Rewards of Yard Work

Posted on May 7, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

I get raised eyebrows when I tell people that my hobby is yard work. Pulling weeds, mowing grass and pruning shrubs are one of the most resented necessities of home ownership for most people. Having grown up on the plot of ground where we now live, I can recall how I detested hoeing the garden and weeding my mother’s flower beds; but something was engrained in my psyche that found reward in physical labor and dirt under my fingernails. I’ve not gotten into hunting, fishing and golfing but find joy in my yard.

Maybe it has something to do with the diversion from study, writing, sermon preparation, travel and speaking; perhaps it relates to feeling connected with nature and the beauty of God’s vast diversity of flora or His intention that man work by the sweat of his brow. Nevertheless, we are experiencing joy and fulfillment in seeing plants mature and the grand design of our landscaping take shape.

This is our third spring, so shrubs are maturing and flower beds filling out. We planted trees and basic shrubs–hawthorns, boxwoods and nandina around the house when it was built almost ten years ago. But it was before moving in 2010 that we did final grading, mulching future flower gardens around the perimeter of the property and planted background shrubs. We were still sodding last summer and the yard still looked fairly sparse and barren.

I finally got my signature lawn decor–a dumped over barrel of petunias–in a new street-side flower bed, with dwarf roses amidst the junipers and purple muhly grass behind a pebble walkway. Caladiums are flourishing under the shade trees and roses are growing up the trellises built in front of air conditioning condensers.

The prize rose of the season was a large yellow bloom with subtle pink edges around the fringe of the petals. This was the first spring when the azaleas exploded with color throughout the yard. I’m not quite accustomed to this occurring in early March, and even  late February in Mississippi after the peak blooming was in April in Virginia. The white foliage of our crabapple, bradford pears and cherry trees have long faded and now first-time perennials are beginning to bloom. One of the greatest joys is the emerging of fragrant blossoms of gardenias planted just a few feet away from our front porch swing!

Bobbye is incredulous when I tell her we are almost to the “maintenance mode” of yard work. Every week requires the basic edging, weeding along the fence, mowing and remaining ever-vigilant to extract occasional stray weeds that persist in unwanted places, but she knows there will always be another project and the vision is unending.

One of the most recent projects is a long-desired herb garden just outside our garden room door. I was amazed at how tall the cilantro, mint and parsley quickly grew, but we discovered how delectable the flavoring of fresh herbs picked and crushed at the time of cooking compared with the bottled source from the grocery. Now the challenge is to learn what to do with our abundant supply of thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano! We are not quite sure which to use with which foods, but I did enjoy some tasty scrambled eggs with cilantro, oregano and thyme, just because they were available.

One Comment on “Rewards of Yard Work”

  1. Pam Whitehead

    Jerry, this is GREAT and encouraging!!!!!!! I do have a prayer request, but here is the background first. After John went to the Father I had the pool removed since I couldn’t afford to keep it up and the boys and I rarely ever used it. John just loved floating in the pool. Anyway, after I had it removed with much tears I began to ask the FAther what I was to do with that area. Course part of the area is covered with the ever how many pounds of sand that was under the bottom of the pool. You have to know I don’t know a thing about gardening and usually kill flowers. After MUCH prayer you know what the Father wants me to do??? To make a Prayer Garden!!!!!!!! Isn’t that sooooooooooo neat??!!!!!!!! My vision is that family and friends can just come to the prayer garden anytime they want and stay as long as they like never having to visit me when they come. I don’t even have to know. AND I want to have something where they can leave prayer requests if they like. Still praying about what that will be. 🙂 Anyway, I told the Father that would be sooooooo GREAT, but HE would have to let me know what figures and such to have scattered throughout the flowers and what they are to sit on. OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH Jerry, HE has given such neat figures and ALL on sale too!!!!! I’m continuing to pray about the type of seating for the prayer garden and if the flowers are to be planted in the ground or be a container garden of flowers. When HE told me a prayer garden it just couldn’t be just for me, but others need to be able to come too. I’m praying they will. So, my prayer request is will you pray I know how to put this prayer garden together as I learn and it develops just how the Father wants it and have the person(s) that can help me to do what I don’t know anything about? That people will come being still, seeking Him with hearts open to hear whatever the Father is saying to them? Or maybe it might a time for the Father to just love on them? Hope all of that makes sense. I’m sooooooo EXCITED!!!!!!!! Blessings, Pam

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