How does your garden grow? by Jason Loh

Spring adds technicolour to your garden

“Awake my soul… and sing” (Psalm 57)

After a cold season of rest, God’s creation starts to sense a change in ambient temperature, and plants begin to stir into life. Flower buds break, and spring bulbs send out leafy shoots to seek the warm sunlight. Plants turn to face the light, and orientate themselves to seek out the best exposure, to soak in as much nourishment as possible.

Do we sense a change in the spiritual climate of this nation?

Are we aware of God’s favour and promises for our lives? Are we turning to Him, to soak in His presence as much as possible?

We get a rush of excitement when the cherry blossoms or spring crocuses make an appearance. Their rich colours signal the coming of spring, heavenly showers and rainbows in the sky.

“When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember My covenant with you and with all living creatures” (Genesis 9:14-15).

As a young Christian, this was the first verse in the Bible that helped me see something of God in the physical world. I can point to a rainbow and say, “God, You put that there.”

Rainbows appear in the sky when the sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere, in a cloud of rain. Rainbows always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun. When you’re going through the storms of life, remember God’s promises. Look at the rainbow, and know that the sun (the Son, Jesus) has got your back. And remember, the darker the cloud… the clearer the rainbow!

Just as the basis of colour is the spectrum we see in a rainbow, so too must God’s promises form the basis of how we see our lives.

When choosing a colour scheme for your garden, there are some basic concepts you need to understand:

Hot colours (reds, yellows, oranges, violets)

These colours are lively and strong. Plants in this category tend to prefer being in the full sun, and their colours seem to be enhanced when placed in this position.

Care should be taken when using hot colours in a small garden. These bold colours demand your attention – ‘pulling’ you into the space – and make the garden seem even smaller.

Seasonal hot colours can also be used to draw the viewers’ attention away from something. (If you have a nicely landscaped front garden, please do not paint your garage door red!)

Cool colours (blues, greens, pinks, pale violets)

The colours in this half of the spectrum have a calming, tranquil effect. Plants with the ‘cool’ flowers usually come from temperate climates, and tend to show up better in paler light.

These colours recede into the space, making the garden appear bigger.

A planting scheme of silvery-grey foliage, white/cream or cool-coloured flowers looks great in a shady garden, and practically magical in the late evening light.

Tiger Lily

The beauty of bulbs

Spring bulbs, like crocuses and tulips, should be planted in late autumn/early winter. Now is the time to think ahead about summer bulbs. Why not try an exotic Tiger Lily (Lilium tigrinum ‘Splendens’) or the sensual Zantedeschia ‘Picasso’?

When bulbs have finished flowering, it is generally not a good idea to cut the leaves too soon. These continue to photosynthesise and store food in the bulb for the next year.

Some bulbs (like tulips) are hardy enough to be left in the ground all year, unless you live in an area of extreme cold weather. To store, lift out the bulbs and keep them in a paper bag or cardboard box, in single layers with newspapers in between (adding vermiculite will help). Store in a cool, dry place like the basement, closet or garage.

Never keep them in the fridge, as fruits and vegetables emit gases that can kill your bulbs!

Caring for your lawn

As the weather warms up, proper and regular mowing gives the lawn a great head start. In springtime, mowing once a week should be adequate. Mowing too short encourages shallow rooting and weakens the grass. In order to get those perfectly straight mowing lines, the trick is to not look at your feet or the lawnmower too much, but keep your eyes firmly fixed on where you are headed (Philippians 3:14, Proverbs 4:25). Make course adjustments with each pass.

Feeding with fertiliser encourages strong growth whilst inhibiting weeds and moss. You should apply fertiliser only when the soil is moist or when rain is imminent.

In early spring, aerate the soil with a garden fork or aerator to improve drainage. This is especially important if you have heavy clay soils, or if the lawn has become compacted over the years. Aerating also allows better root structure, a principle that also works well with our own hearts (Colossians 2:7, Ephesians 3:17).

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