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BLOG: Beauty of a well-watered garden

In most regions, vegetable gardening is cyclical and revolves around the changing of the seasons. The most common gardening season that people think of is the warm weather, summer garden. From this growing period comes many of the most popular fruits and vegetables that folks wait all year to enjoy, including vine-ripened tomatoes, sweet watermelons and juicy peaches.

On the heels of summer gardening comes fall gardening. Cooler temperatures bring an abundance of nutrient rich greens and all of the delicious root vegetables that are colorful and hearty. Winter gardening in Oklahoma is wonderful if you have season-extending apparatuses or equipment, but if not, it is practically impossible. The long cold months of winter give way to spring loving gardeners who tend to focus on flowers, asparagus and other early crops that bring new life and beauty.

Since I have always lived where each of the four seasons are pronounced, I can only imagine what it would be like to garden in a tropical region or where there were less drastic seasonal changes. People frequently complain about the challenges of growing in the different seasons, but I have come to enjoy and appreciate them.  With each come different challenges and obstacles and rewarding yields.

So, here we are in July! We’re only a few weeks away from planting our fall garden, and this is the long, hot stretch of summer gardening. The excitement of planting all of the promising seeds and little transplants has faded away, and now we are in the thick of daily picking and watering, working in the heat, praying for rain and fighting leaf hoppers and tomato worms. The spring herbs have been harvested, dried and stored, but the canning, freezing and dehydrating work is constant.  My apron is well-worn.

Full confession, gardening is my passion and hobby, not my husbands. Because of his love for me he has built everything I have asked for—plus more!  He doesn’t get excited, like I do, when the new seed catalogs come out in the late winter/early spring, and he doesn’t necessarily love constantly talking about all my crazy, ambitious gardening ideas. To him, gardening is just work but he does LOVE all of the food that we grow.

There are days when my other commitments prohibit me from tending to my gardening duties, and unfortunately, the gardens do not wait. I feel the pressure. It’s a discouraging thought to think, “I need to be out there working because everything is going to suffer, but I just can’t today.” That’s where my husband comes in. He works willingly and happily to ensure that, day-in and day-out, everything is properly taken care of. He’s steady and always there, weeding, watering, picking…

He brings in everything that he has gathered and lines it all out on the cabinet for me to see and enjoy. He knows that I love to walk through the gardens, so sometimes he will invite me to come look before we retire for the evening. We’ll walk through each garden and talk about it. We enjoy being together. We appreciate the coolness of a summer evening, and I’m grateful for how he cares for me. At that moment, there is nothing to worry about. He has taken care of everything. It’s refreshing and relaxing, and there is nothing more beautiful to look at than a well-cared, well-watered garden!

In those moments, Isa. 58:11 comes to mind. “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

In this life, when you get busy or feel like things are out of control and difficult, remember that our loving Father is there to take care of everything. He will do all the chores! He will guide you and satisfy your needs. He will give strength to your body. He loves you and invites you to walk and talk with Him because He enjoys caring for you. Yes, YOU will be like the well-watered garden, beautiful and taken care of.

Lori Coats

Author: Lori Coats

Lori Coats is a Master Gardener, herbalist and mentor to young women, teaching them to love God and their families through gardening, food preservation and cooking. She’s spent more than 20 years working in Agritourism, horticulture, specialty crops and public gardens and owns My Raggedy Herbs, a teaching garden in Oklahoma.

View more articles by Lori Coats.

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