Gardening Analogies: Life Lessons from the Garden

Sweet Peas

Sweet peas have an amazing aroma. Growing them is alot of fun.
Sweet peas have an amazing aroma. Growing them is a lot of fun. | Source

The Sweet Pea Massacre

I kind of knew that I shouldn't have pruned them so harshly. I'd been looking at them closely now for two weeks - wondering why they were rioting over the side of their bathtub container, yet still they had no blossoms on their massive tendrils. I thought that I had planted duds, that I wasn't going to get any flowers, or worse yet,that I would have this tangled mess of sweet pea vines just taking up room in my precious soil.

I'd been angry that day, and perhaps in reflection I realize now that I should never prune while angry. Worse than that, never prune while angry when you aren't sure of what you are pruning.

So whack whack whack off came the fragile tendrils. I had no remorse, the more I pruned the more I whacked and pretty soon all that was left were a few curling survivors, clinging to the trellis for dear life. After I was done I felt a huge sense of relief, the unruly mass was gone and in it's place were a few scrappy stragglers that had managed to escape the wrath of my pruning shears. Alas, the sweet pea massacre was over and I could start with a clean slate.

After all, they weren't going to flower so why allow them to just take up space? As I left the huddled mass of vines on the ground and retreated inside to sip on my coffee, questions instantly started buzzing around in my head- Questions like: What if they were going to flower? Did I just make a major mistake? Did I perhaps take off too many vines? Did I just kill any chance of having any sweet pea's from my surviving tendrils?

My worst fears were confirmed when I went outside a few days later to check on my little remaining vines. As I looked on the ground, I almost broke down and cried in guilty sadness. There on the ground amongst the ravage of the sweet pea massacre were tiny little pink flowers, straining toward the sun. Petals so perfect they looked like fragile little butterfly wings. Springing forth even though I'd chopped them off from the source of their survival l- the vine. I felt like screaming, WHY DID I DO THAT? I was probably about to have the most profuse blooming of sweet peas I'd ever had in my life and I had cut them down in the prime of their life! Right before they could show their real stuff - that flowery burst of brilliance that would have captivated butterflies hearts..........

And as always, I learn some lessons the hard way, and I also see so many analogies to life in my garden. Analogies of how life in the garden is so closely related to our lives as human beings...Of how somehow, God always shows up in my garden to teach me something profound that I am meant to carry with me and reflect on........

Lesson Learned? Don't be too hard on people before they are ready, maybe the best bloom of their season is yet to come . If we cut in haste and anger we may cut them down before we can see their true glory.

So sorry sweet pea's- I'll miss you this spring.

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Comments 12 comments

moonlake profile image

moonlake 8 years ago from America

Enjoyed your hub. Sweet Peas are so nice. Sometimes we all prune to soon.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thanks I appreciate that- and I actually discovered a few days ago that the survivors are growing new sprouts- YEAH!!!!!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

What a beautiful reflection Dorsi. :-) I liked what you wrote..."Don't be too hard on people before they are ready, maybe the best bloom of their season is yet to come but us, in our haste, cut them down before we can see their true glory."


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

The beauty of living plants is that they are forgiving. Often, pruning is the best thing for them, no matter how reckless you think you've been.  You may prune in anger, but what you do is what the plants need.  And now they forgive you, because they are sending up new and stronger sprouts.

People, especially children, are not quite so resilient.  What a tragedy to stifle a child's dreams and imagination in a moment of anger.  The "...tiny pink flowers, straining toward the sun..." may never forgive, and you may never be forgiven.

I love your account because of its duality.  Pruning can be the best thing or the worst thing, and maybe it's the anger that needs the pruning.

Beautiful reflection.  You made me think of many things.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thank you so much for the insightful remarks. And yes, you are right, children are not so resilient. They are so fragile, and the things we say and do can make or break- we can build them up or tear them down.

And I found out my sweet pea's really did die. They made one last effort to come back but a few days ago I went out there and the vine was dead. I planted some more where the other ones were and I have new sprouts coming up, So another analogy comes to mind- it reminds me of my dad trying to rally from pretty much inevitable death but coming back round and trying to hang on- trying and trying.

We fight so hard in this life, don't we?


premsingh profile image

premsingh 8 years ago

I am compelled to appreciate your imagination and comparison between plants and human beings. Recently I also made a mistake. I sprayed a herbicide instaed of insecticide by mistake. All plants ecxept few died as herbicide was a non-selective herbicide. I also felt guilty. You are right plants are just like children.


flread45 profile image

flread45 8 years ago from Montana

Very true on that subject.


desert blondie profile image

desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

Ah, pruning. We know it's necessary for a myriad of reasons. It can feel therapeutic, practical, efficient, and we know it's often the best avenue to a lusher future environment. But, as you witnessed, it can lead to feelings of angst, regret, sorrow. Yep, gardening, it does give one time to pause from life, and yet also reconnect back to life in a more thoughtful, sentient manner. Nice hub.


Gardening Angel 8 years ago from Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh

Hi---

I love sweet peas, too! I will be growing some this year and hope to take some pictures.

Please visit my Hub Page.

Gardening Angel


Hammerj profile image

Hammerj 7 years ago from Cebu City

It's nice..i like it..informative article..


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Great information


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thanks you Mrs. J.B.

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