Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Gardening Plaque

I received a handmade plaque several years ago which hangs above my desk; the bottom is a flurry of flowers and coming up each side is a sunflower standing proud all made of felt and embroidery. The plaque has the embroidered words “Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden”.
I look at this plaque at least once a day and probably have done so since the day I received it; I’m still trying to figure out just what it means.
If you hoe something, don’t you cut it off, dig it up, do away with it? Or, when we hoe does it just pop up at another spot in the middle of the garden?
Does it mean we need to hoe to have a garden that laughs – a lot of gardens have made me laugh, the ones with 25 of that person’s favorite concrete ornaments, or the ones that obviously were planned by someone with an abstract vision – were they all hoed?
And, why was I the recipient of this gift – I hate to hoe and to be very honest I am a weed puller – I love to pull weeds, I love how the garden looks after I have pulled the weeds, I like the order of things when they are cared for. Was my friend telling me I needed to hoe and get finished quicker, or that they didn’t think I was a good weed puller, or was the gift because I love to garden, it mentioned garden, so I must love it.
And, do I love it? Yes, I do, I admire the felt flowers, the embroidery, the tea-stained linen it was made on, and even if I do not understand the verse I have certainly spent more time pondering it than most things!
And, so grows our gardens, sometimes funny, sometimes a mystery to be solved, a puzzle with one piece missing, sometimes neat and orderly and a week later a riot of blooms that make us wonder what the original plan was.
So, I leave you with these words, “Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden”.

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