like to think of Him as the Master Gardener and us his precious plants. What might feel like an uncomfortable transplant may simply be getting us ready for a better bloom.

 

Even as I pen these words, I am sitting in a house that I resented for a long time. A property my husband purchased and we used as a rental. Every time I would clean out another renter’s mess, I would wonder why I had to put up with ‘these conditions.’ And now, thirty years and a remodel later, we own a beautiful place on a lake. Sometimes our spot is a work in progress.

 

Today, as you have a moment to sit and reflect on 'Right Plant, Right Spot', I hope you remember that nature can show us a lot about ourselves. If you are feeling restless or challenged, ask God to help you find the right spot…it’s a lot easier than trying to be a different plant.

 

Have you tried different spots in your life or garden that helped you realize you needed a change? Feel free to share it as a comment on the main page ;)

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