I’m no expert but I know that Autumn is the time to plant bulbs that will bloom in the Spring. Tulips, daffodils, freesias are just a few flowers that grow from bulbs and it really is amazing to think that such beauty and fragrance can emerge from such ugliness.
Dahlia bulbsare knobbly brownthings with flakey skins and fibrous root filaments. Tulip bulbs resemble the shallots that we might put into a tasty slow-cooked dish. The long gnarled tubersof lilies look like dried ginger root – ginger is part of the lilium family.
All of these have one thing in common.
They look absolutely nothing like the gorgeous flowers that they produce. In fact, it is difficult to imagine how something as beautiful and magnificent as a field of rows and rows of bright-coloured tulip blooms was planted out, months earlier, withsuch ordinary-looking blobs, one of which would fit easily in the palm of your hand.
But … and there is usually a ‘but’.
Inside the gnarled, knobbly bulbis a kernel programmed to bloom, given the right conditions. The heart of it is full of promise. If it is planted in the right kind of soil – rich volcanic soil is ideal – and if it’s fed and watered, kept tidy and weed free and gets plenty of sunshine and water,it will burstforth with the most marvellous flowers.
Bulbs are primed to flourish in the right environment.
From the heart of the bulb comes beauty. Little by little, green shoots push up through the soil towards the light. Long leaves emerge. Then the flower buddevelops at the end of a long stem. Alongside it are its companions, all reaching for the light.A mass of beauty above ground nourished by the gnarled, ugly-looking bulbs with their roots burrowing deep underground.
Mustard seed is a bit like that too.
Most of us would have a jar of tiny mustard seeds in the pantry, waiting to be added to sauces or made into the mustard that we spread on our meat. There are dozens of them in just one small spoonful but these tiny seeds can grow into a big tree that can provide shelter and shade. A tree that can be three metres high is 27,000 times the size of the seed!
Jesus had something to say about that in Matthew 13.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
With all our knobbly ugliness we are not unlike bulbs and tubers and tiny seeds. For our hearts to bloom and flourish we need to be planted right. We need to be fed and watered by the GodlyGardener, to be carefully tended and kept free of the weeds that entangle and choke us.
Else the heart of us shrivels and dies and fails to bloom. Such a waste of God-given potential!
Sheelagh Wegman is a freelance writer and editor. She is in the community of St David’s Cathedral in Hobart and lives in the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington.
Sheelagh Wegman’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sheelagh-wegman.html