“My Father is the gardener” – Learning to Prune. Another life lesson from my garden…
Like many gardeners, I love roses with a passion. One word guaranteed to make a novice quail is PRUNING. Where to cut, when, how much, what type of rose, what if I get it wrong… Yet roses are generally quite tough plants, and can forgive errors. However, being informed and wise in pruning certainly gives the best results.
I think the variety may be ”Queen Elizabeth” but that’s a bit of a guess! They had been rather neglected- left to please themselves- and had become leggy and woody. In fact, they looked as if they might pop their clogs. Black spot and stem damage from wind rock meant they looked tired, and frankly, scruffy.
Last autumn I decided to be bold. Pruning secateurs plus some crossed fingers- and some rose fertiliser.
After three flowers last summer- strong new shoots, and clusters of beautiful pink roses (if slightly battered by the rain last week). Success! And the next pruning will clear the other old woody stems to make room for new growth. I’m a happy lil’ gardener.
Pruning seems counter-intuitive. Why cut back the little growth that was surviving? Roses, like disciples, need to be trimmed, smartened up, given opportunities for new shoots and the joy of beauty. If you asked the rose bush, it might well say “Stop! Don’t cut me- leave me alone, I’m OK really.” It would be fibbing. For the gardener truly knows best. Jesus used the concept of pruning to explain how our Father helps and trains us: John 15:1-2 (NLT) “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
Gardens left untrained quickly become wild and only the strongest plants will thrive- by dominating the rest.
A heartfelt prayer: Lord, You know me best of all, and You want the best for me and the maximum fruitfulness from my life. Help me to trust that the pruning that disciples me will be a blessing to all the others who will appreciate MY roses! Please prune my life into peace and health, for You ARE my Gardener. Amen.