pastoral/spiritual care

For All the Amateur Gardeners

We have some very pretty azaleas that bloom every spring.   For the past six years, about mid-March, when the hold and cold of winter begins to lessen I anxiously look for “my” pink azalea bushes to bloom.  I call them mine because I have the fun job of feeding and pruning them as they advance in years.  I would guess they are as old as our home which is about 22 years and the azaleas have weathered the hot South Carolina summers and done fairly well.  Nonetheless, I worry about them since they are losing some of their branches and even two years ago I noticed that some of them were not blooming as much as they had in the past. 

I am an amateur, weekend gardener who finds the yard and its work very therapeutic and quite refreshing to my spirit.  It seems that my soul easily connects with nature’s beauty, and azalea bushes are beautiful indeed.  These particular ones are smaller in size compared to the larger ones that have made Summerville famous.  Each spring I do my best to clear the leaves and make room for some new pine straw with hopes that the azaleas will bloom nicely and provide our family and our neighbors a glimpse into sheer beauty. 

I fertilized the azaleas for the first time ever last summer and I honestly didn’t know if it would help or hurt.  The local store garden area person told me the right brand, and when to fertilize, so I was on good ground so to speak.  So far it looks like last year’s fertilizer is working and the bloom this spring has been very good.  Thank goodness for spring and new blooms.  Spiritually speaking we need “new days” and “fresh starts” and my azaleas do that for me each spring. 

Maybe this spring the dogwoods, azaleas and eventual summertime magnolia tree blooms can spark newness in your spiritual journey.  I hope so.  Happy gardening!

Gracious God:  Thank you for the beauty of our surroundings;  the plants, the flowers and the trees.   Help me gracious Lord to see the goodness in others as I live out my days.  Amen. 

-- Chaplain George Rossi


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