Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Crepe Myrtles and the Hanging Basket Problem

Hanging basket supported by young twigs.
It wasn’t the crepe myrtle’s fault at all! I simply asked too much when I tried to hang the basket from its’ limb.  

That is where I always hang my winter baskets, so I didn’t question the location. It is a prime spot where we can see them coming in and out of the house.

Their summer home is under the maple tree canopy where they enjoy the shade, and we enjoy their summer bloomers. Even in Alabama, it gets too cold to sit under the trees, so the summer bloomers are replaced with pansies and are strategically placed for our indoor viewing.

So, the transition time came and my annual swapping of the flowers took place - impatiens out, pansies in.  They were carefully arranged around some perennials that are permanent residents. (Well, sort of permanent.  If they struggle, they are relocated. If they don’t bloom they are relocated. If they take over they are relocated. If they die, well, you get the point.)

A lovely focal point for the winter hanging baskets is on three crepe myrtles grouped in a cluster along our patio. They are a gorgeous watermelon red/pink variety that have been in place for over twenty years and never failed to impress. Problem number one was that they had grown so much that their blooms were so high in the air, we couldn’t really enjoy them.

Problem solved this past spring when my very own Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome trimmed their little trunks down to proper level. (He is a handy helper to have around, as my trimming days are LONG gone.) He whittled them down to a more manageable size. In response, they sprouted new growth. By the time their summer blooming season came, they were able to show out (Southern for doing more than expected) right down here where we could enjoy every ruffled pink blossom. They were a lovely sight.

I encountered problem number two as I tried to find a place for the winter hangers. The sturdy crepe myrtle trunks were now far too low to keep their bottoms dry (I wouldn’t want a soggy bottom, would you?) and the new growth from them was far too tender to hold the baskets.  So, with some creativity, I wrestled the hooks over medium sized limbs and anchored the hook against small twig growth so it wouldn’t slide down. Problem solved! I was so proud of my young crepe limbs for holding up under their new job description! This was their first rodeo uhm, year, after all.

Then I watered them.

You see, you can only ask so much of a young limb, before it breaks. Down came the basket, all the flowers, and half the soil. So, I “repacked” the basket and tried again to find a limb strong enough to hold it. Finally, I found the stub of a trunk that had several small saplings sprouting up that were in just the right spot to support the basket when I hung it on a medium sized limb. Ta dah!

You have probably seen the same thing happen. Maybe not by asking too much of crept myrtle limbs, but asking too much of someone who did not have the strength and experience to hold up under the extra burden.  These young limbs seemed suited for the job. But broke in the “storm” of sudden watering. They didn’t have the strength and experience of weathering storms to hold up under the strain. It took an experienced limb to bear the load and young ones were able to group together and support it.

If you are praying about taking a job, or assigning a job to someone, here are some things to remember

  • When we are too tall, we might be cut back to size.

  • Just because you are part of a strong limb doesn’t mean you can do the job of the limb. Grow first.

  • Just because we bloom well one place doesn’t mean we can bloom there all year. Expect to be moved according to His timing.

  • Sometimes you may be the main bloomer, other times you need to rest and gather strength for next season.

  • Youth does not trump experience.

  • The Master Gardener will only give a load to the limbs that can bear them.

  • Be willing to be used in a supporting role until you have the strength to withstand the storm.                                                                                       

  • Expect storms.

  • Trust God to bring you through storms and give you strength for His next assignment for you.

Father in heaven,
We are so thankful for Your Creation all around us that teaches us so much about our lives and purpose.  We see Your hand at work and know that You have not abandoned us or forgotten us. Your truth is still working and is a great comfort to us in a turbulent world today.

Help us to recognize our purpose, our calling, our mission. Help us to learn and grow daily to be strong and courageous for the jobs You give us.

Give us strength and patience to support those we need to support and to bear the load you give us, knowing You will cause the blooming in proper season.

Thank You for the beauty of nature and reminding us of Your hand at work all around us.

How about you? Waiting? Growing? Burdened under a heavy load?

Interested in more stories of faith? Read
Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird 
Other Tales From Life In My Father's World
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