Barely Blue.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.

I Corinth 3:6

I had a vegetable garden for a season. While it was a joy to snip herbs and pluck tomatoes from my own backyard, I simply don’t have that desire to do all-things-garden.  And that’s okay. The kind of plants and flowers that bring me joy are grown at Hobby Lobby and purchased with a 40% off coupon. Their silken petals and plastic leaves only require a little dusting now and again.

"Dust me. That's all I ask."

“Dust me. That’s all I ask.”

Whether perennials or annuals, direct sun or shade, they enliven a room year round with little to no effort from me.

With respect to plants, I destroy well and nurture poorly.

In fact, the flowers that used to inhabit the two pricey, ornamental planters at my front porch were transplanted from a lovely arrangement given to me by a friend. She made the comment, “Just add a little water, see that they get some sun.

“You really can’t kill these.”

I watered them, gave them sun.

They died.

And the hydrangeas that women of the church gave me after mom passed away?

“You really can’t kill these.”

Reluctantly I accepted them, beautiful as they were. And planted them in an ideal spot next to existing – and flourishing – hydrangeas that came with the house, planted by one who knew. I even prayed over the thing as I dug a hole for it, letting my tears moisten the soil  when I pondered the women’s thoughtfulness.

They didn’t make it. Joined others in Felkins’ Flower heaven, I guess.

Years ago, with a potted bulb of some such variety in my big sister’s hand, she’d proclaimed, “You really can’t kill this one.”

Yeah. Heard that before.

And it died.

In June, big sister came for a visit toting her undying love for all things garden. She took one look at those pricey, FLOWERLESS, ornamental planters and enrolled me in Periwinkle Planting 101. I rolled up my sleeves again. “Maybe this time.”

At a local garden center, we made careful selection of pretty little periwinkles in colors of pink and white. Poor periwinkles. Had I detected a look of dread on their petals? Did they know the end was near?

“No, no, not the plant murderer. She’s going to kill us all!”

Once home, we gently released them from their plastic planters and tucked them into beds of fresh nutrient-dense potting soil. Filling a gallon pitcher with water, sister added just a teeny tiny tad of moist and gritty, turquoise blue Miracle-Gro. She stirred, then peered through the glass.

Barely Blue-2-picmonkey

“You want it to appear just barely blue.”

Armed with simple instructions to stir to barely blue and water daily I was all set.

But barely blue hardly seemed adequate. Gazing through the clear glass pitcher each morning I’ve often been tempted to add more, deepen the color. Come to think of it, I’ve done this with people, too.

Barely Blue-5-picmonkey

Excessive words not aptly spoken squelch the spirit, stunt growth, cause petals to wilt.

Consider this writing by Naomi Long Padgett:

I wouldn’t coax the plant if I were you. Such watchful nurturing may do it harm….Much growth is stunted by too careful prodding, too eager tenderness. The things we love we have to learn to leave alone.

Maybe just a bit of the barely blue of God’s word would produce better results.

The product of barely blue nourishment

The product of barely blue nourishment

The growing – or not – isn’t up to me anyway.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 

I Corinth 3:6 

It looks like my supply of Miracle Gro will last quite a long while. Who knew I had two boxes of four bags each in my garage?

And now that I’ve discovered a barely blue secret those periwinkles – and those people – stand more than a chance of flourishing in my presence.

Barely Blue-4-picmonkey