The leaves on trees turn and fall. They speckle the lawn — yellow, orange on green. The weather is changing, and the plants have followed suit.
Our backyard is on the south side of the house. Yesterday, I took a tour of that area with an eye for making adaptations.
The first thing I pondered was the fate of our lone rhododendron. It sits underneath a section of suspended aluminate shade cloth. The fabric has the look of featherweight chain mail. It allows half of the light from the sun to pass through and reflects heat.
The leaves on one side of the rhododendron have tips that have turned brown. I’ve reasoned that the lower angle of the sun was the cause. In the fall, the shade cloth only casts its shadow on the back two-thirds of the plant.
There is also the possibility of the rhododendron having a disease. I’m guessing that this is unlikely, but I’m not 100 percent sure. I need to seek the advice of an expert to determine the exact cause and take appropriate measures.
For the time being, however, moving the rhododendron at the appropriate time is in the works – to relocate it back a little further, closer to the house, and be fully protected from direct sun in the fall.
Then there are other considerations for the garden. I want to divide the Siberian iris called “Shaker’s prayer.” An orange-colored variety of red-hot poker plants need the same.
After making a complete inventory of the backyard, I could see plant after plant that needed some sort of care on my part – to be divided, relocated to a more favorable spot, or receive more intensive care.
Over the years, I’ve learned that gardening takes a lot of work. Of course, a person has the option just to plant things and let nature take its course. However, if you are physically able, it is far better to take care of what you planted.
God has created and put us on this earth. The Master Gardener tends to our needs, and our seasons in this life, even if we may not sense his presence nearby.
We may expect this to be something easily noticed and observed. However, the Master Gardener may water, enrich and amend greatly unnoticed.
It only may become evident in a new season in our lives and at an opportune time. We may then see with new eyes. We look back in awe at what transpired in a season passed, finally coming to the realization that special care had been given and that we were never alone in the garden when we thought we were.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.