Janet and I are in the middle of a yard project that has us removing an island of bushes and evergreens in favor of a perennial garden that we have longed for since we moved in more than 18 months ago. I was delighted when I found out the plan included a number of iris plants, one of my favorite perennials and something that I remember from my earliest childhood.
Each Memorial Day, back in Chicago, I had to paint the railing on the front stairs and after I completed that job, I had to go around the side of the house and start working on the iris bed. I can’t even begin to tell you how many years I listened to “The Race” in Indianapolis as I was trimming plants and moving my bushel basket along the walk. Dad had a real gift when it came to growing stuff. He loved his iris and he also had a beautiful rose bed along the back of our property. Anyway, around Memorial Day, the iris were done blooming and Dad was always a stickler for making sure that the dead blooms were removed and that the side yard looked great.
I don’t know if I really cared for iris that much in my early days, and they sure multiplied fast, but the mass of color – bright blues, purples, reds, yellows and incredible whites – is permanently etched in my memories. I grew to look forward to each spring and the wonderful gift of color that awaited us in the month of May. And Dad was so pleased with the garden! He just loved to bring in bouquets of flowers from the yard and present them to Mom. We had some of the most beautiful flowers in the neighborhood.
I think that is how I developed my early love of the earth. Not only Dad, but Grandpa as well, taught me about nature, the seasons and how things grow under God’s watchful eye. I learned about planting and harvesting and even started growing my own vegetable garden when I was quite young. Dad carved out a little bit of rear yard and I planted a few stalks of corn, gourds, radishes and several other types of veggies. I used to marvel at how those small seeds eventually wound up as full size plants.
In many of the houses that Janet and I have lived in, we have also had flower gardens but believe it or not, it has been more than 25 years since we have successfully grown iris in our yard that rivaled what I remember from my youth. Now, we are trying again and I have high hopes for the spring! Our verse for the evening highlights the fact that God is the Creator of everything. We are told in Genesis that He created the plants and that it was “Good.” Moses, the author of Genesis, recounts in Gen. 1:11-12, “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”
My encouragement this evening is that God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was intended to be the perfect place for our communion with God. And God created the beauty of nature as well as life itself. My prayer is that you will take time to appreciate the intricacies of what God has created for our benefit. Of course, He has also charged us with the responsibility of maintaining His creation for future generations. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…