April 26, 2012
Pictures at the bottom!

Apparently, I’ve ruffled a few feathers. Thank you and thank you in advance for responding to the Bunko article. I had about a dozen responses so far, with email, texts, Chocolate Cream Centers and facebook.  If you’re interested in the discussion, please post by clicking on the icon that says comments. There is a number before it, so it looks like you’re trying to read the comments, but that’s also the portal to comment. (My favorite comment was from my son via text. All it said was, “Mom, do you want to be in my Bunko group?”

(I replied that I couldn’t because I needed to stay home for Dad’s poker night and clean up the chew that was spit on the carpet.)

One small comment:The earlier article is not meant to shame anyone. It’s meant to point out a problem with the concept of certain mindsets or behavoirs, not limited to Bunko. It applies to ANY clique. They’re deadly to Christian virtue in every form.

But enough fuss. This article is NOT about BUNKO. NOT ONE BIT! It’s not about anything related to anything else in the whole world. Not one symbol, not one parable, not one vague similarity.  Got it? THIS IS NOT ABOUT BUNKO!!

I’m talking about my FLOWER GARDEN. Now there’s a subject that will bore you to tears. Except that I have noticed some interesting things about it.  If I ever have another daughter, I’m going to name her after one of the flowers that grows in  my garden. I’m going to name her “Iris.”
 I started to feel warm and fuzzy about Iris when we lived in the high desert of southern California. Under a flowering plum in our front yard, someone had planted Iris and then left them to fend for themselves with no water.  I watered them and they soon bloomed like Diaphanous fairies.
 Iris are  tough. I moved some of those iris to Colorado. When our neighbors found out about my affinity for them, they told me that they had once belonged to an iris society that experimented with cross pollination. When they got bored with it, they tossed their experiments on the back of their lot. I was welcome to plant them and see what they were. We lived at an arid 7500 feet and most of the long forgotten plants were only two or three inches tall.

Within two years, my garden looked like Mardi Gras for about four weeks each spring. When I knew we would be moving, I made a map of the colors of different iris so that I could take a piece of each one with me. My mother’s husband, Grandpa Bud gave me a huge sackful of purple iris, and Mary Eaton gave me some brilliant yellow.

Now, as you might have seen last year, Iris season was a traffic stopper. And did I mention that they smell so delicately sweet, it makes you miss your newborns?

But Iris have two problems. First, if they have access to water, they spread like crazy. They will crowd out everything if you don’t thin them.  Only the daylilies refused to give an inch. The other problem is that they are not too pretty for the 11 months they’re not in bloom. 

We’d had five years of iris abundance here in OK when last year I was convinced by my son who likes things tidy in his landscape to let him tear them out of the main bed. Weeds had gotten among the corms too and there just wasn’t any good way to tidy the garden with the iris crowding it so much. I knew where the different colors were planted and decided to save one of each.  I left a few in a couple of front areas, but the rest  I planted in a back yard bed that is mostly shaded. They behave well in the shade.

I tossed the other unwanted iris beside the compost pile. The sprinkler hit them there and I knew they’d survive in case somebody wanted some. They’re no longer sorted by color, but oh well. I didn’t care if they died anyway. 

But this year, I smiled a little when I saw that pile pushing out new leaves. I grinned when they sent up flower spikes. Rejected, unloved, unappreciated, they bloomed again in Diaphanous glory. . .with a new color combination. These have purple drooping petals and lavender upright ones.

So I’m going to name my next daughter Iris. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be so resilient that you could do your work and thrive and multiply completely independent of whether anybody cared for you?  What a prize she would be if she could find herself in disappointing circumstances, humiliated for trying too hard, but still use her creative inspiration to bloom in a new way! Wouldn’t it be fine if she could be herself and stay true to her mission in life, even when she lives next to the compost pile?

But alas. Even if I get another daughter, the name “Iris” might not be enough. She might still need to feel nurtured, valued and loved. She might still need to be tended and nourished and protected. She might not be able to withstand being cast out of the human garden where she lives. She might assume that she has no value if she is not valued by those in a position to give feedback. Rejection might make her too afraid to reveal her unique creativity.

Even named ‘Iris’ she might be like the ageratum that thinks it needs exactly the right amount of water and sun and soil composition before it deigns to thrive. She might be like my dark pink climbing rose that is show stopping pretty until it succumbs to leaf spot and defoliates like an anorexic. Or, she might be gossipy like my “Joseph’s Coat” climbing rose that has the fungus “witches broom” and grows ultra dense thorns and mutilated  leaves.

Without a Biblical miracle, I’ll never have another daughter. So I’m going to take good care of my garden and try to give each of my flowers the right attention. I’ll keep trimming the Joseph’s coat and spraying the leaf spot on the pink rose. I’ll thin the iris so they don’t get an inflated view of their own importance or think that their needs are more important than the verbena that blooms lower down in the shadow.  I’ll water the ageratum and pull out the weeds. I do it because I love my garden. It is part of my work, my glory, my duty. I love each plant for it’s own unique contribution and beauty.  
If I don’t take care of my garden, who will? Can I afford to hope that someone else comes along and takes care of it? I can hope, but faith (in MOTHER NATURE OF COURSE) without works (LIKE WEEDING AND FERTILIZING) is dead (PLANTS).


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