How does your garden grow? by Jason Loh

The Nature of Business

There was a lot of interest in the Media about the referendum, whether Britain should remain in Europe or leave – ‘Bremain’ vs ‘Brexit’. High profile businessmen like Lord Sugar took to YouTube with gusto; politicians warned of dire consequences, which have continued now that the decision has been made to leave.

In God’s economy however, things work differently. I believe that we can learn a lot about this, simply by looking at how God has ordained life and by drawing upon biblical references to agriculture and botany.

DNA

A while ago, I attended a seminar where the speaker was talking about the life cycle of businesses, and how they invest in marketing strategies, in order to gain clients and increase awareness of their service or product. Successful businesses will start to reinvent themselves or provide new offerings before they reach their peak, thereby extending the life of the business. The speaker showed a graph, which I thought resembled the DNA double helix.

At that moment, I realised that a third strand was missing: Jesus.

‘A cord of three is not easily broken’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12) and, if we make Jesus the life of our businesses, it will change everything about our business life cycle. But what does this look like? I think it will look something like this for you:

  • Vision: to see what God is doing
  • Courage: to plant
  • Discipline/habits: to accomplish God’s assignment
  • Endurance: to carry on, when it seems so much easier to go your own way and throw in the towel
  • Love: to hold the business/family together; love that is tender, tough, sacrificial, radical

Weather watching

In every area of our life, we need eyes that see and hearts that have the capacity to capture God’s vision. God says that He has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and we have the potential for truly great things when we walk with Him.

It is not about the amount of faith you have (even if just the size of a mustard seed), but in Whom you are placing your trust. Abram left Haran simply because God said so (Genesis 12:1-7). This happened at age 75, taking with him all his family, household, accumulated wealth and livestock. Everything. On God’s word.

Often, God reveals things along the way as we take that first step of obedience. After all, farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant, and if they watch every cloud, they never harvest (Ecclesiastes 11:1-4).

Something to think about

In Matthew 13, Jesus talks about seeds falling on different kinds of soil. Exactly the same type of seed, but producing different results because of the environment in which they are planted. Within a similar period of time, some plants appear to grow a lot faster than the others. But fast growth is not necessarily a good thing, especially when the root system has not developed sufficiently to support the growth.

To put this in the context of businesses, imagine a meteoric rise in reputation and renown, but without proper HR support or robust and efficient administrative systems in place. If something is to produce fruit, it must have strong roots and be planted in a good soil.

Plants with shallow roots

In the natural world, though, it is sometimes desirable for plants to have a shallow root system. Indeed, some less reputable developers of new-build properties appreciate the fact that lawns cover a multitude of things.

Besides the plants you would typically find in an alpine garden (eg. sedums, heathers), these days there is much interest in roof gardens and green roofs. Plants for these types of locations will require a shallow root system and will generally be installed in free-draining soil. The relatively fast-draining growing medium enables the nutrients not to be retained in the soil for too long, which is a good thing for these plants.

Most grasses have shallow roots. Ornamental grasses, like Stipa tenuissima, look great alongside the long-flowering pink flowers of Astrantia major ‘Roma’. The latter are quite fast growing, but won’t self-seed like other cultivars. For really thin soil, the mystical spheres of Acaena microphylla grow into a lovely mat of finely cut, coppery grey leaves. The ‘Kupferteppich’ variety has tiny white globes of flowers that turn into spiky red burrs through to autumn, aptly named ‘Copper Carpet’. Contrast this with the golden button flowers of Cotula hispida, which have fine silver feathery foliage.

 

About the writer

Originally from Singapore, Jason practised as a property solicitor for a decade before retraining at Oxford in Landscape & Garden Design. He subsequently founded Jason Loh Designs Ltd (www.jasonloh.co.uk), a professional RHS multi award-winning garden design practice. They are based in Bristol, but accept commissions from residential and commercial clients nationally.

Ring 0117 325 8600 or e-mail design@jasonloh.co.uk if you would like an outdoor space that inspires and refreshes the soul.

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